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He didn’t see barriers, but opportunities

Tributes have poured in for a student at Spurgeon’s College who died in the early hours of Monday morning (31 March).

Nathan JohnNathan John, 21, was a first year theology student at the College, and hoped in time to become a Baptist minister. He was found in his bed after suffering a possible seizure. The emergency services were called immediately, but sadly pronounced Nathan dead on their arrival.

The Revd Dr Roger Standing, principal of Spurgeon’s College, said, ‘In his time with us at Spurgeon’s Nathan had become a valued and much loved member of our community, fully involved in a variety of ways from playing drums in chapel to preaching in local churches. 

‘His loss is sharply felt by both students and staff.’ Dr Standing requested prayer for all who have been affected by Nathan’s death, including family, friends and colleagues.

Prior to joining Spurgeon’s, Nathan had spent a year at Soul61, a Christian leadership course based at Soul Survivor Church in Watford. He blogged about his time there, explaining his calling to Christian leadership. In the blog he also revealed how he had been born with serious heart defects, had undergone two extensive open-heart operations, and lived with epilepsy and an aneurysm.

Despite this, he wrote, ‘I have been involved in so much, so far from St John Ambulance Cadets to volunteering at a local National Trust Property; from taking part in the local amateur dramatics group to helping to entertain large groups of children, and I have also been in paid employment with the YMCA.’

‘He embraced all that God had for him,’ said the Revd Mark Jennings who baptised Nathan six years ago at Pershore Baptist Church, where Nathan’s family are members.

‘He didn’t see barriers, but opportunities, and he seized them with both hands. As well as what’s been mentioned he also presented a weekly programme on the local hospital radio for some months, and was a regular when we took youth groups to Soul Survivor.’

Mark added, ‘He had an incredible passion for God, was very open to praying with people, and often had a prophetic word for them. 

‘He was really well liked, and judging by the feedback on his Facebook page, his impact on so many people across the generations was far and wide.’

In a report in the Worcester News, parents Jacqui and Steve said they ‘hadn’t realised the depth and breadth of the relationships he had and the influence he has had on people.’

‘All we can say is that we are immensely proud of him. He was where he wanted to be and it is a miracle that he made it there.

‘He has climbed many mountains physically and metaphorically. He is an inspiration to all those people who have trouble in their life but don’t let that define them.’

A thanksgiving service will be held on Monday, 14 April in Pershore Abbey, led by Mark and colleague the Revd Kerry Birch, minister of Carters Lane Baptist Church, Halesowen. 
Baptist Times, 04/04/2014
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