This is going to be a narrative in my own words of how I went from being a Pentecostal evangelist to an atheist. This time I plan to tell my whole story and the road that I traveled both in a literal and a spiritual sense to get to where I am now. I think this is going to take several posts so I will break this up into parts that at this time I don't know how many or how few those parts will be comprised of. Every day or sometimes every other day I will post a new part to this story so come back often. In this first post I will try to give you a little background as to where I am from and what sort of family values and upbringing I was exposed to. Then I will go into how I played my first active role in becoming a Christian and where that led me, so let's get started.
I am of Puerto Rican descent, both my parents are natives of the island of Puerto Rico but I was born here in Brooklyn, N.Y. If you are not familiar with the hispanic culture one thing that does stand out is that it is rich with religious beliefs of all sorts, and even has lots of superstitious beliefs combined. I did not meet my father till I was about age 18 so basically my mother brought me up for most of my childhood, earlier than that I was in foster care. One of the things my mother always instilled in me was that the Pentecostal church was the true church of God and that all the other churches failed on many fronts. Although my mother never was a practicing Christian and knew very little about the bible her beliefs were taught to her as they were to me. As I grew older every once in awhile a neighbor friend of my mother would take me to church with her and she was the one that actually exposed me to the Pentecostal belief system, previous to that while I was in foster care I was brought up a Catholic and was in Catholic school and even baptized Catholic as a child!
As a child I found Catholicism rather boring with all of its ceremonies and readings performed during mass, the one thing I hated most was all of that standing up then sitting down then standing up then kneeling down over and over again. I did not like calling the priest father nor did I enjoy confessing my personal sins to another mortal such as myself. It wasn't till about 1984 in ninth grade when I met a young student at school by the name of Michael, he used to troll the lunch room, the hallways, and all the areas of the school handing out bible tracts and preaching the gospel to anyone who would listen. It did not take much to get me to listen since I had already been told about God as a child. Even though my mom never went to church I got my share of "God bless you, thank God, Lord protect my child prayers to last me a lifetime. I had been preconditioned since an early age to be receptive to God and the bible; his so called divinely inspired word.
The very first day I met Michael I was in the cafeteria eating alone as I tended to do often, and he asked if he could sit with me and I said yes. When he sat down he hands me a bible tract and begins to tell me about the bible, Jesus and all the wonderful things that I have available to me if I simply accept him as Lord and savior of my life. As he spoke he quoted numerous passages from his bible which he actually let me read as he explained them to me. I was reluctant at first but then I gave in, he prayed for me right then and there and I accepted Jesus into my life. That same day I got to see my first example of glossolalia (speaking in tongues) when he approached some guys in the staircase on his way to class. I was headed in the same direction so I tagged along. The guys immediately began to mock him when he tried to offer them a bible tract and he suddenly went ballistic, he began speaking in tongues quite loudly and literally chased them all down the staircase and they ran like scalded dogs in fear. I must say that witnessing this event left me awe struck and inspired a desire in me to want to have this power/gift of God myself, this was my first inspiration to seek out the Lord with a deeper commitment than ever before.
Michael had told me that that was nothing that if we were chosen by God that some of us were chosen for greater things and that we would have many other spiritual gifts that would be necessary to carry out whatever plan or mission God had for us. That same week I met Michael at his church which ironically was about five blocks from my house, it was an amazing service and I got to see what I believed was God's power in full swing. I saw many speaking in tongues, some prophesied, others danced under the power of the Holy Spirit, and others were slain in the Spirit as I watched in awe. I saw the pastor ministering to those that lined up at the altar and with the slightest touch of his hand they would either go limp or stiff as a board and pass out! My prayer from that day forward was that God would give me all the gifts of the Spirit and use me greatly in his service. Michael was the biggest influence and support I had in my church to seek and enter into a deeper relationship with God through Christ.