“Who am I?” “Why am I here?” Hundreds of young men come to Narrow Gate to find answers to these two questions. Prior to their arrival, many of these young men had lost their way. Like Narrow Gate graduate Cole Vowell, many felt rejection, loss, and emptiness such that they doubted their very worth compared to their peers.
At Narrow Gate, we see young men for who they will become, meeting them where they are now. We believe in giving opportunities to the young men, even if they feel unworthy of it, and believe this makes a difference. The Narrow Gate Field Guide notes “there is such power in someone seeing YOU and not just your circumstances.”
Cole (second from left) and his Narrow Gate class members – Narrow Gate Orientation Spring, 2019
Before Cole Vowell began his journey at Narrow Gate, he experienced a relentless feeling of despair. “I spent years feeling like I wasn’t good enough. I lived a life of uncertainty and inadequacy. I knew I needed something different but I did not think that it was God. That is how I lived my life -without purpose.
Cole’s mom, Holli, describes Cole’s long search for his identity as heartbreaking. For eight years, she prayed for her son’s well-being but felt Cole was spiraling downward. Holli shares how Cole’s self- confidence plummeted with each attempt to find his way back. But Holli’s persistent prayers eventually led her to Narrow Gate through another mom whose son had walked the same path as Cole.
Last March, Cole embarked on a transformational journey through the Narrow Gate ministry and “slowly began to know God on a personal level that I had never experienced before. I learned who God is, what He wants for my life, and how to be in a relationship with Him.”
Cole and his mother, Holli, at his November 2019 Narrow Gate Graduation
“As I watched Cole throughout this time [at Narrow Gate], I could see the work that God was performing. … I could visibly see a difference in his face, his posture, and his change in heart.” Holli Holt
After graduating from Narrow Gate last November, Cole now serves as a Narrow Gate intern. He was introduced to several truths that will guide him through this internship and in his life beyond this ministry. “Things of the world will never satisfy you in a way that is lasting. There is only one thing God wants for us… to live a life that resembles the life of Jesus as closely as possible.”
Cole discovered his identity and purpose on a journey he says has been equally challenging and rewarding. He says his plans for the future are still to be determined but one thing he knows for sure – his calling includes discipling his Narrow Gate brothers and others who struggle with feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty. And, at those times, Cole “will choose to see who they will become.”
Narrow Gate Field Guide
Your gifts and prayers are changing young men’s lives for good. And those young men are making an impact in the U.S. and around the world. Thank you for the investments you are making in the life of young men like Cole Vowell and for the prayers you continually offer for the Narrow Gate staff, students, and graduates.