Nathaniel was born and raised by his mother, in Mesa, AZ as an only child. There was a crack within the traditional family foundation. An absent father led to a young boy becoming a problem child and having behavioral issues. His mother was a hard worker, a diligent caretaker and loved her son with all of her heart. This love was not enough for Nathaniel and rebellion took over which began a rough road filled with many lessons to be learned the hard way!
As Nathaniel grew into a young man his rebellion led to smoking weed, conflict both at home and at school, and personal struggles with life. His mother was thriving in her own life but her outlook for her son seemed to be a hopeless future. He moved out and ventured to a variety of places including Alaska, Kentucky and Oklahoma – seeking out stability and job opportunities. He didn’t care for life and had no direction, goals or purpose.
Nathaniel’s motto was “I’m probably going to die anyway, so just live how I want to!”
This led to an unleashed approach to life for Nathaniel. He opened himself to every kind of drug possible, drinking regularly, living on the edge and open to try anything. He was riding on a slippery slope which ultimately led him to four different terms in prison. His mother supported him the first two terms, but there was less and less contact each time he went back. This shamed Nathaniel, but he knew the reality of his decisions and had to accept the outcome.
In 2016, Nathaniel had an “AHA” moment
He was sitting in prison for the third time and witnessed several men be beaten to death and something stimulated his heart, he knew this was no way to live. He wanted something more. From there, he picked up a Bible, which gave him a hunger to be a Christian. This journey led him to several faith based housing programs where he learned about God.
Nathaniel was surrounded by people who were DRIPPING TRUTH of God’s Word on him!
Still struggling with his addictions, he felt stuck and unhappy, like something was still missing. He found himself in prison one last time. He needed something more!
This time, House of Refuge Sunnyslope was brought to his attention and he was introduced to Abel, the Men’s Program Manager. Nathaniel recognized this community was built on Christ. He loved the food, fellowship and the love for Christ that was evident in the leadership and in the community. HRS became a game changer for Nathaniel as he has leaned in and allowed his faith in God to grow.
While at House of Refuge Sunnyslope, Nathaniel has discovered a healthy lifestyle through physical and spiritual growth. The key factor has been stability through God, community, mentoring and leadership that has surrounded him with love and encouragement.
He has become a Plumbing Apprentice and has full benefits with the Union. The Union is also paying for his school as he moves forward with his career. He has obtained his driver’s license, a vehicle, and is reconnected with his mother who couldn’t be more proud of him. Lastly, he is keeping himself healthy through physical and spiritual training.
Nathaniel’s new motto “The Impossible is Possible!”
From a spiritual standpoint, he has found a sweet spot with the Lord as he has fixed his eyes on the Word of God. From his daily discipline of seeking God, he has developed a servant heart. He is always willing to lend a hand, be available, explore new churches and share his story and the impact the ministry has had in his life. Today, he has a community of brothers in Christ that surround him and has built a strong relationship with his mentor David.
David, his mentor, states, “Nathaniel’s growth has been accomplished because he puts God first in everything and stood on the promises in Scripture. He was able to accomplish in one year what most men would need two years to do!”
Matt 6:33 (NLT) Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Today, House of Refuge Sunnyslope has been a place to safely unravel his addictions and allow God’s Word to shine light and transform these areas of chaos in his life. The practical tools of truth through Bible studies, fellowship and one-on-one meetings have helped Nathaniel make sense of what a follower of Christ looks like. He knew there was more! He needed practical application and that is what he found.
God was the “more” he needed and the “more” he found!
“I am forever thankful for the ministry and I hope my story can bring hope and help to someone who is in need!” Nathaniel
Encouragement from Nathaniel:
- “You can keep going no matter what happens!”
- “There has to be a God and there has to be MORE!”
Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV) The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.