Testimony of Conversion
I come from a home of very humble means where neither my father nor my mother was a believer. When I was 15 years old, my mother suffered a very strong emotional crisis. She asked the pastor of a nearby church if he could give her a Bible since she felt a profound emptiness in her heart. She began to read the Bible, but she didn’t understand much of what she read. She was afraid to go to the church—at that time in this country people who went to church were looked upon very poorly and even persecuted—so instead she asked if someone from the church would come and visit her. I didn’t agree with these visits, so every time the brother from the church came to our house, I would sit down with them to refute all of his points according to my materialistic perspective.
I remember on one occasion this man asked me if I had read a certain author. He knew that this author was one of my favorites, and I responded with a passionate, “Yes!” He then said, “Well, you know he once wrote that to criticize another heart, you have to know the substance that composes that heart. If you want to talk about and criticize the Bible, you have to know what it says.”
These words resonated very clearly with me. This man was right; I had to read the Bible and understand it to be able to criticize it accurately and expose its lies. So, the following day I began to read this Book, whose counsels and wisdom, in the end, led me to repentance at the feet of Christ. I remember on a particular night in August in 1986 that I knelt in a room and gave my heart to Christ. The moment is so distinguished in my mind that I believe it was the moment in which God by His grace regenerated my heart and adopted me as His child.
From that moment on, my perspective of everything in life changed: the things I valued, my interests, my motives. A strange and sweet peace filled my heart. 30 years later, I still believe that it was a very special day in my life.
After that day, I began to meet regularly in the Baptist church near my house. That same year I was baptized along with my sister, three months after my mother’s baptism. Immediately, I felt the desire to do something for the Lord, and I got involved in several ministries in the church, especially those that had to do with the preaching of the Word. After ten years of active service in the church, I was sent to a seminary to study for the ministry.
Call to Ministry
From the time God called me to Himself by His grace, I sensed a strong desire to serve Him. As the years passed, that desire matured and became more and more intense. Many brothers and sisters in the church encouraged and confirmed this desire by expressing their agreement regarding my calling to the pastoral ministry. After much prayer and meditation on God’s word, my wife and I decided that I would leave my career in medicine to go to seminary to prepare for pastoral ministry, and in 1996, I began my studies.
In 1999, I moved to a large city and, together with seven other believers, began a church. It was there that I was first called to be a pastor in 2003, and I continue to serve as the pastor in that same church today.