Arthur Redcloud has been a member of Gateway Church since 2004, and since that time he’s been on a life-changing journey with God. He grew up on a Navajo reservation in Arizona where his grandfather was a medicine man. He became a Christian in the early 2000s, and last year he played a significant role in the Academy Award–winning film The Revenant. While Gateway doesn’t recommend the film due to its “R” rating and graphic violence, it has an affecting story of survival in which Arthur Redcloud gives a strong performance.

How did you come to Gateway?
Years ago, I got saved through a ministry called Fellowship of the Sword. Around that time, Gateway was bringing in police officers from Southlake and Roanoke to work security at the church. They were called Gatekeepers and it was a good way to bring in police officers who weren’t believers. I worked in law enforcement and some of the officers I worked with told me about the church, and I went to serve as a Gatekeeper. After a few weeks I liked being at Gateway, but I wasn’t sure if I belonged. Then one day after church, Pastor Marcus Brecheen and his wife spoke some prophetic words over me. That’s when everything clicked and I felt like I was supposed to be here.

What caused you to have that initial hesitation?
Even back then, I heard Pastor Robert say, “We’re all about people.” I wondered, what kind of people? I know the doors are open but am I invited? I knew a lot of people might not accept me because of the color of my skin and my heritage. I felt very early on that I was accepted, but I didn’t feel like I was received until one weekend when Jimmy Evans preached. I was serving behind the scenes and Pastor Jimmy gave me his book and DVD. In my heritage, that’s what it means to be received. It was his way of saying, “I don’t just want to learn about you, I want you to learn about me.” When he did that, I felt like I truly belonged at Gateway.

How has your time at Gateway impacted your life?
You learn so much from your church and all the different pastors. I have been in a lot of Equip classes and it’s helped me learn how to interpret what the Bible says and what pastors mean when they say certain things. Certain words have different meanings [to people in my heritage]. When I became a believer, they said, “Accept God in your heart.” In my culture, that means only part-time. But when I heard Pastor Todd say, “Receive God in your heart,” that means full-time. One means, “I’ll go to Him when I need to,” and the other means, “I’ll go to Him for everything.”

What’s the most difficult thing about bringing your faith in Christ to the people who share your heritage?
It’s hard for them to understand the cross. They know about the Father and the Holy Spirit, but they don’t know about the Son. They think the Father should have saved the Son when He was on the cross. It’s difficult for them to grasp that He had to let the Son die.

How did you go from law enforcement to acting?
I left the police department after two years because I wanted to study crime scene investigation, so for the next two years I went to the University of North Texas full-time. When I ran out of money, I had to go look for a job. That’s how I found my current job hauling gas. I also started doing reenactments, modeling, and acting in documentaries as well as small, local independent films. They’re mostly about preserving the West, Tombstone, and cowboys and Indians. Then in 2014 I landed the role in The Revenant.

How many fuel truck drivers do you think have walked the red carpet at the Oscars before you?
None! (laughs)

How has your life changed since The Revenant came out?
Things are so different than they were two years ago. It has made me feel closer to God because I realize that getting the role was His complete, undeniable, mind-boggling favor. It was also an answer to prayer. I wasn’t sure God would hear me because in my culture growing up, you can talk to God but you don’t have conversations with Him. You don’t expect Him to talk back. That perception has definitely changed after this. My walk has been completely changed. My faith has been built up so much that I have complete trust in God.

What has this experience taught you?
Pastor Preston Morrison spoke at a Christmas event several years ago, and he asked his daughter what she wanted for Christmas. She said, “Get me whatever you want to get me.” She didn’t care because she knew it would be good. That’s my way of thinking now. I have complete trust in Him. I’ve learned not to put God inside a box.