When he was younger, Austin had acute Crohn's disease, which is often an inherited chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) characterized by inflammation of the digestive tract. At the age of fourteen, he had 28 ulcers in his stomach and had to take 18 pills a day. He was consistently doing REMICADE- the equivalent to chemo for cancer if someone has Chron’s disease. Austin described to me that his disease kept on getting worse and worse. During this time, he started to pray to and focus on connecting with God. As days progressed, he could feel his body starting to gradually change until one day he had a dream.
He was on a golden escalator that was directed him upwards towards a blanket of clouds. He distinctly remembers that once he broke through the clouds, he woke suddenly feeling more alive and present than ever. Following his trip to the doctors a month later, he learned that he no longer had any ulcers and his Crohn’s disease had almost gone dormant. He attributes this miraculous healing to God’s presence in his dream.
In his story, he emphasizes that this feeling of liberation came from the reassurance and faith in someone else. A healthy mind, body, and soul are heavily influenced by the way one is impacted by the service of others. To him, it was the interaction with God. For others, interacting with those who listen can naturally heal the very thing that impairs them momentarily. Austin is reciprocating this concept by acting as an ambassador and tour guide for Detroit. He has heard the negative stories about his hometown from outsiders and locals. Now, he and so many other citizens of Detroit are focusing their efforts to heal the narrative of their city.
Austin is learning every aspect of the ever-changing landscape of his hometown. He uses this knowledge to story tell the history and development of the culture and people in Detroit.
Every second he is learning. He is making a direct impact on not only Detroit but also the corporations and people that reside there. Austin is actively listening, speaking, and engaging with everyone. What more can you ask of an Ambassador? What more can you ask of a human being?