With great transparency, Eric Torres shares the broken childhood that equipped him to love broken kids, and the words of life spoken into him that have allowed him to speak words of life into so many young people.
Eric vulnerably describes a challenging childhood growing up in Bridgeport with a father who was an addict and a drug dealer. He tells about the lies–the words of death–spoken into him and how he began to internalize them and believe he had no future other than to drop out of high school and follow in his father’s footsteps. He believed he had no hope, no purpose and no destiny.
Eric then explains how, on his 16th birthday, his life was set on a new trajectory. He was invited to church, and a woman took him out for pizza and a pitcher of water. He describes how she affirmed him and spoke words of life. Torres reveals that he came to know Jesus that day through the relational acts of that woman. She invested in him and gave him a hope, a purpose and a destiny.
Eric tells how he went on to graduate from high school, get a bachelors and a masters degree, teach for 18 years in the Bridgeport schools and spend two years as a principal.
Torres then talks about how his life took another turn at 40 years old when his kidneys failed. Within a year, God miraculously provided a transplant and a new job as Executive Director of Elevate Bridgeport.
With tremendous humility, Eric describes how, though Elevate, he is able to show Jesus to young people by speaking life, hope and purpose, changing the trajectory of their lives just as words of life and the love of Jesus changed his. In describing the four-part Elevate model of character building and life skills, full-time mentors, adventures, and college and career preparation, Eric shares that the Elevate motto is “No one gets there alone.”
In closing, Eric challenges us to recognize we were made “for such a time as this” and to hear Jesus’ call to cast our nets on the right side of the boat to see what He has waiting for us.