Most people would be overjoyed to visit Hawaii every summer—but for Trai, the trip was bittersweet. It was an annual reminder of both his love for his mother and the distance between them.
Trai Chavez was born in Hawaii on the island of Oahu. Before Trai was five years old, his parent’s marriage ended. Trai and his dad moved to Utah and eventually, Texas, while his mom and younger sister stayed on the island. Now, an ocean was between him and his family.
After many years of travel to and from Hawaii, Trai’s mother and sister moved to DFW. Their relocation improved the relationship with his mother, but it didn’t fulfill Trai’s need for a unified family. “I always wanted to go home at the end of a school day and show both of my parents my accomplishments, report cards, and trophies.” That was never possible.
Despite his struggles at home, Trai flourished at school. He started attending Trinity High School in 2011, where he joined the football team and became very well-known. Trai still knew he was missing something. He believed that God existed, but the fear of death kept him up at night. Trai couldn’t shake the feeling that he wasn’t prepared for eternity.
Trai had heard about Cross City Church but had no intention of attending alone. It wasn’t until someone invited him that he decided to give it a try. “When a friend told me to go with him, I decided I would go; not because I wanted to hear about God, but because I heard they had pool tables, a basketball court, and a skatepark inside.”
After attending for about a month, Trai remembers a specific Wednesday night worship time where his perspective changed. He would typically disengage during the service, but his friend urged him to pay attention. It was as if the speaker was talking directly to him. The message addressed the marks of being a “Real Christian.” “Growing up, my dad always told me that God was real and Jesus died for me, and as long as I believed that, I was safe.” That night Trai realized that believing in the story of Jesus wasn’t enough—he needed a relationship.
Trai became increasingly involved in the Student Ministry. He attended every week, went to every camp, and even went on a mission trip. His decision to follow Christ changed everything. “Once I got saved, I had to give up so many things when it came to Trinity. I had to give up friends, activities, and football. But by giving up those things, it made time to do more with God.”
After graduating from high school, Trai married his high school sweetheart, Kesa, and returned to serve in Student Ministry. “If I’m transparent, I never saw how a godly husband and wife should interact; I really had to teach myself how to be a good husband. That’s really why we like doing ministry together. We get to show these students, who may not have two parents, what a godly marriage looks like.”
Now, at the same church where God transformed Trai, he gets to serve in the Student Ministry and live out his calling. Trai even had the opportunity to lead his father to Christ and baptize him in front of his church family. His purpose once was his status, friends, and sports, but now he has a deeper calling. He is passionate about showing students the grace and love of God while demonstrating that circumstances, however large, don’t dictate the much larger plan God has for their lives.