My name is Joshua Gillespie; I hail from the north side of Minneapolis, Minnesota. I grew up in a Nondenominational Christian home with a dab of Pentecostal flavor. My father was a pastor & my mother a strong and loving woman of God. My family was very closely knit and love within our family and the community was of great importance. My grandparents were very active members in the community, through which many community gardens, educational programs, after school programs and extracurricular activities have been implemented.
My father was a very loving man who poured himself into people even if he seemingly had nothing to give. He was a faithful and wise man who raised me to put God before anything and everything. My mother, much like my grandparents, was very community-oriented and always finding ways for me and my siblings to get plugged in to our city.
“Only God can turn a mess into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph and a victim into a victory.” – Joshua Gillespie
With that being said, there were times where my parents seemed to do so much for the people around me that my siblings and I seemed to be either dragged along or put in the back burner. Under these conditions, when I was eight years old, my life took an unexpected and unwelcomed turn. During a bible study, my babysitter molested me. This happened on multiple occasions and through this process my eyes became open in a new way. My innocence was violated. It was a trauma to my soul due to the idea that someone I loved and trusted damaged me to the deepest regions of my heart. The joy in my eyes withered into mellow sorrows as I flashed back to moments in time that I tried so hard to erase from my memory.
I became quiet and reserved, always questioning who I could and could not trust. It instilled an anger inside of me that festered a demon digging deep within my spirit. It hindered me in school, and it caused me to take out my frustration and anger on those around me. My outlet became sports. The idea of bettering myself by mentally pushing by pain enabled me to feel accomplished. Through the pain I would endure I would rebuild myself twice fold. Running on the track, each step became symbolic of breaking away from the chains and insecurities that I felt in my past. My confidence began to grow, and as I my work ethic grew so did my grades in school. As I continued to grow, the outlet that once freed me from the horrors was lost. Through an unfortunate injury I was no longer allowed to run on the track, and it devastated me. It was like a piece of my identity was ripped out of me, and I felt as though God had forsaken me. In the realization that I could no longer do sports, I found that I could dedicate more time to those around me. In doing so, it has allowed me to find restoration in the testimonies of my fellow friends, neighbors, brothers and sisters in Christ.
In college, I was blessed to have received the wonderful Act Six leadership scholarship, which is allowing me to pursue my dream. I am currently an accounting major and with that major I plan on working my way up the business ladder to where I can eventually work on properties so that I can rebuild housing that is high-quality as well as affordable in the Minneapolis area. The journey will be long, but God will continue to guide me and push me.
Through this college journey, I have found lifetime friends, and I’ve made bonds with people that I know will take me far beyond my four years here. I share this snapshot of my life with you to not receive pity or sadness. I share this with you so that you may understand on more than a fundamental level what makes up the person that is called Joshua Gillespie. Only God can turn a mess into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph and a victim into a victory.