Freed from Legalism, Now Pastoring Hispanic Community

I am of Mexican descent born and raised in a Christian home in Los Angeles, California. I was taught to love the Word of God above everything else, but I knew nothing about God’s grace.

Up to my early 20s, I lived a legalistic life filled with fear and condemnation. I felt I was never able to measure up or perform to God’s standards and that drove me to the edge. I remember always being afraid of being left behind and burning in hell for my sins.

One day after struggling for 3 weeks straight to try to be the best person I possibly could in the eyes of God, I finally hit rock bottom. It was just too impossible. I was exhausted. I remember I was in the garage with my King James Bible in my hand, staring at it in disgust, angry with God.

I began to hyperventilate in rage, crying and screaming at God, saying, “I'm tired of having a secondhand knowledge of who You are. I don’t care what my pastor says about You or what Peter, John, and Mathew have to say about You. I WANT TO KNOW YOU PERSONALLY! I’m tired of this life!” I then laid on the garage floor for about an hour that night, sobbing until I couldn’t cry anymore.

About a week later, my dad came up to me and asked me for the fourth or fifth time to please check out Pastor Prince on YouTube. I never cared for pastors on television or the Web and that was why I didn’t want to listen to my dad. But I finally obeyed my dad that day and looked up Pastor Joseph Prince on YouTube.

The first video message to pop up was titled “Will the Real Gospel Please Stand Up?” In just a few seconds after playing the video, I met my Jesus! I began to tear up and cry with joy. I felt as if a new person came alive in me and my life changed forever from that day onwards.

Soon I volunteered as an armed guard at the church I was attending at the time. A few months after that I was invited by the pastor’s daughter to preach at a youth service. And on Thanksgiving Day the next year, the Lord put it in my heart to start a ministry for the youth group.

By the grace of God, the ministry grew to become a church, and I have been a grace-preaching pastor for 8 years now to the Hispanic community. I have also been employed at a freight company for 18 years, and I got married last August.

I thank the Lord for His grace and His endless supply of strength because without His loving hand over my life, I do not know how I can carry on. It’s been tough and almost impossible to get through the incredibly thick veil of legalism in the Hispanic community, but the gospel is finally breaking through.

Thank you, Pastor Joseph Prince, for the gospel truth that sets captives free. Our personal lives have been transformed and blessed. The lives of our immediate family have also been dramatically transformed and liberated for the glory of God.

Samuel Garcia
California, United States