In October 1965, in the Sierra Madre Mountains, I was born into a very poor and humble home. My parents were not particularly God-fearing and we never attended the local Catholic Church, nor did we have a Bible in the house. I knew that there was a God, but I understood nothing about Him, the Bible, or what happens after death.
From the time I was sixteen until I was thirty I often wanted to take my own life, feeling desperate and without aim or direction. I was a fairly good living person until the age of 19 or 20, when drinking and drugs became a way of life for me. At this time I began to work in the United States and was thrown into jail for short periods on numerous occasions.
On December 31, 1990, I was celebrating the beginning of a New Year with my friends back in Durango. Late at night I went home to get more money. My wife pleaded with me not to go back out. Moments later, in the town square, an older man shot me twice after an argument. For three weeks I was unconscious, as one of the bullets had missed my heart by less than half an inch. Even this did not cause me concern about my soul or cause me to question where I would have been had God not graciously spared me.
In the fall of 1997, I was fired from a job I had on a chicken farm in Tepic, where we had been living since 1991. Having nothing at all to give my family, and no food in the house, I went looking for work. Late in the afternoon I saw two men clearing an empty lot, and asked them for work. Although there was none available, they gave me a John 3:16 Seed Sower text, an invitation to the meeting the following night, and some help for my family.
The next night, I took my wife and three children to the hall that the brethren were renting at the time. For about three months we continued to attend, oftentimes walking to meeting. When our little boy was ill, we stopped attending for a month. When gospel meetings started in the hall in April, a brother came to the house to invite us, and we decided to go. He had told me before that Christ wanted me to come to Him for salvation just as I was, which I could scarcely believe.
When David Alves was preaching one night on Revelation 21:8, I wondered who had told him about my drunken lifestyle. But it was the word “fearful,” or “coward,” that really struck home. I realized there was nothing to fear by entering the door and much to fear by staying outside in my sins, and so I accepted Christ as my Savior that very night. A week later, my wife, Teresa, was saved, and God has also graciously saved our two oldest children. Now I can sing with others, “What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought, since Jesus came into my heart.”