Michael N - Portland, OR

 

Hi!  My name is Michael.  I'm 23 and am currently in my ninth month of active discipleship training here at Freedom House.  I was born in Albany, OR, to a young mother who was only fifteen years old and immediately given up for adoption to a very loving, Christian family at my birth. Shortly thereafter, my family packed up and moved to Dallas, TX where we lived until I was four.  We relocated to San Jose, CA until I was about ten and then we moved back to Oregon and the suburbs of Portland.  This is where my family lives to this day in a home which my grandfather, my father, and I built...when I was just eleven years old.  I grew up in a classic Assemblies of God, Pentecostal family with every Christian influence and opportunity available to me.  I knew so very much of God's Word, I believed it, I also have known well the great importance of hard work, with hard working parents to guide me.

This is the upbringing and lifestyle I have known.  However, this was also the very type of family I left... in order to be able to go and live life on my own terms.  You see at fifteen years old I left home.  I had grown up physically, quite early in my teen years and so I was big, strong, fast, fearless and was a very angry kid.  I discovered that my determination and skills as a fighter coupled with maturing skills in a "business" mindset all made me valuable on the streets collecting from drug dealers who owed money.  The criminal elements running west-side drug sales became my "associates."  this new identify which I had created for myself became the sole purpose I lived for.  The sad part about this story is how someone with a strong work ethic and moral roots could get into such a mind set. there is a deceptive aspect to this too, in thinking that running drugs also held promise of one day providing some lavish, bountiful, and prosperous lifestyle.  And at moments, it seemed that I was living it.  I was there.  But in truth, this was nothing more than an illusion.  Soon I was grieving over all the good things that I had so thoughtlessly thrown away.  I found myself sleeping in my car, then facing criminal charges, and all the pressures became magnified by the fact that I was not helplessly bound in my own drug use and addiction.  God was bringing me to a point where I was truly broken.  I can still remember feelings of emptiness and despair affecting my mind, body and spirit.  The heartache was really incredible.

It appears to me that hitting bottom is an absolute necessity.  When I was completely broken then I could slow down enough to look around and listen.  Crushed under the consequences of my choices I could now see the Lord reaching out to me in love, working through the very ones which I had hurt the most!  Listening to His Holy Spirit, I could hear Him say, "You can stay down here if you want, but wouldn't you rather take My hand and start your climb back up?  don't be scared, I will lead the way."

For me it appeared to be a life or death decision; I was desperate to change my life and eager to reach out to Him.  To escape the pit I was in I had to choose to surrender my pride and my plans, and choose to walk in truth.  Family encouraged me to consider faith-based recovery and soon I was in Freedom House.  The one year commitment here is developing a maturing faith within me.  I truly feel free from the bondage of my past and there is fresh hope for my future. Praise God!

It is a real challenge to try to convey what changes are at work inside of me, especially within a page or two.  I will say that the Lord has done more in my life over these past nine months than I would have thought possible and for that I am truly thankful.  I feel genuinely privileged to be here.  I am grateful for each and every person who has obeyed a call to help support this program, a program that is teaching me to live the life of a follower of Jesus Christ, a disciple, restored, healed and free.  God bless each one who've helped me get my life back, a life now filled with Jesus Christ.  Thank you!

Serving Him earnestly, Michael N


 
 
Michael successfully completed his one-year commitment to the
Freedom House Ministries Program
on March 2, 2007 becoming Graduate #2.
 
"The Lord has done more in my life here at Freedom House than I would have thought possible and for that I am truly thankful.  I can now look forward to Bible College and a future in serving Him."
 
 
 
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