In 1997, Nick Yates received Christ and desired nothing more than to serve Him. He became a youth pastor and also discipled young men, while coaching football at Mira Mesa High.
Things were going great. But after Nick made a critical error in judgment, he was asked to leave the ministry. It began a dark and painful time of feeling that he had disgraced himself before God.
One Sunday morning, he heard Pastor Miles say these words, “No matter what you’ve done in your past, God still wants to use you.”
He couldn’t believe that he was not just loved by God, but still valued by God.
He quickly became a student, then leader of Impact195, the Rock’s year-long discipleship school, designed to help people find their God-given calling and get equipped to fulfill it. He ultimately left his family and friends, the comforts of his home and his beloved position as a football coach to join others in bringing hope to the people of Haiti.
He learned quickly that his new life with mosquitoes, jumping tarantulas, strange foods and no hot water—was just what he was meant for.
Through Nick’s work, many Haitians came to know Christ. He mentored young men to live boldly for God and many of them started other ministries in Haiti. He also sat with sick children in the hospital and would tell them about a God who awaited them in heaven if they would receive His Son. Many of the children asked Jesus into their hearts before passing away.
Because women from the village were walking two miles one way just to get contaminated water, Nick and his team built three wells that provided clean drinking water to 300 families each. In doing so, they helped dramatically reduce infant mortality rates.
After festering spider bites to his arm and leg made it nearly impossible for him to travel, Nick considered giving up a chance to preach to Haitians in the countryside. At the last minute, he made the trip—and many received Christ. The joy was overwhelming for Nick, who actually found himself feeling that he would literally give up his arm and leg for the chance to do it all over again.
It was a long way to come for the guy who once felt like God had no use for him.
Congratulations Nick Yates, Rock Hero, April 2012
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