A couple weeks back, Sonny, Ruben and I were doing a photo shoot at Por Vida in Barrio Logan, CA. There, we were greeted by some truly humble people, The Good Merc and Illumi Nate. After talking to Illumi Nate, we could hear a true power in his voice, full of God’s spirit and we could truly tell that he was a strong man of faith. There was no way that I was going to leave that place without asking for his testimony which he was more than happy to share. What this man went through, the struggles he had, its incredible to see the way God transformed his life… With that being said, here’s Illumi Nate’s testimony….
What’s up world, it’s your brother Illumi-Nate out here from Richmond, CA in the San Francisco Bay area. How I met Jesus was this, when I was a kid, I use to go to First Baptist Church in Richmond. I use to play in a hoop league over there and I would go to the youth group so that’s where the seed was planted. I went through the sunshine summer day camp and all that stuff then I moved to San Pablo and my neighbors went to Valley Bible Church, so i’d go with them to youth group… more seeds were planted there.
But I had a real encounter with Jesus when I was 13 when I went to summer camp. I came back home and I remember crying for my cousins because they didn’t know Christ. And that moment, I knew that God was real but I was a product of my environment, didn’t have anyone to disciple me or walk the thing out so, I went back to a life of sin.
My father was the drummer for the band Tower Power, my mother was a waitress for many many moons. But unfortunately, my dad got hooked on heroine so I spent a lot of my life without my father who was coming in and out, and it wasn’t his fault, he loved me, so did my mom, but they both had really tough childhoods so they did the best they could… but that left me searching for love in the streets.
So I was gang banging at the age of 12 years old, I was out there in the streets selling dope till I was about 13, 14 years old selling weed, wasn’t selling dope till I was a little bit older, but I was looking for love in all the wrong places…
Fast forward, I was 18, they found my dad dead, overdosed on heroin in room 111 at the Valeo Inn and that broke my heart. I was super lost, I couldn’t find fulfillment in alcohol anymore, weed wasn’t doing it, women weren’t doing it, material things and money weren’t doing it… so my aunt and cousin were going to victory outreach in Richmond and I went to church with them… and I gave my life to Christ. I was on fire for the Lord for about 9 months, but there were some things in my heart that I didn’t fully surrender… so I backslid for 9 years. Within those 9 years I didn’t everything short but die.
Shoot outs were a normal thing, I got stabbed twice, almost died, got further deep into gangster rap. I was known as Nasty Nate, did a bunch of underground songs, did some stuff with some bigger people but that doesn’t really matter, Fabolous, The Game, Snoop Dogg, Baby Bash, all of them… I was on songs with those guys. But regardless, no matter how much money I had, no matter how many Mercedes I bought, no matter how many BMW’s I got, no matter how many Lexus’ I had, no matter how much jewelry I had, no matter how much money I had… I still had a hole in my heart and I had no peace.
So August 19th 2009, I found myself in my prostitute’s living room, I had no morals, I even began pimping. So i’m in her living room, I wake up, I go wash my face that morning, and I look in the mirror… I’m tatted allover my neck, my chest, they’re all over.. and I remember looking in that mirror… and I didn’t recognize myself. I wash my face and I’m like “Man God… who am I... and what have I become?” I felt like my life was in a downward spiral. Everything that I tried to do to get ahead always knocked me four steps back. I know that now its because God loved me too much to let me succeed with out Him.
But after I looked in that mirror, I went to check my Myspace of all things and there was a message on there from some girl I met at a club. Didn’t know who she was but she said she met me a couple years prior. I looked at her Myspace page and there was a YouTube video there. So I click play on that YouTube video and it ends up being a skit by a ministry named Life House, and the name of that skit is called “Everything.”
And as I watched that skit about the Lord, my heart literally broke and I began weeping because I felt the love of God for the first time in years. And I knew that at that very moment that I had a decision to make… It was life or it was death… I could either say Yes! to Jesus and the opportunity that he was presenting to me right then at that very moment or, I could go further into a life of sin… So that day what I did, I raised my hands and I said “God, I can’t do this no more without you!,” And at that very moment, I literally felt the Holy Spirit invade that living room. I was weeping, balling, crying… and it was like God, Himself came down and gave me a hug and held me.
I was weeping for two hours man! But God was healing my heart at that moment. No matter where you’re at, you could cry out to Jesus, you don’t gotta be inside of a church, you don’t gotta be inside of four walls… all you gotta do is call on Him and I promise you, that he’ll respond... and he’ll meet you right where you’re at, and you will feel a love that you have never felt your whole life… and that my friend, is when I went from existing to truly living… Jesus changed my life… i’m not ashamed of the gospel and I’m proud to be a Christian and Christ is my Savior… I’m Illumi Nate, God Bless you!
If this testimony touched you and you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please share it with everyone! Also, please comment and pray over our brother Illumi Nate that his faith grows stronger and stronger and he continues his walk in the righteous path God paved for us. God Bless you all!