Testimony of Conversion

Throughout my childhood, I lived in Catholicism, like almost all my family. Although my family claimed to be Catholic, we rarely went to church, and when we did it was only when there was a patron saint’s day.

Throughout this stage of my life, though I went to the Catholic church on some occasions, I never heard the gospel or of the need for forgiveness of my sins. I lived my life like everyone else–in sin, parties, idolatry, etc. I did not know the truth. Nor, at this stage of my life did I go to an evangelical church. I never heard who God is and how we have offended Him in the original sin of Adam where we also sinned and were now guilty before God.

I remember that when I was around 10 years old I heard that at my uncle Alnibar’s house (who is a pastor) a group of people would meet to study the Bible, but most of my family said they were out of their minds and I believed what they said about them. I did not go to an evangelical church or hear the gospel until the age of 19 when my uncle Alnibar invited me to go to the church where he pastored (Iglesia Bautista “Buenas Nuevas”). I accepted the invitation and went to listen.

The first time I went, it was something totally new for me. Listening to the praises, seeing how God was adored, and hearing the message of the Word of God were things that were totally new to me. I had never heard or seen that before.

After the first time I went to church, there began to be a desire in me to continue to attend the service and listen to the preaching of the Scriptures. As I began to attend church and listen to the Word of God every Sunday, God began to speak into my life. Every Sunday, the Word spoke to me of my sin, of my guilt, of who I was before God. I began to see that I was a vile sinner and unworthy of His presence. I saw that I did not deserve anything good and that the only thing I deserved is eternal punishment.

And one Sunday in particular, God, through the preaching, began to speak so clearly to my life that in my heart I felt the burden of my sin, which was very great. I saw myself as unworthy of God. His holiness and his justice made me tremble with fear of His punishment. Then the pastor began to pray and at that moment, I asked God’s forgiveness for my guilt and my sins. I cried out for His mercy and His grace on my life.

On other Sundays, I had seen how people raised their hands at the pastor’s invitation and now I wanted to do it. But the pastor did not make the invitation, and only in my heart I prayed to God, asking for forgiveness. I asked that God would change my life completely because I did not want to continue on the same path. At that time, I had a heavy load of sin and guilt on me and I understood that I could not do any work to obtain salvation. But it was then that I heard that only in repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ could I find forgiveness and eternal life.

On that occasion, as I left the temple, there was such a great peace in my heart that I had never had before. Everything was different. I no longer wanted to continue in the life that I had lived minutes before. Now I wanted to follow what the Bible said because I saw sin for what it really is–harmful. I remember that on Sundays I used to go to the sports field to play soccer with my friends, but now I was willing to give up soccer to go to church to learn from the Scriptures and I was willing to give up anything to be with the church praising God.

On one occasion, when only a few months had passed since I had come to know the gospel, my father wanted me to help him with a task on Sunday morning. I felt very sad because this meant I would not be able to go to church. My sadness was so great that my father noticed it and asked me, “Do you want to go to the church?” (He knew at that point that I had become a Christian). I said, “Yes.” And he said to me, “Go ahead.”. This brought me great joy and I went quickly and joyfully to praise God.

From the day that I repented, God changed my life. I have never been the same person. His work has totally changed me. I began doing what I had never done before: read the Bible, pray, attend church, etc. With all that was within me, I wanted to be close to God. Although I wasn’t perfect (and I’m not still), yet there was something different about me. God had changed me. And I praise him for that, for his great love for me. I didn’t deserve it; what I deserved was eternal punishment.

Call to the Ministry

When I came to Christ, by the grace of God, God put in my heart the desire to learn more about the teaching of the Bible. I had a deep desire to learn sound doctrine. I listened carefully to the pastor and what he taught. Little by little, my desire to know more about God grew and so did my desire that the church grow in knowing God more and for people to be saved.

Then I began attending a fellowship with other churches and there I heard about the Baptist Missionary Seminary of Theology. A pastor of another church spoke to me about studying in the seminary and I spoke with the pastor of the church where I congregated. My pastor was happy for me to study, since Pastor Angel Colmenares was the one who directed the seminary.

Going to seminary was a great blessing in my life. I was getting to know biblical doctrine and there was a burden in my heart that people in the church would also know those truths that God was showing me. I deeply longed to teach them the truth. To this day, that has not changed. I continue to have a deep burden for the church to know doctrinal truth.