sg-gcanyon3.jpg On October 2nd our family of 7 took off from Seattle for a flight to Flagstaff, Arizona. This was the family trip that Glennis and I had looked forward to taking ever since we met Pastor Daniel Williamson. Pastor Daniel had flown up from Flagstaff to Tacoma and shared a heartfelt message at Nick Newell’s Memorial Service last August. Our hearts were stirred by his affirmations of God’s greater love.  Pastor Daniel’s transparency and his thrill to serve the Lord were clearly genuine.

Pastor Daniel is the Director of New Horizon Christian Academy located in Flagstaff, AZ; an affiliate of Teen nhca-wnick-2008_001.jpgChallenge of Arizona. Nick served on staff as a counselor at the New Horizon’s residential program for young men ages 12 to 17 years with life controlling problems. The overseeing Teen Challenge also operates a residential program center for young girls 12-17 years and men & women over age 18 with drug, alcohol or other addiction problems. All of these programs are designed to bring hope and healing to a generation of people who face tremendous challenges. Their mission and common goal is to help individuals become physically well and spiritually alive.

Nick first became acquainted with Pastor Daniel at the Teen Challenge Ministry in Phoenix. Nick’s reason as to why he was there is not too different from many other young men and women who struggle with addictions; trying to fill a void in their life that only God can fill. Nick’s life had so radically changed through the help and guidance of his enrollment and graduation from Teen Challenge that he wanted to share his testimony of hope for a changed life with other young boys. Nick relocated to Flagstaff and became a staff counselor at New Horizon’s Christian Academy; he was mentored and invested in by Pastor Daniel and other faithful men of God.

Nick’s testimony was that he was raised in a Christian home with his mom and two sisters. His father had left when he was two years old. Nick began to experiment with marijuana at the age of 10 and started hanging out with gangs at 12 years old. By eighth grade he dropped out of school and his life began spiraling out of control.

After he dropped out of school, he began selling drugs, using cocaine and distributing crack. Nick was in bondage to his addiction, pushing the limits he polluted himself with drugs to the point where nothing else mattered. In and out of the hospital, he even missed his mother’s wedding because of an overdose.

He then moved to Arizona to get away from that type of lifestyle and environment in an attempt to change his life. Not to long after the move, he found meth and went right back down the same hole he just crawled out of. After three suicide attempts, Nick had went straight from the hospital bed to Teen Challenge where God rearranged his whole life.

Nick’s move to Flagstaff as a staff counselor at New Horizon Christian Academy was an environment Nick thrived and grew spiritually as a leader and mentor to young boys. He began studying and applying the Word of God to every area of his life, he tirelessly served both within his local church and within the New Horizon’s boy’s program. Christ was the center of Nick’s world and the sole purpose of his life.

One of the areas Nick was applying himself in study was a curriculum through the Faithful Men Ministries. Nick would have finished this course in time for the sword commissioning on Oct. 5th but graduated to heaven from a result of serious health issues and an interaction of medications. Glennis and I were compelled to see the work of Pastor Daniel and his staff at New Horizon’s Center and we wanted to be in Flagstaff in honor of Nick on this special day when he would receive his commissioning in proxy by his step father Terry.

Arriving days earlier in Flagstaff, our family took the opportunity to visit Sedona and the Grand Canyon and enjoy the sights and each other. The last family vacation were had together had been 10 years ago, so it was very special to have this time together.

On Sunday, we attended Lamb of God Church Service celebrating the commissioning of those who had fulfilled the Faithful Men’s discipleship curriculum to join the many men within the congregation who are already commissioned. These men purposely represent a standard of godly men discipling and mentoring other men to renew their minds to God’s Word in their leadership and personal lives. The senior pastor, Michael Tenpenny graciously introduced the founder of the Faithful Men Ministries, Jack King, along with guest speakers. The Church service was very vibrant and we enjoyed the warm, loving presence of God within the celebration and fellowship. After the service ended we were introduced to the students at New Horizon Christian Academy along with many others. We stayed and visited for an hour after the service had concluded. During this time a group of men approached my wife and I to ask if they could pray for us and specifically, my healing. We had a circle of prayer with different ones lifting their voices to intercede. One man asked if he could share a word from the Lord to me (a vision he had concerning me.) His words were very purposeful and impassioned, speaking of how God sees me not after my appearance (which is very weak and frail) but He see’s me as a warrior on the inside, he told me not to consider what I behold in the mirror because God sees me clad in His armor. He also said that God knew me before my form had substance and that He sees me complete and healed. We received these specific words of encouragement among the rest that he spoke as directly from God’s love and encouragement. There is a bond of fellowship when brothers and sister’s share your burden and express the compassion of Christ. It is a very intimate relationship, uncovering any pretense of control we may have. In this level and even place we all are humbled recognizing our ever-present need for our Savior. 

On Monday, we met up with Pastor Daniel at New Horizon Christian Academy. We were introduced to more staff members and welcomed into the Boy’s classroom to share our faith in Christ. Glennis helped to interpret when my words and thoughts were hard to understand. She helped to expound on things we have experienced and truths we are growing to understand; mostly, concerning our hope in Christ and the empowerment of faith. After we spoke for awhile, I asked Glennis to take off my back brace so that I could do my “faith walk” in front of these 12 boys, their teachers and other staff that were in the room. We wanted them to believe with us that one day I won’t need the support of the brace to keep my head upright and that I would walk again in wholeness. Glennis took off my brace and walked behind me with her hands spotting either side of my head. As I started walking, she began speaking words of faith and healing over me. From where they were seated, all their voices joined her in agreement as she called out for God to regenerate my specific physical complications. I made two passes down the length of the room and back again walking directly toward Pastor Daniel as my finish. He gently gathered me and supported my head as he boldly prayed, as if to move all of heaven; magnifying the healing authority of Christ. All the boys drew around me praying as true priests on the behalf of a man they had just met. One after the next, these young men laid aside there own troubles and availed themselves to be intercessors. The presence of God was so manifested in the concentration of their directed prayer. I felt the power of God upon me and realized that three of my fingers and the width of my hands had enlarged with blood flowing through them, they were noticeably different (my hands are usually very boney and purple from lack of circulation and the accumulation of blood). We praised God, sang and continued in prayer thanking God for His healing power.  God brings healing in many forms and oftentimes he will use people. My healing is already complete in my spirit but started to appear in my physical body when a group of boys and staff at New Horizons Christian Academy of Flagstaff believed the promises of God and acted on them by faith. They didn’t trust what their eyes saw but viewed me through the mirror of God’s Word and called those things that are not as though they were. Rm 4:17. Afterward, I was greatly moved when one of the young men asked if he could wash my feet. I humbly received this honor. As he was washing my feet I affirmed to him how God sees him as a king in his kingdom. (“Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 18:4).

The Spirit of God was enveloping; as waves of love that washed over us during the hours we were in the classroom. We had no idea or predetermined plan in visiting, we only thought we were having a tour of the facilities but God had something bigger planned for us. We were taken on a tour of heavenly courts by kingdom ambassadors; men and boys who reached out to us with gifts of edification, compassion and brotherly love. When we dare to take a step of faith out from our comfort zone God is always ready to reveal His glory to us in ways we thought were unimaginable. 



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