Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin teamed up with Jubilee Project, a non-profit organization which produces inspirational videos of real-life stories, to encourage and share the story of Jose Estrella, a teenager who has overcome drug abuse and has found joy in the Lord.
The Jubilee Project was birthed in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti when its founders created videos to promote disaster relief. The organization now shares video testimonies of life change with hopes of instigating action and a desire to do good in others.
After hearing about Jose Estrella's story, Jeremy Lin went to meet with the young man to encourage him in his walk. Estrella had grown up without a father in one of the most dangerous districts in California, and had become an alcoholic by the age of 13.
After overdosing on drugs and alcohol at a party one night, Estrella finally saw how his actions were hurting himself and those that he loved. "I could have lost everything - my Mom, most importantly," said the teary-eyed teenager - it was then that Jose knew that he was "going the wrong way."
One of the only times Estrella had felt at-peace was when he played basketball. His ability to play the game with a small stature catches people off-guard - "I would consider myself an underdog ... I don't bring a big presence to the court," says the teen. Nevertheless, Estrella "plays with his soul, heart, and everything," says his mother.
Estrella looks up to Jeremy Lin, who had to overcome a lot of obstacles to get into the NBA. "The toughest obstacle was probably finding someone to give me a chance," says Lin, who had thought about giving up several times along the way. When Lin heard about Estrella, he was encouraged that the teen had persevered through so much adversity to get where he is today. "When things are rough, I like Romans 5:3-5," says Lin, relating suffering to joy for those in Christ:
"Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (English Standard Version).
Lin was encouraged by the joy that he saw in Estrella - "He has a solid foundation, and he understands a lot more than a typical eighteen-year-old might," says Lin - "he talks a lot about his joy."
Estrella says that his faith in God has helped him to overcome his struggles - "That night, I could have easily gotten run over in the streets, but Someone was looking over me," he says. The young man hopes that his story will help encourage troubled youth.
"It's never too late to start again," says his mother.