||José Gonzalez and his wife Marisa
José went from one prison to the next until he was truly set
Argentinean José Gonzalez was not a stranger to crime, having been in
and out of juvenile detention centers and prisons since turning
José began his life of crime at the young age of ten, joining friends
in juvenile delinquency in an attempt to avoid his father.
“My father was an alcoholic,” José says simply. “As a
result of my father’s abusive behavior towards my brothers, but
especially my mother, I spent more time out of the house than I did inside,
which led to my smoking, drinking and getting involved in delinquency by the
age of ten.”
After going to prison at age 13, José’s life revolved around
drugs, alcohol and crime.
“I was out of control and by the time I was 19 I was serving a six year
prison sentence,” he admits.
While José was in prison, changes were happening to his family.
“In 2000 my father died,”
José recalls. “Then my mum decided she would accept Jesus Christ
as her Lord and Savior and she became a Christian.
“I was released from prison in 2002 and since my mother had already
experienced the forgiveness of her sins, she began to pray for me daily, that
I would come to Jesus as well,” José recalls.
“She would regularly leave me tracts about the love of God and how the
only way I could avoid a life spent in misery was to believe in the
sacrificial death of His son Jesus Christ and ask Him to forgive me. Mum also
left me a New Testament Bible and other Christian literature on my night stand
while I was out late at night.”
One night, José picked up the Bible his mother had left for him and
began reading Psalm 31.
“I remember thinking that verses 9 and 10 fitted me exactly. I felt the
same way; anguish, sorrow and pain,” José says.
“Be merciful to me, O LORD,” he read, “for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is
consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my
affliction, and my bones grow weak.”
For years José had believed his problems in life stemmed from his
alcoholic father and the neighborhood he grew up in, now he could see what the
real problem was.
“Through reading that Bible I understood the reason for all my problems
were the sins that alienated me from a holy God who could not allow any
disobedience in the light of His perfect law.”
Despite realizing the root cause of his troubles, José continued his
criminal activities until one day he found himself outside the church he had
attended as a child.
“I noticed that there was a meeting going on and, despite the fact that
I was carrying a gun, drugs in one pocket and drug money in the other pocket,
I decided to walk in and sit down,” José recalls.
A man from the church sat down next to José and began to explain how
Jesus Christ was able to make him acceptable to God.
“He said ‘Jesus loves you’, ‘Jesus came to save
sinners’, and ‘He gave His life to pay the penalty for your sin so
that you don’t have to be condemned,’” remembers
“My heart was filled with joy to hear those words and on my knees and
with a broken heart I asked Jesus to be my personal Savior.”
The same year that José was released from prison he was also set free
from his criminal lifestyle by the love and power of Jesus.
“I now know that it was my mother’s countless prayers for me that
helped make a difference. I stopped smoking, drinking and criminal activities,
choosing instead to attend rehab and live my life for Jesus.
“This personal and vibrant relationship with this amazing God that saved
me is what really has made the difference in my life.
“God’s grace has been abundant in my life and I will continue to
live for Him,” concludes José.