“One man’s love for the Lord, who shared his testimony with me changed my life forever.”
Incarcerated: 20 years
Housed: Lancaster, CA
I grew up in a Christian family. Over time, I gradually moved away from the church. I felt I didn’t need it. I began to put myself first above God, my family and friends. I thought I could do it alone. Due to the bad choices I made and horrifying actions I committed, I ended up in the San Mateo County Jail in 2004. I started attending all religious services, mainly just to get out of my cell. Something amazing happened to me at one of these services and I almost stayed in bed. I had never attended a bilingual service before (Spanish / English). I didn’t understand much. The guest speaker was a short bald-headed, 60-year-old Mexican Christian named “Jame.” He shared his testimony in Spanish. I really wasn’t paying much attention. I was the only non-Spanish speaking person in the room. Eventually, he turned to me and in broken English described a crime committed against his family and him. It was nearly identical to the terrible crime I did, but he was on the receiving end of it. He talked about all the pain and hurt his family and he experienced. The ruined and changed lives. I began to cry quietly. Then, he continued to tell how he had forgiven the person. I could tell he meant it. He was staring at me the whole time, no one else. It touched me deeply. I started to sob uncontrollably. My life changed forever at that moment. I decided then and there I’d accept the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal savior and put him first in my life and I truly repented. Since that day, peace and comfort has filled the hole in my heart. I now have a reason to keep going, a reason to live and a reason to love. Since putting God first in my life, instead of my selfish self, everything has fallen into place. My spiritual walk with the Lord continues to grow daily. One man’s love for the Lord, who shared his testimony with me changed my life forever. I truly believe he was an angel sent from heaven. God works in mysterious ways! Any time and anywhere!
A Heartwarming Christmas Story…
My wife and I used to purchase one nice present for our children and one nice present would come from “Santa.” Every year our three children woke up early on Christmas. Usually, they just ripped the paper off the gifts to see what was inside. This one year our oldest daughter, April noticed our wrapping paper was the same as “Santa’s” wrapping paper. She put two and two together and figured out our secret. I took her aside and asked her not to tell our two younger kids. In exchange, next Christmas she could be my “elf” and help me fill the stockings. She agreed. The following year as we were hanging up the stockings I said, “I hope Santa and his elf put a lot of candy and small toys in them!” I looked at April and she had a huge smile and a twinkle in her eye. Merry Christmas and a happy new year to everyone!
The above picture was taken 11 years ago at a Half Moon Bay Christmas tree farm. Since then, April has graduated from the University of Oregon, Gina is a sophomore at San Diego State University and Joey is at Riordan High School in San Francisco. I’m enjoying all the groups and classes offered here at Lancaster. I’m learning new things and staying busy. A dog program started on June 1st. The ten dogs actually live in my building! We train the dogs that were scheduled to be euthanized. Now because of us, they are adopted. Their barking is music to my ears! My after-dinner dog strolls continue to be exciting and locating the constellations and various planets is fun!
Merry Christmas and a happy new year! God bless you all.