Greetings, Brothers and Sisters in Christ! My name is Brian Navarro, and here is my story of learning to walk with God. I grew up in a small city in Fostoria, Ohio. I’m a single father of four beautiful children and a grandfather of two beautiful granddaughters. I’m retired military and currently work as a Public Safety Officer for a university. I have a passion for serving and protecting people. My only college experience was back in 2011 when I enrolled at Liberty University. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to study very long due to my deployment to Afghanistan.
The first church I can remember being a member of is Higher Ground Ministries, where I grew up. I also attended the school of ministry there in 2001. However, that was also cut short due to my deployment for the Sept. 11, 2001, tragedy. I always felt that the closer I got to God, the more Satan would try and attack me and pull me away from ministry.
Learning to Walk with God in My Current Life
Currently, I live an hour away from where I grew up. Being a Christian leader here has its challenges. There are a lot of people that question religion, God, and anything to do with the Bible. People are so caught up in their own lives that they barely have time for God. Life is so fast-paced, and people are always in a hurry to get to where they are going.
I thank God that I don’t have to worry about being a Christian or proclaiming the Gospel. In other parts of the world, it’s not like that. I have been to those parts of the world and seen how different it is. It makes me really appreciate life and what I have here in the USA. I humbly pray for all my brothers and sisters in Christ that have to hide their faith and relationship with God.
Learning to Walk with God in My Early Life
I grew up as a Christian and can remember my mom taking my siblings and me to church a lot. Most churches we attended were denominational. My grandmother has been a member of the Assembly of God Church as far back as I can remember. I also remember going to that church. I always enjoyed going to Sunday School, learning about God, singing songs, and reading about the stories from the Old Testament. My favorite was about Daniel in the lion’s den (Daniel 6:22). I also remember how hard it was to understand a lot of the Bible. I’ll never forget my mom telling us about God and how we should live our lives. One of my mom’s favorite sayings was, “You get what you say, so you better watch what you say.”
Learning to Walk with God from My Mom
My parents divorced when I was two, believe it or not; I still remember parts of it. I remember my dad going out to our city pool, and the police were called. He ended up fighting them and going to jail. I’m 44 now and can still remember it. Overall, I had a pretty normal childhood, even though we were lower income. My mom always made it work for us. We didn’t have much and didn’t go to many places that most families go. I can’t remember a single vacation that we went on as a family. However, we had our faith in God, and that was all we needed.
My mom is the reason I came to know the Lord. Our upbringing and her faith in God kept us all in the reach of God. I’ve had my struggles and my ins and outs of ministry over the years. However, God never gave up on me. He was always there when I needed Him.
Learning to Walk with God Through It All
There were times over the years as an adult that I felt like I was lost. Especially when the devil would attack me and pull me in every direction, but towards God, I can’t thank my family and friends enough for praying for me over the years. Prayer is powerful and works. It’s all in God’s timing, and that was something I had to learn. We have to learn to be patient and believe in God’s perfect timing.
My spiritual dream is to get as many of God’s people to the Kingdom of Heaven as possible. To pray, rebuke, and bind the devil in everything I do. I had a rough life as an adult and went through many trials and tribulations. I’ve had a lot of spiritual dreams, some amazing and some not. I truly felt God was showing me both sides of it so I could prepare myself for what was going to happen in the future. For some reason, I’ve had a lot of Spiritual Warfare in my life. It seems to be one of my strong points now. I love praying, stepping out in faith, and kicking the devil any chance I get. Satan is a liar and a deceiver.
Learning to Walk with God through Obstacles
I faced many obstacles in my walk with God during my almost 21 years in the army. As a single father to my oldest daughter during most of my deployments, it was one of the hardest things to leave her behind. She was three years old the first time I had to leave her. It tore me up inside, and it took a very long time to heal from that. I asked God why He would take me away from her.
However, something happened during that time that I didn’t expect. I grew closer to God as I entrusted my daughter and myself to His hands. I asked Him to lead me in whatever direction I was to go. One day, I read my Bible during my shift at a battle point in a two-person booth we sat in to watch our area. My battle buddy and I took turns watching our area. During this particular time, my battle buddy took a picture of me reading my Bible. To my surprise, when I got the film developed, an image of a fish appeared on my pant leg. I had no clue how it got there or what it meant. My mom said that it means I’m a fisher of men (Matt 4:19).
I have that picture as a remembrance of when God became real to me during that time and year. That year (2001), I gave my life to God and received baptism. It was also the first time I had to leave my daughter. My oldest brother Frank always talked to me about God. Frank and I would go fishing a lot together. He always spoke to me about God during those times. He is my mentor and part of the reason I came to God.
Learning to Walk with God at Christian Leaders Institute
I hope and pray that during my time here at the Christian Leaders Institute, I can grow with God every day. I want to learn as much about God as I possibly can. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17). I hope to preach the word of God to anyone that is lost or needs to hear. With the training at CLI, I hope to be able to answer questions that people ask me about God without hesitation or lack of knowledge. God guides and directs me in everything I do, not only in life but here at CLI.
CLI is a blessing to so many people around the world. I don’t know anyone else that offers the quality of ministry training that’s here at CLI. There are so many people, including myself, that can’t afford tens of thousands of dollars to attend a Christian college. I was searching the internet for quality ministry training at an affordable price and found both here at Christian Leaders Institute. Please pray for me during this time at CLI and on my walk with God. Thank you!