‘Why Me?’ An Atheist and Drug Addict Finds God

“I used to believe that no man could ever convince me that there was a God,” Scott Kunichika says with a serious expression. “And no man did convince me. God himself convinced me.”

I sat down with Scott to get his story.

Scott was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, to a family that didn’t believe in anything. He says he was not just atheist—he was “anti-theist.” He was against the very idea of people believing in God.

“If someone told me they were a Christian, I would start to debate with them,” Scott says. “I had all this ammunition from these videos that I watched online. I was ready to attack them. Often they were young Christians. They wouldn’t know how to defend themselves. Some of them called me the Devil. Some of them would even start crying, and I liked it.”

This anti-God mindset fueled a lifestyle of rebellion that led to alcohol in his college years and, ultimately, a downward spiral that would lead him to crack cocaine and meth in his 30s and 40s.

“During that time I was married and had a business,” Scott says. “I owned a bar. Because of my drug use, I lost my marriage. I lost my bar. At one point I turned to my family for help. By admitting that I did drugs, they cut me off. They just didn’t want to talk to me. I shamed them.”

Scott ran to Las Vegas, Nevada, where things went from bad to worse. He found work with the local stagehands’ union. The work was steady but often placed him alongside others who were using drugs. Eventually the meth use got out of control. He lost his job and ended up living with his drug dealer. He even lost his car with his dog and all his belongings inside, after a deal went bad.

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“I was stealing every day to support my meth habit, to support the people I was staying with,” Scott says. “I was getting desperate. I was hopeless. I talked to one of my friends and told him that I needed to get some money so I could get a place and some drugs. He said we should go and steal a car, because he knows where there is a chop shop.”

Scott agreed, but they needed time to come up with a plan. Scott spent a night roaming the streets and picking up more drugs.

When morning came, Scott headed to his friend’s house, completely convinced that he would “do the job” later that day. In those days, Scott was always looking for something to steal. He would take anything that he could pawn to get money that supported his habit.

Scott cared very little that this was Sunday morning and along his path a local church was setting up at a nearby high school. He saw the signs for Grace Point Church and, although he still can’t explain why, he turned to go inside.

He has a hard time explaining what took place as he entered.

“No words will ever be able to really say how I felt or what really happened to me,” Scott says. “This feeling of love and that I belonged came over me. I was at home. I never felt anything like this. A burden just lifted off me. This was before anybody said anything to me. I had just walked in. This place is not holy. It’s just a high school, right?”

He sat down and began to weep. The people at Grace Point Church invited him to stay and, as the service ended, he gave his life to Christ.

But where do you go as a new creation in Christ, when you’ve lost everything and all you know is a life of drugs and crime? Scott went back to the streets.

“I didn’t want to do drugs anymore. I knew that,” he says. “I wanted to find out more about God. I started to talk with him. I didn’t know I was praying. I said something like, ‘God, can you please provide a place for me to stay, some food, some clothes? And I want to learn more about you.’”

Scott continued like this for three days without food or shelter.

“I’m on the streets but nothing is happening,” Scott says. “I’m looking on the ground for money. I don’t know how this works. I thought maybe the money would just appear.”

He again hit a point of desperation. This time Scott began to think that his whole conversion experience was all in his head. Maybe this was some kind of delusion. Again he cried out to the Lord. He told God that he had to eat and that he would go back to stealing unless something happened. Within moments something did happen. He looked across the street and saw a sign for the Grace Point Church office.

“I had walked up and down that street hundreds of times and never noticed their offices before,” Scott says. “It’s in a mini mall and I thought, This has got to be a sign. The place that I had gone inside and met God. Now, like 20 seconds after I speak to him, I see the Grace Point sign. I thought, OK, I’m gonna go in there.”

Despite his disheveled appearance, the church staff welcomed him and listened to his story. Lead Pastors Ty Neal and Nick Davi took him to a nearby McDonald’s and bought him some food. Scott agreed to go to the Las Vegas Rescue Mission.

This was truly the answer to Scott’s prayers. He was overwhelmed.

“The Mission not only provided me food, shelter and clothes, which was everything I asked God for, but they let me be totally immersed in God,” Scott says. “That’s the most important part for me.”

The Rescue Mission has chapel services every night, plus regular Bible studies and a staff of Christians who are willing to answer questions and share their stories. Scott was baptized by the Mission’s pastor after a few weeks.

Three months into the Mission’s recovery program, Scott was allowed to attend an outside church. Of course, Grace Point was his first choice. He now attends and serves regularly and has brought other men from the Mission with him.

“The church is the center of my life for sure,” he says with a smile. “They’ve been my biggest support. They brought me to the Mission. They gave me a $100 gift card so I could get clothes for a job. They want to give me a car when I graduate from the program. These are things that my own family is not willing to do for me. This is my new family.”

Scott is on track to complete the program in a few months and has landed a job as kitchen steward in one of Las Vegas’s top resorts. He is still in awe of what God has done.

“I was not seeking God. I was not calling out to him or even thinking about God or anything like that,” Scott says. “For God to do that for me is crazy. I was so against him. I defied him. I spoke out against him. I tried to convince others that he didn’t exist and now—I don’t get it. Somebody that was so against God. Why me?”

Jeff Chaves is a freelance writer and pastor. He has been married to Peggy for more than 32 years, and they have four children. He is on staff at Northpointe Community Church in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Jeff Chaves
Jeff Chaves

Jeff Chaves is pastor of CHRCH Online based in North Las Vegas, Nevada.