I grew up in The Mission District of San Francisco, California, where the sun shines even when it’s cloudy out. A district with so much love, art, culture, food and community. On the other hand a dark underbelly resides throughout the city consisting of drugs, alcohol, gang violence, prostitution and so much more, via the streets. Those negative aspects took a toll on me as a young man, taking away any feeling of security. I also experienced such an amazing love through friends, community and of course an amazing family.
When I turned 17 years old I knew that I wanted to get away from all the crazy experiences I had been through as a child, so I moved to Los Angeles, Ca. without any parental supervision. It was an opportunity for me to try new things and find out who I was (what the world says to do). I was 20 years old experimenting with hard drugs for the first time, not knowing that the drug I had just consumed, was about to consume me. This is when my life turned in a direction I could never have imagined, my life from that point took a downward spiral for over 16 long and hard years.
It was at around 5 AM when I woke up in jail gasping for breath. My first thought was I had taken the lives of 2 men in a fight. It took what seemed like the longest minute and a half in my life to remember what had just played out only a few hours earlier. I saw my freedom and life being taken away from me forever, because of my reckless and destructive behavior. I realized then, that I had been living without a purpose and only existing through life directionless. My course of action in life was just to accumulate as much as possible and numb my pain with excessive drug use. When I realized that I had not taken anyone’s life, I was so relieved I would have a second chance (more like a thousand chances) that I would try my hardest to live this life with a purpose. At that moment I decided to accept JESUS CHRIST as my SAVIOR. I decided from that point forward I was not going to live for myself any longer.
This verse speaks to me daily: (Matthew 16:25) “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for ME will find it.” I have truly found my life and the search is over. My “ANSWER, JESUS CHRIST!”
In 2011, I started LA MISSION POR VIDA, learning from my past, knowing it was my mission to bring HOPE to those in need. Having grown up in a large Latino and Irish family my heart wanted to start serving in the country where my Father is from, El Salvador. For this reason, I was very intrigued by the truce between the World’s Most Dangerous Gang’s in Central America, so our first project was “Agua Para La Paz” (In English “Water for Peace”) to bring clean drinking water, Bibles, other inspirational material and HOPE, into every jail throughout El Salvador along with many communities, orphanages, clinics and schools.What I have realized is that my past can help someone else’s future. –
“My mess is now my message”