ENID, Okla. — Marlin Weaver and his wife arrived in Enid from Jones in October 2015 so he could take the reins as youth pastor at Enid First Assembly of God.
It was his first job in such a capacity, but it has been rewarding, he said.
Growing up in the small town of Hutchinson, Pa. — population 322 — south of Pittsburgh, Weaver wasn’t part of a church-going family. He said he has taken himself to church every Sunday since he was 9 years old.
“I got up by myself, got dressed at 9 years old, and went to make coffee for all the old people,” Weaver said.
Attention that saved his life
Weaver said his childhood years were hard, which is why he beliefs he relates so well to the kids who come to his church.
“The teenage years were some of my toughest years,” Weaver said, “especially middle school. I had a really rough part where I just didn’t feel like I was worth anything at 13.
“It’s all about acceptance,” he said about life in middle school. “It’s all about how do you fit it in. You have to be the athlete or you have to be the smart kid, the funny guy, all those things, and that’s really how I was. I tried to be every single one of those people, and eventually I had come down to the point where I was tired of trying.”
Around that time in Weaver’s life, his father was overseas with the Army and his stepmother was entering the picture. Whenever Weaver misbehaved, his stepmother would send him to his room and leave him there until he understood the error of his ways.
Weaver’s depression reached the point where he attempted to commit suicide by hanging himself in his room. It was the one time his stepmother went up to his room to talk. All Weaver wanted was attention, and it saved his life.
“I got rescued from that,” Weaver said. “I really believe that the Holy Spirit rescued me from that and took me from that part of my life.”
‘What I’ve been through’
Shortly after dedicating his life to God, Weaver felt his situation turning the corner. He had more friends surrounding him, he got more involved in athletics and choir and he set off for a journey in the ministry.
His testimony is one that sends a signal to each of the kids that whatever problems they are going through, he understands.
“It’s why I find youth ministry very rewarding,” Weaver said, “because I can look out there and see that every single one sitting in these chairs and couches … they’re all going through what I’ve been through.”