The Night I was Lost – But Found
It started like any other Wednesday night. I went to the Road House bar for a few beers with Tommy and Johnny. Snorted a gram to get me started, and then left to go to Daugherty’s bar on New Dorp Lane. I had to pick up something there like I did every other Wednesday night. So I stayed about an hour, the usual croud was there, who I didn’t like anyway. The less time I hung out there the better off I was. Now this was August 20,1988 a year after my motorcycle accident that left me dead on Hlyan Blvd., still living the street life, snorting $200 to $300 in coke a night and drinking.
So I left Daugherty’s to go to the Swiss Chalet which was a bar on Nelson ave, I did this almost every other Wednesday night, so even if I was drunk the car could have went there on its own. Some how I made a wrong turn on to Clark ave and when I realized that I made a wrong turn I pulled into a parking lot to turn around. It was a church, in fact, it was the very church that my aunt Isabelle told me about some time after my accident. Funny how she told me to go, but she never went. I noticed that the lights were on and the doors were open, so I thought that I would go in and check it out.
So I went in and sat in the back and just started to check out all the people to see if there was anyone there that might know me, back to the wall so no one could come up from behind me, Thats how I thought, always looking for threats. Yes I was paranoid, but I was on coke, it does that to ya. So after about 10 minutes I started to listen, but I could not really make sense of what he was saying. He was talking, I saw his mouth moving, but it just wasn’t clear. Through all this I did hear a voice, a strong voice, I was not sure where it was coming from, saying, “go talk to that guy who was up front he has something he needs to tell you”. Could it be God talking to me?
Don’t get me wrong, I always believed in God. I even went to catholic school. But I never thought I was going to heaven. Who would I know there? No one I ever hung around with would be there.
So after the service I went up front and said to the guy who was speaking, “God said you had something to tell me,”. He was a little taken back not knowing what to say to that, but after a few minutes we started talking, and I told him my whole story and all the trouble I was in. Then he looked at me and said, “I want to help you.” I agreed I needed help, but could not understand how a preacher was going to help me. He invited me to a bar-B-Q on Saturday August 22, it was in New Jersey and I was going to meet them at the church and get a ride from a guy named John. So that Saturday I met john and he took me to the place, it was weird. The house belonged to nice man named Hector who went to that church. So, two nice looking girls named Nancy and Linda, and a guy Tim started talking to me about Jesus, not really understanding what I was hearing, but the idea of forgiveness was what got my attention, and the fact that Jesus loved me no matter what I did was what really got me excited, now I don’t know that I ever got excited about anything, except scoring coke. It seems as if everything that they were telling me was some how going right into my heart. I never felt that way before. I felt something was happening inside me, that some thing was changing. I wanted to be loved, and forgiven so why not give Jesus a shot. I asked Jesus to come into my life that minute, and He did, I was new. I had an ounce of coke on me and I asked them what I should do with it, they told me dump it in the sewer drain out front, so I did. Never to do coke again. It has been 27 years that I am clean and following Jesus. I went from $200 a day to $0! Thank you to all who played a part, Pastor Dan Mercaldo for obeying God and starting that great church, Gateway Cathedral. For Joe, John, Nancy, Tim, Linda, Marty & Bonnie, and all who discipled me into the Christ follower that i am today. Thank you Jesus for dieing for me.