Matthew Nakamura: Living a life with God

By Alise Jarvis

“One of my greatest aspirations is to have a solid relationship with God and just be daily invested in my faith … that’s something that would be really important for me.” In his quote, Matthew Nakamura sums up one of his major goals in life.  Matt desires to live his life with his attention placed on God. He hopes to then show people the validity of Christianity in the way they are best able to understand it.

Some people change their minds about their world views because of a “deep emotional experience,” he says, while others change their minds “because of extreme logic and scientific evidence.”

Matt hopes to be equipped with understanding and the ability to discern what individuals needs in each moment as he shared the gospel with them. Matt is currently attending Wheaton College where he is studying Communication and Philosophy. He does so with the goal of someday being a Christian apologist and debater, as well as a writer. He aspires to someday speak at events, debate different topics, and reach people through apologetics. In addition to this, he hopes to release a music album and to write and publish books. Specifically, he wants to compose a book of poetry as well as author an autobiography. 

When asked what motivates him to go after these things, he responded, “It’s kind of a mix of my own desire to be competent and to be good enough, and the purposes God has for me.”

In 2018, when Matthew was a Junior in high school, he decided that he wanted to be able to give an account for what he believes. This desire spurred on a quest to discover why he believes what he believes.  During this time, Matt began watching the apologist William Craig on youtube.  His desire for strong conviction behind his faith, coupled with time spent watching William Craig, caused a love of apologetics to arise in Matt. 

Being an apologist speaker requires one to be comfortable in front of others, something many are afraid to do. Matt however has had no shortage of practice. While growing up in China, Matt would travel to Tianjin to compete in Model UN. After fourteen years of serving as missionaries in China, however, his family had to make the hard decision to leave their home. To continue to grow his interests, Matt decided to take a debate class and through it, he began to compete. These activities have allowed him to practice using logic and evidence to support his position. These are skills that will aid him later on as he pursues his passions.  

Matt’s interest in apologetics wasn’t always at the forefront, however.  As a child, he dreamed of being an astronaut.  Seeing the world from space and being out in the great unknown holds an allure for many. But especially those who love to seek thrills. During his time in China, Matt and his friend Danny, would take a bus anywhere they wanted to go. “We could just take the bus and go maybe an hour away…have fun and just come back,” Danny explained. Venturing out on their own, they created their own adventures in whichever place they decided to disembark from the bus.

Matthew was born in California, but spent fourteen years of his life in China where his parents served as missionaries. After receiving word that the government would soon persecute them, however, Matt’s family left their home behind. Since then, Matt lived in a Hawaii for a few years before moving to Illinois to attend college.

Remembering back to his childhood in China, Matt recalls that his parents were pretty great.  They weren’t afraid to discipline him or give him boundaries as he grew up. For example, Matt can still remember that as he grew up, his parents would wash his mouth out with soap whenever he would say anything mean. Despite the discipline, he remembers always feeling loved by them. Although his parents both worked as teachers, they never allowed their jobs to prevent them from spending time with. Matt remembers his family watching many movies and playing board games throughout his childhood. 

In one such memory, he shared “I remember early memories where I’d just be playing with my stuffed animals and pretending they were alive…my dad would do the same, just making voices for them.”  

Time with his dad holds a special place in Matt’s heart.  As Matt grew older, his dad began buying video games he knew Matt would enjoy so they could play together.  One of Matthew’s favorite memories is when he watched Star Wars with his father.  Matt had been wanting to see this movie, but his father had not yet agreed to watch it with him. One day however, Matt’s father said yes.  But they didn’t just watch the movie.  It became an event.  Matt, his friend, and his father prepared homemade pizza before watching the film.  “We sat there and ate homemade pizza and carrots dipped in ranch dressing … I still remember what it tasted like, it was nice,” Matt recalls.

Throughout his life, Matt has been living his life for God. He has been seeking ways to serve him, yearning for a time to simply sit and gaze into the eyes of Jesus.  His passions to serve God through apologetics and speaking illustrate that he holds his faith to be an integral part of who he is and how he wishes to live his life.  He desires to make each moment of his life count. To live each day as if it were his last.  As he explains, “you never know like what the future looks like and you don’t want to live your life in a way that says, ‘eventually I’ll be good at glorifying God,’ or ‘eventually I’ll take my faith seriously.’” Looking forward, Matt plans to live each day with intentionality, seeking God and growing in his relationship with Him.