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Wearing His Faith
Photo: MorgueFile
Nate Bozarth wears his faith in his sleeve. And on his back. And across his chest. With his collection of 10 T-shirts with Christian messages on them, 15-year-old Nate could wear a different T-shirt to school every day for two weeks. And most days he does wear one.

His favorite T-shirt reads, “Follow the Leader.” It’s got a block print of Jesus carrying the cross. This basic message of the importance of following Christ is what Nate hopes to relay to the 450 other students at the public school he attends in Kansas.

“Most often other kids don’t say anything about my shirts,” Nate says, “but I can tell they’re reading them.”

Students, even teachers, have commented about how happy Nate always is. “I tell them Jesus gives me joy for life,” says Nate.

Nate has worn Christian T-shirts for years, but last year when he switched from home schooling to public school, he became more conscious of how unique his “T-shirt ministry” is.

I didn’t see a whole lot of other kids wearing Christian T-shirts,” he observed, “and I realized that most of the time I witness through actions instead of words.”


Nate tends to befriend other students who don’t have a lot of friends already, which sets him apart from the norm. “Other kids see that I’m different,” he says. “The T-shirts open the door as to why I am different,” he stays. “The T-shirts open the door as to why I am different. I’ve actually had several people ask me about Jesus and why I follow Him.”

Nate’s bold actions concerned his Mom at first. “I was worried how he might be received at public school because he is more black-and-white on issues than his brother,” she says, “His older brother was entering public school at the same time, and he’s more easygoing, so I thought he’d have a smoother adjustment. But it turns out that Nate did.”

Nate’s earned straight-A’s, won parts in school plays, was asked to apply for the city’s youth congress, played piano in the jazz orchestra his first year, and then played for the chamber orchestra and, finally, the orchestra itself. Nate also placed in the district honor choir as well as taking part in many other clubs.

At the end of his first year in public school. Nate’s teachers honored him with the “Cyclone of the Year”  award at an awards ceremony. It’s an award that  recognizes one student for academic excellence, leadership, character, and citizenship.

Nate won that title again last year as well!

“My friend who was sitting next to me was telling me after each of the teacher’s comments that it was me,” Nate remembers. “Still, when my name was called, I was truly stunned that they had awarded it to me for the second year.”

The teacher who introduced Nate at the awards ceremony last year, T.J. Ulmer, described Nate as “someone who has an ability to understand his place in the world and is not afraid to stand for what he thinks is right. There is always a tendency to follow the crowd in school, but not with Nate. Because of that, others lookup to him.”

Nate received a plaque and an envelope that contained written comments from teachers who voted for him. “He is a delight!” Debra Hill wrote. “He is one of the few students who always goes out of his way to hold the door and ask about my day or my health or my weekend. His respect toward peers is equally impressive.”

Debra Hill recounted a story about how well Nate handled it when he was supposed to perform in the Festival of Choirs competition but was unable to sing that day due to asthma medications. “Nate told me, “I’ll be there for the choir. I’ll fake it and just have a really expressive face,” she wrote. “Well, when they were done singing, one of the judges came to the stage to work with our choir. He said, “I’m going to embarrass one young man by singling him out. He had such a great expression and smile on his face. I wish you had all done the same thing. This young man can be in any of my choirs anytime!’ He walked right up to Nate, and all I could think was, Please don’t make him sing. Nate just smiled! Always the team player!”

With all of this acclaim, Nate says one of his biggest struggles now as a Christian is pride. “I try to be humble about everything,” he says, and he’s quick to credit God for his accomplishments. “God’s grace has been upon me. He is great and magnificent in all things.”

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By Ronica Stromberg. Reprinted with permission from Insight Magazine, September 2, 2006. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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