Nicholas W Bednarek | Expected 2018 Graduate

I consider it truly a blessing to be in this position in which I am able to share my testimony. Before I share a little bit of my story I want to emphasis the fact that its truly only God that took me a barren “desert” so to speak and put life “rivers” into it and now I can honestly say that My Story is Gods Glory.

Now to the nitty gritty…My name is Nicholas W Bednarek, I’m 27 years old, I grew up in Annapolis, MD, in what some would consider a comfortable upbringing.

I’m the middle child of two sisters, my father worked in federal law enforcement and my mother worked as a grant assistant. I mention that because my parents raised me with good morals, core values and a good understanding of right and wrong. I didn’t need for anything and for that matter didn’t want for much either. I was well involved into sports, and overall speaking had plenty of friends.

Despite having a good childhood, good family, good schooling etc. I still chose to try and experiment with drugs. I got into drugs and partying a young age. At the age of 14 I was smoking marijuana, drinking, and from time to time using pain pills and cocaine. In the years of 14-18 my drug use grew into using whatever substance came across my path, everything I enjoyed like playing lacrosse and ice hockey quickly became second while using drug, alcohol, and being with women took the main priority in my life. During this time my drug use became well apparent to my family who than tried their best to divert the path of destruction that I was already on.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take heed to their advice than and stayed on that path which lead me to using heroin and almost overnight becoming a full blown heroin addict. In becoming an addict many things came along with it, many arrests, jail time, numerous rehabs, robbing, stealing, manipulating, and hurting the people I care about the most just to name a few. My battle of drug abuse went on despite losing friends to overdoses and even helping two good friends of mine inject heroin that lead to their fatal overdose. One might think that some of these things would have caused an “eye-opening” or “rock-bottom” experience in order for me to finally get clean and sober. I was never able to get my life together on my own….but God.

In January 2017 I found myself in a rough predicament yet again caused by my addiction, family feed up with me and wanting me out of their house, no job, no money, cops at my house and left what really two options. To live on the streets or try a program Teen Challenge. Considering I didn’t want to be on the streets I chose Teen Challenge, thank God I was directed their. My life would be forever changed by the power of Jesus Christ through the vessel of Teen Challenge. Ephesians 5:8 “For you were once darkness, but

now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” It was only God that lead me to Teen Challenge, in the program I gave my life over to Jesus Christ. Since allowing Christ into my life He has begun a great work, restoring relationships I thought were beyond repair, restoring a broken young man and giving me a hope for a new life lead by Him. Again I can say I’m blessed to share my testimony of the work of Jesus Christ. I’m currently one year clean and sober, one year of coming to know God, one year into the new future God has planned for me, one year into the restoration of the relationships I now have with my family members. God has completely changed my life in more ways I can begin to explain, now of course there was, there is and there will be hard days but my best worst day walking with Christ is still better than the best day I had before.

Life Verse:

Isaiah 43:18-19

“Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Philip Coates | Expected 2018 Graduate

As a youth I believed in Jesus Christ as my savior. I was fond of the concept of eternity in heaven rather than hell, but was opposed to Christ’s lordship via His sacrificial, servant, obedient and God-exalting life. Knowing the way I should go and denying it yielded many years dominated by the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. Lying, stealing, sex, drugs and rock-n-roll generated socially adverse events as job loss, jail, rehabs and countless disappointments of loved ones. These were child’s play in relation to the greater tragedy of spiritual blindness and declension by the grip of Satan’s worldly order of force, greed, selfishness, ambition and pleasure. My frail existence was justified by seeming acts of kindness and noble causes with and undercurrent of torment and insecurity because the motivation was self-exaltation, aka “look how good or nice I am”. Hosea 10:13, ‘Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way’.

Despite my rage against Him, my loving Father put His hook in my nose with the opportunity of Adult & Teen Challenge of Baltimore where He gathered me from captivity. He reveals the extent of my wicked and deceitful heart and my absolute dependence on Him for deliverance, safety, preservation, healing and soundness. I am justified and assured by the resurrection life of Christ. This child of God, through the blood of the cross by the power of God, is a new creation. Behold!…All things are become new!

Now as I seek the one who conquered death, God’s faithful promises are made real and He conquers the habit and dominion of sin. Jesus Christ is my ALL and the fruits of His Spirit are now the eternal outflow from His spring of living waters. The Spirit-driven life is actualized by study and obedience of God’s Word. I am now partaking in the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in this world through lust.

I am no longer despising the instruction of my God-fearing parents, but nurturing my daughter in the wisdom and admonition of our loving Father. I no longer lie, cheat or steal to ‘get ahead’. My former notion of getting ahead has transformed into doing the will of my creator. The joy of His salvation and my oneness or peace with God dissolves unwholesome desires. Hosea 10:12, ‘Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.’

This glorious freedom from self affords generous portions of my eternal home’s priceless luxuries right now by the fruits of His righteousness …not I, but Christ.