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Receiving A Reward From God | Moving To Pittsburgh

Let's rewind the tape about six years when my first viral video documenting my journey of leaving the homosexual lifestyle to follow Christ took the internet by storm. It started as a small step, a personal testimony, hoping to resonate with someone out there. Little did I know that it would catapult overnight, altering the trajectory of my life.

Back then, I was stationed in Miami, living with my parents and pursuing biblical literature in school. The success of the viral video set me on a clear path in online ministry. Despite the beachy lifestyle and perpetual summer, which didn't quite align with my preferences, I devoted myself to this mission, establishing platforms like my website, Instagram, and TikTok, with a primary focus on helping people and engaging in discipleship.

Miami, however, wasn't my ideal setting. The lack of seasons and a craving for change lingered in my heart. Yet, I made the most of it, immersing myself in online ministry, content creation, and personal time with the Lord. My joy stemmed from my work and spiritual pursuits, even though I felt somewhat isolated.

Now, let's fast forward to the prophetic whispers about California. Many predicted that I would head to the West Coast to reach LGBTQ individuals. The idea puzzled me, as California seemed like an extension of Miami, not where I envisioned myself. However, these promptings persisted, with people, often strangers, speaking into my life about California.

As I received donations to fund my ministry and saved money, the goal expanded beyond sustaining my current activities. I aspired to build a prayer house, which led to setting up one in Miami. Despite not gaining the traction I hoped for, I continued saving, considering future possibilities like purchasing a building or establishing a discipleship house.

Around January last year, the whisperings about California became more pronounced. Feeling a divine prompting, even though I wasn't sure about the 'why' or 'how,' I decided to visit for a month. The road trip to California, coupled with a speaking gig in Canada, provided an opportunity to test the waters. It wasn't perfect, but it wasn't terrible either. I returned to Miami, still uncertain but with a willingness to see what God had in store.

Amidst these decisions and moves, I was learning valuable life lessons – negotiating house offers, facing disappointments, and mastering the art of waiting on God's timing. Life in California wasn't just about a change in scenery; it was a test of obedience and trust.

During the uncertain season with California houses falling through, I found myself involved in helping another group build a prayer house in South Florida. My days were a mix of contributing to their project and waiting on God for a sign to move. I wasn't getting a clear directive, and Miami started feeling like a cage.

To be honest, it was a tough time. I was, at the very least, sad. I hesitate to use the term 'depressed,' but there were moments when I'd lose myself in sleep and content creation, almost as a way to cope. I realized that I needed to step out of my comfort zone, make friends, and reclaim the excitement life had lost.

Around July, I made a conscious effort to be more social. I started pushing myself to connect with people, make new friends, and do things that sparked joy. While I did make some friends, the dissatisfaction with my living situation lingered, and the approaching winter only intensified my feelings of isolation.

Living with my parents, though a blessing in many ways, began to weigh on me. At 27, I yearned for independence and my own space. Don't get me wrong, my parents were fantastic. They were instrumental in supporting my online ministry, but it was time for me to stand on my own.

Days turned into a routine - gym, content creation, Bible study, and repeat. I wasn't particularly thrilled with Miami, craving a change that aligned with my desire for mountains, seasons, and new adventures. The prospect of living in an apartment brought back memories of my time in New York, and it wasn't something I was eager to revisit.

In the midst of this internal struggle, California kept cropping up in my life. People would speak about it prophetically, pointing towards a future ministry there. I couldn't ignore the signs, but I had reservations. Why California? What did it have for me?

Around October, a dream brought clarity. My mom, in the dream, told me that I'd remain in a perpetual state of sadness unless I moved by faith. In the dream, I went to California, moving by faith. Dreams had been a consistent channel of communication with God for me, and this one felt like a push, a confirmation to go.

The process of relocation started. I engaged a realtor, visited mortgage lenders, and set my sights on Crestline, California - a small town nestled in the mountains. The journey wasn't smooth, though. Negotiations with sellers became a series of back-and-forths, and the prospect of paying exorbitant amounts for a small house started bothering me.

Here, I confronted a fundamental principle: when God is in something, there's a simultaneous challenge and peace. If it's purely a human effort, stress, anxieties, and worries take center stage. I felt like I was pushing too hard, trying to make my own way, and it wasn't resonating with God's peace.

The final offers were declined, leaving me in a state of confusion and disappointment. It was a blow to my spirits. I had geared up for a move, got excited about the prospect, and then it all fell through. I felt lost and depressed.

God's silence was deafening during this period, and I questioned the path ahead. Did He want me in California? Should I look elsewhere? The internal conflict persisted, leading to a decision to stay in Miami for another year.

Yet, as the days passed, the emotional slump deepened. I realized that I needed a change urgently. The depression, the sadness, it wasn't lifting. I couldn't go on like this. So, I explored other options. Asheville, North Carolina, South Carolina – places closer to the Appalachian mountains, which I love.

I was willing to try an apartment temporarily, but I had standards. It had to be a place where I could meet people, with amenities to foster a social environment. The towns I was considering, however, lacked these modern conveniences. My preferences led me to reconsider and pray earnestly.

In the midst of all this, a dream became a turning point. It nudged me to move by faith, and I took it as a sign to explore possibilities beyond Miami. The process wasn't easy, but there was a sense of peace when I contemplated other cities.

A decision to explore other locations, closer to nature and mountains, emerged as a potential solution.

A vision of moving to Pittsburgh arose, a city I had once passed through during a road trip. The appeal of its beauty, proximity to the Appalachian mountains, and a blend of city and country life captured my imagination. Visiting Pittsburgh, I discovered a city that seemed crafted for me. The downtown vibe, amenities, and familiarity of favorite restaurants and the gym sparked a sense of belonging. It felt like a place where I could not only live but thrive.

Prayers, reflections, and discussions with mentors ensued. The decision was made to apply for an apartment in Pittsburgh. To my surprise, doors opened, and the move became a reality.

The process unfolded in January, and the transition, though emotionally challenging, was marked by unexpected connections and moments of divine intervention.

As I settled into my new apartment, my birthday arrived, bringing an unexpected celebration orchestrated by a neighbor. The symbolic gesture of a birthday cake became a testament to God's love and attention to even the smallest details of my life.

Reflecting on the seemingly thwarted plan for California, a revelation in the shower brought clarity. I was reminded of my middle name, Abraham, and the biblical narrative of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son. The move to California was a test, a test of obedience and a willingness to sacrifice my desires. In passing the test, I found myself in a city that felt tailor-made for me – Pittsburgh.

The journey, marked by uncertainties, tests, and unexpected blessings, is a testament to God's guidance. The verse from Matthew 6:33 resonates deeply – "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Seeking God first, even in the face of confusion and disappointment, led me to a place of fulfillment.

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