“I have been through so much,” sighs Nathaniel Shepard, a tired but relieved man who is now in a Victory Outreach rehab program in Harlem.
Growing up in Elizabeth, NJ, Nathaniel started using drugs when he was 10. “To this day, I really don’t know what got me so heavily involved with the drug scene - even so young - because I was always an athlete,” he ponders. Yet, drugs and alcohol controlled most of his life until now.
Troubles intensified about ten years ago when his successful construction company crashed. Soon after that, his neck was broken in a car accident. After a whole side of his body was rebuilt, he started running wild again, using drugs and traveling aimlessly on the East-Coast and Canada. Then his brother died. A week after, his good friend died. “I couldn’t handle it.” Heartbroken, he went to the funeral and found himself rejected by his family.
Last year, another good friend died. Devastated, he found himself at another funeral; this one was held at Calvary Tabernacle, in the same building where NYCR offices used to be located in Elizabeth. Nathaniel was drawn by the concern of Christians to go to the church’s benevolence ministry. On Wednesdays, the NYCR team works together with the church. We were able to connect him with the Victory Outreach rehab program last spring. God is using many hands to show grace to “one tired man.”
Written in 1998. Nathaniel passed away in 2000.