Matt was ready to give up on life when he first met Navigator Jon Hans. With a past marked by neglect, abandonment, and abuse, Matt was stuck in a cycle of addiction and indulgence that had driven him away from people in his life, including his own family.
“I believe your mood reflects your decision making,” Matt recalls. “And my mind frame was pain. So I was seeking out pain, and you often attract what you are in this world.”
When Jon met Matt through a mutual friend, Matt was living out of his car. Though he sought freedom from addiction, there were deeper aspects of Matt’s life that remained unfulfilled, and he lacked a personal relationship with God.
Knowing that Matt needed the love and redeeming hope of Jesus to transform his life, Jon started to read the Bible with him over the phone. However, Matt was initially resistant. “To be honest, most of our conversations were him being angry at God and mad at Christians for the hurt he had experienced in his life,” Jon says. “He would say that God doesn’t exist, and he was really broken.”
Despite Matt’s initial lack of interest in God, Jon kept calling. He continued to build a relationship with Matt, even trying to help him find work and housing. After numerous spiritual conversations, Jon began to feel discouraged. Though Matt’s heart showed signs of softening, he wasn’t ready to surrender his life to Christ. Knowing that there wasn’t much else he could do, Jon entrusted Matt’s life to the Lord and continued to pray over him.
And then, after two years, something finally clicked.
“I remember that for years, Jon would call and reach out to me about God,” Matt says. “For a long time, I wasn’t trying to hear it. But Jon never stopped. He never gave up on me. And it changed my life.”
How God Transforms Lives
Just before Thanksgiving 2022, Matt called Jon and ended up joining Jon’s family for the holiday weekend. Before church that Sunday, Jon got breakfast with Matt.
“I told him, ‘Listen, man. I know you don’t know what to do,”’ Jon recalls. “‘My encouragement is to ask God for direction. But if you are going to do this, you can’t do it alone. You need God in your life. You need to invite him in and surrender your life.’ And then we prayed that the message at our church would speak to him.”
When they went to church later that day, something remarkable happened. The sermon seemed to be perfectly tailored to what Matt was going through, and it shifted something within him. During the altar call at the end of service, Matt prayed to receive Jesus, completely surrendering his life to Christ!
“I think God was trying to tell me that I have two options,” Matt says. “I knew I was either going to die, or I could change. And God opened the doorway for me.”
Matt was ready for God to transform his life, and Jon and a community of dedicated believers rallied around him in support as he learned a new way of life. They met daily for prayer and to study the Bible, encouraging Matt to attend disciplemaking and Navigators Workplace events.
Now, Matt is connected with the Navigators Detroit city team, and he’s joined a men’s ministry house where his housemates all participate in a weekly Bible study. Matt has secured a steady job and he actively engages in different Bible studies — including one with Jon.
“He’s working so hard,” Jon says. “He’s being faithful and obedient in so many different areas of his life, from sharing his faith with his brother who hurt him in the past to posting Bible verses on Facebook to encourage others.”
Offering the Power of Second Chances Through Disciplemaking
For Matt, Jon has not only been a constant support system over the past couple of years, but he has also exemplified what a godly man looks like — one who truly lives out his faith. By having a Life-to-life® relationship with Jon, Matt learned what it meant to be a lifelong disciple of Jesus.
“I would watch what Jon was doing, and he’s just so dedicated,” Matt says. “Every day he wakes up and he really lives it. I have had many people in my life I can’t trust. But I know I can count on Jon.”
While Matt still faces challenges that require the Holy Spirit’s guidance — like we all do — he is seeking to obey Christ and continue on the right path. His newfound faith has been an encouragement to Jon in his ministry, as well as a light to the community around him.
“God kept pointing me to 1 Corinthians 13, where it writes that love never fails,” Jon says. “It never gives up, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God’s love continuously pours out. So when we deal with resistance, we have to keep raising the standard — to love others as Jesus would.”
Matt’s story reminds us that everyone deserves a second chance and that transformation is possible with the love of God and the dedication of a compassionate community — no matter how long it takes.
“I’ve been in a constant war since I got into this world,” Matt shares. “But now, I finally have peace.”
Pray for peace in your life. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” John 14:27 (NIV).
Don’t let proximity stop you from inviting someone to read the Bible with you. If connecting in person isn’t an option, then invite them to read the Bible with you over the phone or through a video chat. God can still work powerfully!
Finding Hope in Hard Times
Have you ever been in an impossible situation and felt stuck? Did you long for hope and relief, unsure of where it would come from? In this free Bible study from the book of Exodus, join the Israelites as they journey out of Egypt and find themselves stuck with the Red Sea in front of them and their enemies behind them. Click the link below to download your free Bible study, Finding Hope in Hard Times. Grow in your relationship with God and deepen your trust in His love and provision.