I came to Christ at the age of 15 when my believing sister, Ivonne, provided the funds for me to go to Hume Lake Christian Camp with Sunrise Baptist Church’s youth ministry. At first I did not want to attend, because I did not know anyone and I had heard negative things about “Baptists” from the Roman Catholic Church. I had grown up in the Roman church where I had done my first communion/confession and was even an “altar boy.” I learned when to repeat a phrase and when to ring a bell, but I did not know God personally. I did not have any loyalty to the Roman church, but my mom made me go to it. I believed in God, but I could not tell you much more than that.
Though I was reluctant, I went to Hume, and by that Thursday I had come to know God as my perfect Father who knew everything about me and yet still provided the forgiveness of sins through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. I confessed my sins directly to God, asking for forgiveness, and committing my ways to Him. Having done my first confession in the Roman church with a priest, I knew the difference. This time I was confessing all my sin (in part and as a whole), instead of just telling a man what I thought would get me off the hook in order to stay below the radar. But on that Thursday night I cried to God, begging Him to forgive all my sins.
Having grown up without a father, I asked God to be my Father, to lead me, to teach me in the ways I should go. I didn’t know to call Him “Lord” then, but that is what I wanted Him to be–Lord of my life, Lord of me! Before that, I had no direction, and not only about what I was going to do as a career. I felt so lost before knowing Christ, and now I knew that my purpose was about following Him all the days of my life.
It was not too long before I was telling my Christian sister what happened to me at camp, and soon after that I was going to the local mall telling strangers that I had been saved. I had the best news, and I wanted to share it with everyone, even if they were strangers.
In the coming months, the Lord orchestrated events so that I was living with my believing sister and I began attending church with her every week. My youth pastor there, Carlo Walth, asked me if I wanted to meet with him on a regular basis for discipleship. I grew in my faith, coming to know my Savior and God, who used my youth pastor to teach me so much about Him. It was in these formative years that I came to love the church and desired to serve in the church, just like my mentor did. In the fall of 1997 I went to the Master’s College and in the fall of 2001 began Seminary where I began to understand God’s Word better, beginning a life-long journey of worshipping God in spirit and in truth.
Now my hopes and desires are being shaped by my heavenly Father, and my commitment is still the same: to submit to Him as Lord of my life. He continues to sanctify me for His service. My endeavors to lead His people and to shepherd them grow out of a desire to please Him in all things (Eph 5:10). I long to see Him and be in His presence. All that I have and all that I am in Christ is a gift of His grace and lovingkindness to me. I am saved “according to the kind intention of His will” (Eph 1:5). All these blessings are mine because of what Christ has accomplished by His life, death, and resurrection. In His sovereign wisdom and kindness, God has provided me with the gift of a beautiful bride, Angie, and children, for whom I have the pleasure of being their earthly father. My desire is to point my family to Christ and to exalt Christ before them, modeling the Savior’s love and a life of service to Him.