By Adrian Brizuela —
A drinker from the age of 12 in Havana, Cuba, he wouldn’t let a day go by without consuming alcohol and he always got drunk.
“No one had any hope for me that anything could change me,” Daniel told Engage Magazine, the global missions magazine of the Church of the Nazarene.
His was a life of violence and jail. In Cuba, the party life of the Caribbean melds with communist atheism and Santeria, the only state-encouraged religion in which devotees must wear white and drink booze.
One day, Daniel called a trusted drinking friend and invited him to share two bottles of rum.
“That was the beginning of God working in me,” he recalls.
Julio replied that he shouldn’t go to the party with him. “I don’t have that lifestyle anymore, something happened to me,” Julio told him. “Jesus transformed me.”
This surprised and scared Daniel. What happened to his trusted buddy? he wondered. It seemed completely out of character.
But Daniel was a decent guy and didn’t mock his old friend. “To my amazement, he didn’t make fun of me or reject it,” Julio recalls. “He accepted it pretty well. I remember him say, ‘Brother, you’re my friend anyway. You know what? One day I’ll go to church with you. Why not?’”
“I really didn’t understand,” Daniel recalls. “But what does an unsaved person say to people who become Christian? So I said, ‘Well, I’m happy for you.’”
Daniel went to AA but it didn’t seem to help. In the middle of one AA meeting, he called his friend, reminding him of his promise to go to church. He would do it the next day.
Julio got excited and told him he would pick him up for church the next morning.
Daniel walked into the Church of the Nazarene in the Mantilla neighborhood with his cap on backwards, tattoos showing, with a box of cigars in his hand.
The pastor started preaching from 2 Cor. 5:17: “If anyone is in Christ, he is new creation. The old things pass away. All is made new.”
This hit Daniel like a thunderbolt. Maybe there was something, or rather someone who could change him at last. At that moment he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord and was born again.
Pastor Vicente remembers: “On that day, through that message, God touched his heart.”
“The Spirit was speaking to me,” Daniel says. “I raised my hand to receive Jesus. The pastor came up close to me to pray for me, and I began to cry and cry like a child.”
After service, he went outside, pulled out a cigarette and addressed it: “You’re not going to rule my life anymore.”
“The Lord made a complete transformation in my life,” Daniel says.
At witnessing the drastic change in her son over the next few days, his mom was speechless. “What have you done to my son?” she asked the pastor when he visited.
The pastor laughed, invited her outside and presented the gospel. She wound up accepted the Lord also!
Daniel is no longer the neighborhood drunk. He is the neighborhood Christian who evangelizes earnestly. He is serving in his church as president of missions He’s studying in the seminary to become a pastor.
“I can see my life in no other way than serving the Lord,” Daniel says. “I went to the workshop of the only One who could work in me.”
If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here