Nate first came into our home and lives in 2012 as a Craig’s list buyer for Patti’s old lap top computer. Recently married, Nate had just moved from Colorado to Traverse City. Though our interaction was brief, our hearts were mutually prompted to pray for Nate that day: specifically, that if he did not yet know Jesus, he would come to know him.
Fast forward to 2016. Nate’s story…
This is a story of how God interrupted my life and changed me permanently. A pervasive feeling that something wasn’t quite right saturated my daily attitude – a feeling that had been with me as far back as my teenage years. To quiet this voice inside that kept asking for change, I developed a hefty alcohol problem. This lifestyle landed me in AA (Alcoholic Anonymous).
At my first meeting, I was introduced to ‘the 12 Steps’. Step 1: “Admit you have a problem.” For me, this was incredibly easy! But at Step 2, I was stuck: “Come to believe that a power greater than me could restore me to sanity.” I always approached the idea of God as something/someone you cannot know…so why bother? Though I recognized my situation as desperate, I still refused to accept His existence. So I left AA.
A few weeks later, in the basement of my home, I began to quietly sob. I thought to myself “Is this IT? Is this all I have to offer the world – to be an alcoholic?” I then got on my knees and prayed…honestly asking God for help. Months passed. I decided to connect with an old friend who, to my surprise, had become a pastor! I began to listen to his sermons – one after another. Soon I realized that I had begun talking to God - writing down questions and receiving answers almost immediately. This was surreal! The answers that came were so clear and just too numerous to ignore.
One day, all My resistance broke down. Right at my computer, I prayed. I believed! I believed ALL of it! 37 years of fighting against the idea of God changed to a complete acceptance of God in a moment of time. The Holy Spirit immediately began to work to guide me to a local church where I could find a Christian community that would confirm what now I had come to believe: that Jesus Christ died for my sins and has now given me the gift of eternal life.
A True Disciple
A couple of weeks later, Nate and I began a mentoring relationship. The second time we met, he came to my home. As he walked in, he looked around and said, “You know, Lou, I have this sense that I’ve been here before. Did you happen to sell a lap top computer 4 years ago?” That’s when I recognized him: “Oh my goodness, you’re THAT SAME GUY!”
Nate has been such a joy to work with: a true disciple with a voracious appetite for God’s Word and a responsive heart to obey it. His witness for Jesus is courageous and contagious! Through the power of the Gospel, he has become a radically changed man. This, of course, is when some significant challenges began…especially within his marriage.
Nate’s wife Natalie ...
Natalie was a staunch Atheist as well, being reared in it through her family of origin. Imagine her shock when her own husband had become (gasp!) ‘one of them’! An actual “born-again Christian”. The initial stress this put on their relationship was immense! But Natalie could not deny the amazing changes taking place in Nate. So, over time, she went from being a hardened skeptic to one of the most genuine ‘seekers’ you would ever hope to meet.
Finally, in October, 2017 (some 20 months after Nate’s conversion), Natalie too placed her faith in Christ. As she gave her testimony for baptism 2 months later, our church family celebrated with tears of joy!
Today, both Nate and Natalie are giving such a strong and powerful witness to unbelieving family and friends as to the power of the Gospel to change lives. And you can just imagine the push back they are receiving.
Please pray that a genuine spiritual awakening would take place throughout their vast web of non-Christian relationships.