David’s family was plagued by drugs, alcoholism, poverty, violence and abuse when he was a kid. He remembers the lights and water being cut off and the shabby clothes he used to wear. Growing up in that lifestyle, David was influenced by music and culture. He grew into a teenager who was doing drugs, was an alcoholic, and was sexually promiscuous.
David also started robbing people – strong arm and home burglary. He would even steal while people were sleeping in their beds. At 17, he got caught breaking into house. He got a burglary charge and messed up his probation landing him in prison for 3 yrs.
In prison, David started to want to go to church and tried it - didn’t like it - and did all 3 yrs because he was constantly fighting with other inmates. In prison, he got exposed to the satanic bible, muslim ideology, anti government groups, and secret society stuff etc.. It turned him away from anything to do with God at all. He believed the Bible was used as a means to control the masses and that it was not real. David became agnostic.
When he got out of prison in 2007 he met his future wife 3 days later. He began going to clubs and doing cocaine. He got right back into his old addictions.
David was moving without purpose. His future wife grew up in church and started talking about Jesus. At this time, David was trying to convince her Jesus wasn’t real. She never budged on her faith though. David thought she was close minded by not considering that God might not be real. His future wife stayed strong though. He thought she was a hypocrite because she was making all the same lifestyle choices he was while she continued to believe in God and the Bible.
It was not long after that, that she ended up going to jail for something she did before they met. She was told she couldn’t have children, but became pregnant with David’s child. The day she found out she was pregnant, David had to drop her off at prison.
This really messed David up. He was confused and down on himself with no money or anything of value to offer a young child.
Driving back from the prison where he had dropped his future bride off, he got off the highway and pulled up to an HEB in Bellmead, Texas to buy a baby towel. There was a Catholic Church next to the HEB and the door was open. That day, in the middle of an empty church, David sat down and cried and cried out to a God he didn’t believe in. He asked God what to do and told Him he needed help.
The next day his brother Joe called David and invited him to church. David went and listened to the sermon. He went up to the pastor after the service and was real with him. He told him that he didn’t see what God could do in his life and laid out his lifestyle expecting the pastor would say he was to far gone to be saved. To David’s shock and delight, the pastor responded that God could absolutely do miracles in his life and asked David if he planned on continuing all his unhealthy habits. He told David to test God, to get real with God. He told David that if he did that then God would get real with him.
David immediately began changing his lifestyle and got baptized that night. He made a commitment to be real with God and it felt right. When he picked up his future wife at work release/jail he took her to his dads house and said that he wanted to talk to her about something. He told her he gave his life to God - she was shocked. David then said that he can’t have sex till they get married and that if she didn’t want to get married that he’d be there for her too as a friend who would make sure she and the baby were supported/taken care of. She said yes, however, and two weeks later they were married. It was all ministry from that point in David’s life although he continued to struggle.
Falling away from church with work and no structured connection plan to a local church, he was living two septerate lives - a church life and another life outside of church.
As a music artist, in August 2007, David did an all positive album. He made copies and started walking around Waco passing them out and talking to people. He could feel the holy spirit working within him. David walked into Care-Net that day and someone gave him a business card of youth pastor. After connecting with the youth pastor, the pastor told him about Pastor G.
Looking back on meeting Pastor G, David remembers that Pastor G from the start wasn’t interested in what you could offered, but was interested in what you could become. Pastor G and David became friends and G helped him merge his church life with his “other life.”
In fact, David had a part in helping plant Life Church and through the years the church has helped him transition from a boundary-less individual to a healthy man of God that’s committed to Jesus, his wife, his family, and the local church.
David reflects and states that he is more balanced now than ever before. David stresses the point that you have to apply yourself. He has followed the discipleship programs at Life Church and has applied himself in one job. Because of this, God has blessed him greatly.
God has called and prepared David into someone who is impacting the community through purpose driven business.
What David said if he could say only one thing about Christ:
"Christ’s sacrifice for someone like me is unbelievable. Without Christ I couldn’t have the audacity to believe that I was worth anything. Without Christ, and what he represents, I could not dream up that with my past history I could be used to bring hope to anybody.
Before Christ I could hurt people and not care. I was a dark person, but Christ has cleaned me and given me a path back to his love."
Ignacio Guerrero Jr. - Hope Through Muzic Artist/Hope Through Threads Logistics
Ignacio Guerrero Jr., or “June” as he’s known to most was a street hustler and drug dealer making good money, and staying high all the time. He didn’t care about anybody but himself, was disrespectful to his parents and authority, and was abusive to his girlfriend. He often failed to pay the rent on the houses he and his kids/girlfriend were living in because he didn't want to give any money to anyone but for the benefit of himself. This left them homeless and living in motels.
He was too busy thinking about money, getting cars/jewelry, and partying in clubs to think of the effects he was having on others beside himself. June’s life took a turn when he contracted a Mersa staff infection in 2009 as a result of his lifestyle. Now wheelchair bound, June continued his drug operation from a hospital bed.
