When I was a small child my parents divorced. There were constant disputes about who would keep custody of me. It was my uncle who took me to his home and to a cabaret that he managed. My uncle was an alcoholic. Alcoholism runs in my family. It was at the cabaret that I first learned to like alcohol and drugs and became and alcoholic.
Weight lifting was my passion. As a teenager I was named to the national heavyweight team. I went to a special sports school but because of my addiction, the schools suspended me. Yet, because I was winning national championships, the school accepted me back.
One of the other athletes in the school was a Christian. He was the first person to share the Gospel with me. About a year after my first suspension, I was once again asked to leave because of my addiction. When I came home, an uncle began to talk to me about the Gospel and encouraged me to go to church.
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One day I went drinking with friends and entered a church with a bottle of rum. They were showing a film on the life of Christ. We all started laughing and joking about the message. At that precise moment a bottle of rum exploded as if by an act of God. We started arguing with the pastor. He asked us to leave church. When I got home, I started to break everything in sight—mirrors, chairs, anything that I could smash.
The next morning my mother showed me what I had done in my drunken stupor. She invited me to church in the evening. I felt ashamed and thought that this was a good time to get in good with God. That evening after the Gospel message my mother forced me to go to the front. The pastor came right to my chair and said, “Someone here needs to accept the Lord.” He touched my shoulder and said, “You are the one.” I could not resist him and walked to the front. He lifted his hands to pray and while he prayed for me I started to weep on my knees.
That night I went running home, confused by the experience. I tried to resist God’s touch on my life. I got myself drunk again several times. My uncle who managed the cabaret mocked me saying I was going to become a homosexual by going to church.
On a Saturday morning one of my cousins went to pick me up to go partying. I invented an excuse so that I did not have to go. I went into my room and a voice inside of me said, “Go to the party. Aren’t you a man?” But I felt a hand on my chest that said, “No my son, do not go.” There was a struggle inside of me until I started weeping and could not stop. My mother went to get her pastor and the two of them prayed for me for an hour. That day I yielded to God’s Spirit and I accepted the Lord as my Saviour.
From that day forward my life radically changed. God liberated me from the addictions and struggles that were destroying my life. I started to live for Him. The Lord uses me to bring many others to Christ, but frankly, I never keep count. As the Lord spoke to me through His Word I began to feel a love for the His work. I am thankful that Canadians helped send me for Seminary training through Partners International. Today my wife and I are serving the Lord. I am a pastor and missionary, and supervise dedicated and gifted people as they plant churches.
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National Workers like Diego play a crucial role in the operation of our Partner Ministries. Their passion to reach even the most remote villages is what enables our Partners to minister as effectively as they do, transforming communities across the globe.