When Diego nears the coast today, the smell of salt air takes him back more than 20 years to a time when he was 14 and striking out on his own to find work on the banana plantations.
When he arrived at his destination, the hardworking teen quickly landed a job. Just as quickly, he also landed new friends…in a local gang.
‘My mind was just too rebellious,’ Diego says. ‘Many people talked to me about believing in Jesus. I had been in jail in Guatemala in 1994 and even before.’
Finally his lifestyle led to a crisis. Diego became ill. ‘So I looked for some other ways to heal my life,’ Diego says. ‘I never found any. I suffered for a long time. Then I remembered about God. I looked for him to see if he really existed.’
Diego fasted and prayed for three days.
‘Wednesday, Thursday, Friday — I prayed for two hours a day,’ he says. ‘I talked to God and asked him to forgive me. I was in much vice. I was lost and I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t have any escape. So I said, ‘Lord, if you really exist, heal me, because I can’t take it anymore. Otherwise I will kill myself. I don’t want to suffer anymore.’
On the third day, God answered Diego who gave his life to Christ that day. ‘I automatically quit drinking,’ he says.
That was eight years ago.
As Diego transitioned from gang member to believer, he began attending Spanish language church services. But his heart language isn’t Spanish. It’s the Mayan language K’iche’. As his search to know more about Jesus continued, Diego met lead translator Felipe, and discovered that Scripture was being translated into his language.
Diego eagerly listened as the translators worked on passages. He leaned in closely as they discussed the meaning of each word, each thought, each promise. Diego was captivated by God’s word. Before long, he became part of the translation team.
This post originally appeared on our partner The Seed Company’s website.