Nathan's testimony, er... life story?
My parents taught me about God. One night when I was 6 years old we read a Bible story about Jesus and a cross. I understood that He made some huge sacrifices for me. Even though I didn’t understand all of what was going on, I knew that it would be wrong of me not to accept a gift so generously made. Jesus became more real to me in practical day-to-day life about the time I turned 12. I chose to start living a life of purpose for Him then.
I attended ALERT for basic training unit 18 in 1999 and studied there till 2002 graduating from the firefighting and paramedic courses. That experience, more than any other, taught me that relying on God for your strength during moments of emotional and physical difficulty will bring a victory that is unheard of without Him.
Julie agreed to become my wife after a one day courtship, on Jan 9th, 2002. I am so amazingly blessed with this wonderful wife, she has become my best friend. Learning to look for completion in Christ and not in my marriage was a hard lesson, but a more perfect helpmeet could not have been found for me. I worked as a Paramedic in Texas for 9 months, and then we were married on Sept 13th that same year.
In May 2004, Julie’s brother, Billy, was killed in a car accident. I learned how to hug, cry and smile all at the same time. Losing Billy reminded me that we can accept the good AND the bad from God’s hand, learn from both, looking forward to a more beautiful reunion in heaven… or we can reject His sovereign decisions and choose to hate Him… which doesn’t change a thing. He is still God, our loss is not restored, and we learn nothing but reap the results of bitterness.
In the summer of 2004 we began working with the apartment ministry “Apartment Life” in Aurora CO. We felt like God put us there but we were frustrated by a lack of fruit. We since have realized that God might have had us there solely for the fruit He was ripening in our own hearts and the skills He was making for our tool boxes.
Before Cloe came along we did everything the doctors told us to try for a baby, all without any real success. Then God did His doctoring and Cloe was born Feb. 16th ,2005 in Parker CO. She is such a miracle. God truly gave her to us. Julie and I both found a heart for parents suffering through the pain of miscarriage, infertility and the confusion and depression that can bring.
We left Aurora on Nov 3rd, 2005 and began our current adventure. God has proven over and over that “His work done His way will not lack His provision.” Every time I begin to doubt His leading us into this field of work, He just smiles and shows me how He has already provided for our need. Often even before we asked Him, but He still waits for us to ask.
Gabi was born on August 17th 2007 in Parker CO just like her big sister Cloe. During that experience we found that returning to the USA for our children's births was going to be impractical. We love our country but the living expenses there are so high! Coming home to Chiapas began feeling like "home" and not just our field of work anymore.
Brennah was born on October 29th 2009 in Chiapas Mexico. Julie's folks visited us the week after for their first visit to our home. During that time Burnie helped finish the first addition to our small house. Having a proper living room shed light on the fact that our growing family was not going to continue fitting in this tiny house and we needed a couple more bedrooms. By Thanksgiving 2011 we were occupying a second floor addition that doubled the total space of our house. Many construction teams, donations and prayer supporters are to be thanked for their kind help.
In March of 2012 we went to the USA for a home visit. Julie was 23 weeks pregnant and as we traveled through northern AZ she began pre-term labor. Medically the outlook was grim with little hope of a live birth and almost none of a healthy baby. After a couple of days in the hospital listening to dismal percentages we got tired of insisting to the Dr.s that we were not interested in terminating the pregnancy and that our God can heal and if not then He can also give us the strength to bear our burden. During those first days God began to reverse all the risk factors. The amniotic sack re-sealed and re-filled, the placenta re-attached, contractions stopped, fetal distress went down and the doctors sort of sat there and scratched their heads. After a few weeks, Julie was released to fly home to CO with her dad and the rest of us drove up. God then provided a free furnished home for us close to the hospital, as well as medical coverage. Our amazing church family stepped up and we had a wonderful 4 months of waiting for baby William to be born. Julie suffered the most, stuck at home on strict bed rest. Then August 17th, 2012 a perfectly healthy baby boy was born without any complications. William and his sister Gabi share a birthday!
We returned home that October once everyone was fit to travel. Our family now feels complete. We have felt led to leave our count at 6, and focus on being good parents to the 4 little blessings we have been given. Our work here in Chiapas has grown to a point of being a rather daunting task. We host around 10 teams/families/singles every year. We are installing water filters and stoves in homes, and focusing on taking advantage of those moments to share the love of Jesus with these beautiful people. The Ch'ol and Zoque audio Bibles have been finished and we are working on Tojolabal. Bible video options are stacked up in my office and we have finished several dubs. So much gratitude fills my heart. I am blessed to be working in a task that I was designed by God for, and have been enabled by His church to accomplish.