When I was 27 years old, God changed my life. I was an alcoholic, took acid, smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, and was out on the streets. But then the Lord stepped in.
It was a Saturday night while I was in a bar drinking with a policeman and two other guys. The night was clear, and the moon was shining brightly. When I looked out the door of that bar, I saw a young man calling me from outside. I went out and asked what he wanted. He said he wanted to speak to me, but not there. I followed him with a bottle of rum in my hand, thinking that he wanted to drink with me.
When we reached the area near my father’s house, the young man and I sat down at the edge of the road. I opened the bottle and drank some rum, then handed it to him. The stranger said, “No,” set the bottle on the ground, and immediately asked, “What is your faith?”
“I don’t understand what you are asking,” I replied.
“In what do you believe?” he persisted.
Because my parents were Seventh-day Adventists, I replied, “I really believe that the [seventh-day] Sabbath is the Lord’s day.”
The young man immediately stood up and said, “That is my faith too. Let’s promise that we’re going to church on Sabbath.” I agreed, and he shook my hand. He walked backward about 10 yards (nine meters) and then vanished. I never saw him again.
The following Sabbath I went to church hoping to see the stranger again, but he never appeared. Nevertheless my life was changed. I never drank, smoked, or did drugs again, and that was almost 40 years ago. Now I believe that it was an angel who was transformed into a human being.
I tell everyone my angel story. Personally, I know it happened. I have spoken to many people who drink a lot as I once did. I tell them about how God changed my life, and tell them that if God could do this for me, He can also do it for them.
A few years after my transformation, I returned to the village where this happened and presented a series of evangelistic meetings. People knew me for what I was in the past, but during the two-week meetings, 12 souls gave their lives to Christ. It was such a blessing. They could see the change in my life.
I’m amazed at what the Lord has done with my life. Even though I didn’t have much of an education (because I had to stop going to school at age 12), the Lord has allowed me to work for Him. I’ve been able to translate a lot of religious literature from English into Spanish. By His grace I have formed 10 church groups; eight have become officially organized churches. God has given me the privilege of presenting numerous evangelistic meetings and Bible studies, resulting in more than 1,000 people coming to the foot of the cross and being baptized.
I know that the devil has not been pleased with my transformation. During one year I presented seven evangelistic series. At that time, I lost many family members in accidents. Over the course of 18 months I lost my father, sister, two brothers, and two nephews—all were killed in accidents.
A few people said to me, “Why don’t you stop doing these meetings? Your family members are dying!” But I told them, “No, I won’t stop, even if Satan continues doing this, I will continue to preach.” That helped me to become even stronger in my faith.
I’m not a pastor, although I serve as head elder in my church. For many years I managed a company that made wicker and rattan furniture, and now I work with an insurance company. Additionally I have a farm where we grow coconuts, avocadoes, mangoes, turnips, plums, breadfruit, oranges, and limes, and I have mahogany and cedar trees from which we harvest wood. I also have a wonderful wife and four grown children. The Lord has blessed me abundantly, and whatever He gives me I want to use it for His honor and glory.
When Christ comes, I have a lot of questions for my Jesus. Nevertheless, what I really want to know is—who was the angel that appeared to l was.
"It is the work of angels to come close to the tried, the suffering, the tempted. They labor untiringly in behalf of those for whom Christ died.”
-—Acts of the Apostles, p. 153.