Hey y’all my name is TJ Keeter, I serve as the Sports Outreach Director for The Abandon Project. I was born in Asheville, NC and came to Charlotte for school at UNCC where I majored in Africana Studies and Sociology. I come from a family of 5 mom, dad, 2 sisters and myself, I have a beautiful girlfriend who is awesome. Sports has been a part of my life since I was born, and has been one of the ways I best connect with people, and feeds into why I love so much what I do today. I never saw myself living in Charlotte long term but here we are and heres my story:
As a kid I was afforded some awesome opportunities to be a part of some wonderful mission trips, but I never considered it something I would do as a “Job”. I went into to college with the intention of getting a business degree, get a corporate, live the good life, but then God stepped in. I served as an intern with Made in the Streets the summer after my freshman year. This ministry works with homeless children to get them an education and prepare them for life once they are 18. I saw God move in ways I had never seen before both in others and in myself, and my life was changed forever and so was my life course. I no longer had a passion for business classes, I didn’t care about making a ton of money, or living in a big house with nice cars. Instead, I had a passion to be around those who were hurting, those who were forgotten, those who needed someone to fight for them. I made my mind up that I was going to move to Kenya and do full time ministry serving homeless children as soon as I was done with school. And wouldn’t you know, God stepped in again, this time in the form of a text message from a young lady I had went to high-school with that told me to check out this organization called The Abandon Project. Josh and I met in January 2016 at a coffee shop, and I quickly realized that there was reason that we had met.
I showed up to Garr Memorial Church on a Saturday, with basketball shoes, and not knowing what to expect. I did not expect that Saturday to spark a passion in me like I had never felt. The first 3 months I volunteered all I did was show up and play basketball, and build relationships with the kids. In this time I realized that my impact was not so much about what I brought or the experiences I could give, but in just showing up every week. I eventually took over the basketball program and began to find my true passion and purpose with the organization. I volunteered with the organization for 2.5 years until one night I called Josh and told him I need to get on staff ASAP, the next day I quit my sales job and began what has been the greatest, hardest, most challenging, rewarding, make you want to scream for joy, and cry real tears 1.5 years of my life.
My time with The Abandon Project has been a dream come true, I feel more alive than I have ever felt when I am with my people. I’ve seen God move mountains, mend broken hearts, and bring healing and reconciliation in ways I never imagined. Y’ALL THIS IS MY “JOB” HOW COOL IS THAT?!?!?!?. I tell people, one of my favorite things about God is his sense of humor and heres why. I once audibly said to multiple people “I will never take a job where I have to raise my own support” and here I am now, excited to go sit down with potential donors and trust that God will provide. We serve a great God, who works in mysterious, but very real and tangible ways. If you don’t believe me come hang out with us on a Monday or Wednesday night and you’ll see.