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Monday, July 27, 2015

How God Drew Me To Himself

Jesus said in John 6:44: "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day."

I recall how at an early age God started to draw me to Himself.

My son recently visited El Salvador and took this picture
of the place our house used to be in Mariona.
I grew up in a one room house made of wood plank in El Salvador. I remember how you could actually look inside through the small gaps in the wood. It had dirt floor, a gas stove in one corner, the bunk bed I slept on in another corner and other beds. When it rained, and it did rain a lot, the rain not only made a loud sound as it hit the aluminum roof but it dripped all over the house. There was no bathroom, running water nor electricity for some time. I enjoyed the freedom I had to explore nature. My day was spent climbing trees, exploring canyons, herding animals, playing soccer, and going to the river. One time, my friends and I decided to go swimming to the river. It had swelled up after the rain and we got in. I didn't know how to swim and when I got in I started sinking and panicking. In my desperation I climbed on one of my friends shoulders and he led me out. It was close call. God was watching over me.

I remember this tree. On the right lived by best friend in
a mud constructed room
Another time, we went to the river and on our way home, I decided to take a different route home. I had no idea what I was doing but I was too proud to follow my friends. I got lost. When my mom got home from working all day at the meat market, she asked where I was and my friends told her what happened. She ran to find me. My recollection is very faint, but my mom told me she found me with a lady eating ice cream. She was gracious enough to keep me safe. I could have been taken by a stranger but God was with me.

Even at this age I was haunted by life after death. I recall waking up several times after dreaming of falling into an endless pit and not knowing what would happen to me. What happens when I die? What happens when my family dies? I had no answers. But God was pursuing me. On two occasions I remember hearing something about God. In one of them I heard preaching but I did not understand. On another occasion, I went to a church and watched a play on Noah's Ark. God continued to plant the seed of the Gospel in me.

When I was in 5th grade, my family moved from a rural area to the city of Mejicanos. We lived in the wood shop my uncle owned. I started attending school. In the middle of the school year, my family decided to leave El Salvador to the United States. It was a long journey. I recall walking passed the school that morning. We rode the bus passed Guatemala until we reached Mexico. There we spent a few months until we were able to come to the United States. It was mid 1981.

The first home we lived in Santa Ana.
When I lived here I started going to church
The next year or so we lived in Orange County, Los Angeles and then back to Orange County. When we came back to Orange County in 1983. It was during my 7th grade when God finally called me to himself. Through a series of circumstances we were invited to a new church in Santa Ana. My mother and a couple of my sisters attended a Sunday morning. There I was met by a boy I knew in school which my friends and I picked on. It was then that I understood that this boy was different. He never fought us back. I felt very bad. We became good friends and eventually best friends up until college. A man who was helping the church took interest in me and picked me up on Sundays to go to church. Our church often brought evangelists to our church for a series of nightly events. One of them was a Alberto Mottesi. He preached a series of nights and on one of those nights God open my heart to understand the Gospel. When He made the invitation I went forward to commit my life to Christ. As I walked out that night, I knew and felt a change in me. There was unspeakable joy. God had called me to Himself. My life found the eternity security I longed for. I knew what would happen to me after death. After 32 years of following Christ, my love for Him continues. It hasn't been easy. There have really tough times but he has proven to be my faithful friend, Savior, and Lord.
You can hear my testimony in Spanish at age 16 here.

The second house where I lived in Santa Ana

At the age of 14 I was baptized by pastor Ray Zuercher

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