An Essay By Tony
My True Story
God bless you who are reading this testimony about my past life and when Jesus changed my life. Please, let me introduce myself. My name is Tony Espinoza. I am not proud of my past life, but I would like to share it, hoping that it will help someone.
In my teenage years, I was in and out of the 'Detention Centre' and the 'California Youth Authority.' I was rebellious, and started drinking beer at 9 years old. I had a belief in God, because I'd heard about Him and Jesus at an early age. As I got older, I started using some drugs, but mostly liquor and beer. Many times I drank a little too much, and it made me out of control and end up in fights with other men.
At the age of 22, a few weeks before I went to church, I was feeling unhappy. I was happily married and didn't know why I was feeling an emptiness. Little did I know about God's work in my heart, letting me know I needed him in my life. Anyway, when my friend invited me to church, at first I told him I didn't know if I wanted to go, but then I accepted - he's one of the homeboys 'from the same town' that I used to go out with to wild parties of drugs, liquor and be with different women every time.
When my friend, his dad, and I went to the Christian church (this was actually my first time going to church with other people attending) the pastors started telling their life stories (testimonies) of how they had everything...money, houses, their wives; but they also said they knew something was missing in their lives. They shared how God changed their lives and saved them through Jesus, and God had made their lives happy and peaceful.
At the second church service, when we got there we started prayer and we shook the hands of the person sitting the closest. We sang a song and then the minister starting preaching, that God can change and save anyone's life through His Son Jesus Christ, that Jesus died and rose from the dead to forgive our sins, and to give us a new life, that we could leave church a new person and saved. I felt the preacher was speaking directly at me, even though I knew he was preaching to us all in the church. The minister gave the invitation to come to the front for the altar call, and he would say the 'sinner's prayer' and that those who wanted to be saved would repeat the sinner's prayer along with him. He gave the alter call and started calling people and said "Come and give your life to Jesus. Come. He ' s waiting to change your life. Make this the most important decision in your life by faith in Jesus." Everyone had their heads bowed. I looked up and saw people going up to the altar to get saved. I bowed my head again.
Then, all of a sudden, I stood up to my feet, and as I was moving my way to the altar, I tapped my friend's dad on the knee and gestured him to come and give his life to Jesus, too. When I was at the altar, I started asking Lord Jesus and God to please forgive me for all of my sins, and to forgive me for not seeking Him sooner. I asked Him to please change my life.
I don't know what happened but all I could do was weep and weep. I've never wept that much before; the tears just flowed and wouldn't stop. I heard the pastor tell the church people to wait a few minutes until I was done praying. I didn't realize I had been at the altar as long as I had, because when I got there, there were quite a few people already there. When I got up and went back to my seat, I felt a beautiful peace I had never felt before. I felt so light, like a heavy weight had been lifted off of me! I felt so clean (this was different). I felt like a real light had been turned on inside my heart, so bright and warm all over my body and more so inside my whole chest area.
From that day on, my whole life changed - I got 'born again'...saved!! Praise the Lord! Jesus took all my bad habits away the day I got saved. I am so grateful Jesus saved and changed my life. That is why I live for Him. After I got saved, the old friends and homeboys came to my house one at a time and tried to invite me to go out and party. I had no desire for that. I refused them all, and told them I had become a Christian and couldn't go. Some respected my decision for Jesus and some didn't. Those that didn't said I wouldn't last, that I would be back with them. I assured them I wouldn't and that I would be praying for them. I wasn't worried about losing friends because I knew God would bless me with new friends.
Having Jesus is the most beautiful life experience that can ever happen to those that accept him as their Lord and Saviour. I encourage you to give the Lord Jesus a chance in your life. Sincerely surrender your heart and life to Him and don't allow anything to stop you from serving Jesus. Put Jesus first in your everyday life and read your Bible and go to church for spiritual Christian growth.
Ever since God changed my life and saved me, I've had the opportunity to introduce quite a few men to Jesus, by encouraging them to receive Jesus.
Since I've been in prison, God has worked day by day, moulding and shaping my life. My newsletters and pamphlets, that I freely give to both prisoners and people in society, have been one of the ministries God has called me to fulfill. God has been a wonderful blessing to me. He has given me peace in my heart and His love and joy strengthen me.
The Bible says that Jesus is the Word of Life; He was crucified, buried, and rose from the dead to give you and I the gift of eternal life. If you sincerely pray this prayer, you will be saved : "Lord Jesus, please change my life and please forgive me of my sins. Lord, please enter my heart and save me now. Lord Jesus, thank you for forgiving my sins and for saving me. Lord, from this day forward I will live for you.
Thank you, my Heavenly Father God, for saving me through your Son, Jesus. AMEN!!!" May God richly bless you
Tony Espinoza, California