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Nathan remains connected nearly 1 year after graduation

VVRM Nathan

After graduating from the mission’s recovery program years ago, Nathan thought he was prepared to reenter the world. But instead, he isolated himself, and feelings of loneliness reemerged. “I fell into a secluded depression I guess they’d call it,” Nathan said. “I just snuggled up with a bottle and about killed myself. But then one day, and this is confirmation of the Holy Spirit, I was just lying there and I felt horrible. I heard a voice say, ‘You have one more drink, you’re dead.’ I just started crying. I poured it out and threw the bottle on the floor.”

His next move? Nathan called the mission and asked to come back. He reentered the program in March 2018, worked hard on his recovery, and graduated in December 2018. And this time, he had a plan. “I sat down with Pastor John (Schmidt, program manager), and decided what I’d focus on, and set my mind to (succeeding).”

Nathan stays at the program house and oversees some operations. He also provides food for the clients in the life recovery and the transitional living programs, drawing on his past as a chef. “I help in whatever way I can,” Nathan said.

Nathan has struggled with some serious health issues, including the discovery of a large brain tumor in 2007. Doctors told him he had just an 11 percent chance of surviving. “Twenty minutes before the surgery, I just started praying. A preacher walked by and stopped dead in his tracks. He came and asked if I’d like him to pray for me, and I said, ‘I want to give my heart and soul to the Lord.’”

Nathan did, and he recovered quickly and successfully. But as a result of accompanying seizures at the time, Nathan lost his driver license. He has been without it for 12 years and recently began the process of applying. “It’s been an uphill battle all these years, but after waiting to see a neurologist for three months, he gave the OK right away,” Nathan said, smiling. “I took the (written) driver’s test and I only got one question wrong. I have my driving test next month. I’m ready. It’s so hard to keep a job without being able to drive. After I get my license, I’ll be looking for employment.”

Nathan knows the heat and stress of working in kitchens isn’t for him anymore, and acknowledged that it might have contributed to the seizures he experienced over the years. He’s looking forward to utilizing his new driver license for a courier job, perhaps for a local auto parts store. In addition, he’d love to take on some side jobs as a private chef for in-home events.

Nathan also has plans to get a house with a friend from the program’s brother. “I’m going to save up for a car, which will make it easier to stay connected,” Nathan said. “And I’ll continue to use my gifts as a chef for the mission and church.”

As it nears a year since his graduation, Nathan says he’s truly amazed to see how God has been working in his life. “Every day, I just become closer to the Lord,” he said. “When you feel him around you all the time, it’s amazing. I can hear him all the time, and it’s just so wonderful.

“I’m just so overwhelmed by how Jesus works. And he’s done so much for me in the past, but I failed to realize it. I didn’t see the big picture of it. I was blind, but now I see.”

Nathan’s advice for those who are searching for a relationship with God is simple. “Anyone out there who has never met Jesus, just know that he’s always right there, on his knees, reaching out to you.”

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