Recently a mission team from First Baptist Church of Irving, Texas, came to help pastor Scott Kearney and the Well Church in Nashua, NH. I became acquainted with one of their chaperones, Nolan Sittig. His story is a dramatic testimony of the power of Jesus to transform a broken life.
A History of Abuse
Nolan grew up in a terribly dysfunctional home. He never knew his biological father. His stepfather was an alcoholic who severely beat Nolan and repeatedly abused his two sisters. Life was so miserable that Nolan left home when he was only 12 years old. He moved from place to place and dropped out of school. Often Nolan slept in a cemetery because it was the safest place to be. (Nobody ever goes to a cemetery at night!)
At age 14, Nolan was placed in a Christian boys’ home. When professional counselors assessed him, they predicted that Nolan was so badly affected by abuse that he would be permanently scarred, would most likely never graduate from high school and would never have a normal family life.
Receiving and Granting Forgiveness
But, within one month of entering the boys’ home, Nolan made the pivotal decision to ask Christ to save him. And that decision set in motion a miracle of transformation in Nolan’s life. Because of the years of abuse, Nolan’s heart was filled with anger toward his stepfather, and he knew he had to do something about it. When he was 17 years old, Nolan visited his stepfather in prison and said, “I have become a Christian, and because of what Christ has done for me, I forgive you for all the bad things you did to me.” Shackled with chains, his stepfather never looked up and never said a word. But those words released the anger Noland had carried for years.
Not only did Nolan graduate from high school, he went on to graduate from East Texas Baptist University and New Orleans Baptist Seminary! Today he serves as a deacon at First Baptist Church of Irving, Texas, where he also leads an adult Bible fellowship. He is married and has three children. He is a successful businessman. And he is passionate about serving Christ, going on at least one volunteer mission trip every year for the past 30 years!
There are plenty of people like Nolan who live in New England: people whose lives have been so broken by sin that they live without hope of ever having a joyful life. But what Jesus did for Nolan, He can also do for others: Jesus has the power to heal our brokenness and restore wholeness to our lives!
Sam Taylor serves as the Boston area regional coordinator at the Baptist Convention of New England.