I work at the Central Bank as a security officer. At work they call me the “Preacher Man” because I like to share my faith, although I haven’t always been close to God.
I’m the third out of eight children. My grandmother, a Seventh-day Adventist, was the only Christian in the home. When I was a child, she took me to church. I didn’t realize it, but she was preparing me for something great.
When I grew up, I joined the army, and I met my future wife through her brother-in-law. I was 22, and she was 16. We married three years later and now have four beautiful children.
Over the years we have had family get-togethers at my mother’s house. I remember one time when all her children were there. I hadn’t seen my mother so happy in all her life. There was a lot of drinking going on, and I was the barbecue cook. When we left for home about 6:00 p.m., neither my wife nor I realized how intoxicated I was. Miraculously we made it home alive, in spite of traveling over a very narrow, winding, and mountainous road.
At 1:00 a.m. I awoke. Looking around, I realized that I was home. Everyone was in bed. I couldn’t remember leaving my mother’s house. I awakened my wife and asked her what had happened. She started crying and said, “I’ll never ride with you again! You’re a terrible driver—you almost killed us!” My son tried reassuring me: “Dad, everything was fine. The only problem was that you were going 85 to 95 mph, and before overtaking you didn’t give enough room.”
Quickly I put on my shoes and went outside to check the car. It was OK. Then I walked to some nearby bleachers at a basketball court and started crying. “What have I done?” I asked aloud. “I could have lost my family.”
Looking up, I wondered what to do. I knew about God and that He was able to save, but I hadn’t understood my need of Him until that moment. “What can I do?” I asked Him. “You spared my life for some reason.” I realized I needed to make a drastic change in my life.
Years earlier, before joining the army, I had lived with my uncle and helped him plant marijuana in the mountains. One day a man came to the door and invited us to his church. I thought I should try it, so I stopped planting marijuana.
The man, who was an elder at the Adventist church, took me under his wings. I stayed with him and his wife for a year. I tried reading the Bible, but didn’t understand it very well, so on Sabbath afternoons they would explain things and share many Scripture passages with me.
That night standing in the basketball bleachers, all the Bible verses the man had taught me came back to my mind: 1 John 1:9—“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us . . . “; Galatians 2:20—“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I . . .”; Romans 8:28—“All things work together for good to those who love God . . .;” and more.
I recognized that God was instructing me through His Word—He was giving me something to hold on to for support. I began praying every night, inviting Him into my life and asking Him for help. I learned that it is when we cry out for help that we realize He can help us. In addition to praying I started getting up early to spend time reading God’s Word.
My life took a U-turn. Reading the Bible, I learned so many things—it contains the mind of God and explains the state of man. Its doctrines are holy, prefects binding, and histories true. Read it to be wise, to be safe, and practice it to be holy.
I reconnected with the Adventist Church and was baptized. My wife also gave her life to Christ. I’m so happy and encouraged by the people whom I’ve met in the Adventist Church. It’s very important to know the joy of salvation so that we can share that joy with others. God loves and forgives us; we then return that love and forgiveness to others. It’s like someone sharing a piece of pie with you—if you don’t taste it, you don’t know how good it is.