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No. 3

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by David Halbrook
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Cross Examine chronicles student's journey to PHC

PHC/Art Cox
PHC freshman Kyle West is Interviewed by the Cross Examine Production Team in October 2010.

For two days in October 2010, a film crew from Coral Ridge Ministries traversed the Patrick Henry College campus alongside freshman Kyle West, capturing the new student’s awkward early days at college. Host John Rabe and his crew, working for the Christian worldview television program Cross Examine, trailed West from dormitory to classroom, dining hall to laundry, recording the latest chapter in the well-known, inspiring story of a young man wrestling with cerebral palsy. This is the same exceptional youngster who years earlier charmed Dr. Jim Dobson and inspired thousands of listeners with his self-effacing innocence on Dobson’s Focus on the Family radio show.

“Do you think God has a purpose for your life, Kyle?” Dr. Dobson asked a 7-year-old Kyle, the youngest guest ever on Focus.

“I know He has a purpose for my life, but I don’t think it could be anything too important,” Kyle replied to a stunned Dr. Dobson. “What would God do with a boy with cerebral palsy? There are billions of other kids out there. Why would He want to use me?”

That startling exchange on national radio quickly became a definitive moment in the lore of the daily Focus broadcast, eliciting bags of letters and testimonies from listeners impacted by Kyle’s transparency. One orthopedic surgeon reportedly pulled over on the side of the road and gave his life to Jesus after hearing West’s testimony.

“Looking back, I was embarrassed to have said that and honestly don’t know where that came from,” West told Rabe on camera. “It would have been the first thing I would have edited out, but I realize now that the Holy Spirit used those words to inspire so many others.”

Years later, a 13-year-old Kyle once again piqued a nation’s curiosity as a preternaturally wise and astute young observer of the human condition on Focus’s Christian worldview series, The Truth Project. The Truth Project is a DVD-based small-group curriculum comprised of 13 one-hour lessons taught by Dr. Del Tackett, which discusses the relevance and importance of living the Christian worldview in daily life.


“Focus and Dr. Tackett have had a long and wonderful history with Kyle,” said Rabe. “People who watch The Truth Project invariably ask, ‘Who is that smart kid?’ referring, of course, to Kyle.”

Dr. Tackett recently joined Coral Ridge Ministries to help launch Cross Examine, and “when we heard that Kyle was planning to enroll at Patrick Henry College, with its great academics and moot court program, we knew it was the perfect time to update his story,” Rabe said. “How is this young man who has struggled with a physical disability his entire life now transitioning to the life of a college freshman? As our experience here at PHC has proven, it continues to be an amazing and inspiring story.”

That video feature has now been released on CrossExamine.com, chronicling Kyle’s life from his childhood in Colorado Springs, through a dozen surgeries, and into his first weeks at Patrick Henry College. (See video online.) The camera follows Kyle across the campus as he negotiates meals in the dining commons, navigates the halls between classes, and even addresses a panel of judges during last semester’s intramural moot court tournament, in which he excelled. A number of Kyle’s fellow classmates share comments on camera, including senior Brooke Butler, who says, “If I had two words to describe Kyle, I think they’d be courageous and resilient. It takes courage for him every day just to do the things we take for granted. Yet he continues to do those things and continues to rise above them.”

Observed Kyle: “I thought the show came out really well. It was a blessing, and a humbling experience, to be part of something like this. I found myself wondering again why God picked me to have such great opportunities, but I’m not complaining. This was a chance to bring Him glory in a really unique way, and I really enjoyed it.”

About the author

This article originally appeared on the PHC website on February 10, 2011. David Halbrook is director of communications at Patrick Henry College.