June made an incredible recovery and got a second chance at life. After getting home from the hospital one day, while looking at rap music videos online, he ran into Pastor G’s Christian rap music videos from Mission Waco and Life Church Waco. When reflecting on the Christian rap videos June thought, “these dudes look fake, who are they?”
At first he wanted to rob Pastor G. June’s mom lived across the street from Pastor G and he always saw cars with big rims at G's house. He thought Pastor G was “fake” because he thought he was a drug dealing pastor. If he didn’t rob him he thought he might hit him up for some drugs. Little did he realize that Pastor G was far removed from that life.
A little while later June was sitting in his house smoking on a blunt when he got the worst anxiety of his life. He doesn’t know to this day if the drugs were spiked or not, but it did something to him. He decided he was done with the street life and putting his family through pain and suffering again and again.
It was at his mom’s house a short time later in 2012 he saw Pastor G in the street. He rolled up on Pastor G with cars lined up behind him and they prayed right there while angry drivers sat there. At that moment June felt like his body was see through. In Junes’s words “everything was taken away ten minutes after we prayed.”
June never looked back and went to Life Church that Saturday. June still struggled as all Christians/people do, and would call his buddy Ace when he was having problems with his girl. Pastor G was always there for June too. In fact, when hearing a man’s voice at 11pm at night outside his door one-day, he almost shot Pastor G thinking it was someone from his past who was coming after him (G was coming to check on him). At times, June didn’t want to go to Life Church anymore. He recalls having to swallow his pride and let God work (sometimes he doesn't agree with everyone at church, and has to trust God).
What June loves about Life Church is that they are with him despite his struggles. In his past, when June had attended a church and needed them the most, they weren’t there for him. June says that he can call Pastor G whenever. In the past, June butted heads with Pastor G but G continued to talk to June, telling him that he was “talking to his old self.”
When asking June one thing he wants people to know about Jesus he responded by stating the following:
"He is for real for real – As soon as I gave my life to God, we went completely broke. It was the hardest decision I ever made in life. It’s the hardest and best decision you’ll ever make. I’m blessed to be where I’m at because of who God is and because of His love and mercy. I give my life to God every day despite my struggles. I love God no matter what. I remember sitting in jail with a 200k bond singing “my God is greater.”
Fully giving your life to God means letting go of all your past. You’re going to struggle more with God, I still struggle, you have to really want it and you have to stop doing stuff. You have to want the relationship enough to give all your unhealthy lifestyle choices up. You have to be willing to go broke and risk everything to say yes to God if that’s what it takes. However, by saying yes to God, he’s brought me out of it and will take me somewhere."
Currently, June has a house that's all payed for. Most importantly, he and his family are in good health. June, along with his whole family, are baptized through Life Church. June loves God and life and is thankful for everything.
Angelo Fajardo - Youth Pastor at Life Church Waco/Hope Through Everything Mentor
As a teenager Angelo was selling weed and trafficking weapons. As drug addict with a lot of illegal money in his pocket, he partied a lot overdosing 3 times in a 2 year span. Angelo was at his lowest of lows at the county jail when the last person he expected to come and see him, Pastor G, came to visit. Angelo felt so tired - Pastor G encouraged him.
Angelo would try and get a legal job while hustling, but it was hard for him to look for a job and he hadn’t learned the patience it takes to wait for applications to go through. He was locked up more than a dozen times from 15 to 20. However, Angelo knew change was possible from hearing Pastor G's testimony and started going to Life Church. He got minimum wage job and spent the next year and a half going to church while battling a bad alchohol and cocaine addiction.
When Angelo gave his life to Christ, every Saturday night after church he did cocaine while he consumed alchohol; the next morning he’d be crying. God was knocking on his heart and he couldn’t run from it. He describes how he used to do bad stuff with no conviction, but when God came into his life The Lord started pulling on his heart. Furthermore, his wife was going to leave him. God was clearly getting his attention in everything going on in his life. A year and a half later after starting to go to Life Church, he quite his coke and alchohol addiction cold turkey. He suffered anxiety attacks after quitting, but joyfully retired his addiction.
With 2 felonies and 4 misdemeanors pending Angelo still had a lot of hurdles to jump through, but none more taxing than the emotions he felt after quitting coke/alchohol. He had abused drugs and alcohol ever since his dad was locked up when he was 13 years old. His dad, being one of the biggest drug dealers in Waco, had a lot of money. Angelo grew up with horses, boats, cars, and big houses.
Despite all the financial privilege from the drug trade, Angelo was left empty without his dad. When Angelo kicked his addictions, all the feelings from the past hit him now that he was sober. He also had to cope with the fact that he had hurt a lot of people and sold guns to people who hurt others.
He remembers at 18 years old when all 4 of his pockets were filled with money while his heart was empty. Angelo describes giving his life to Christ like a dry cup that Christ filled up. Angelo was refreshed and free of the bondages of drugs/alchohol and of what people thought about him as well with Christ by his side.
Trying to live up to his dad’s “drug lord” status was important to him before he accepted Christ. Angelo was put in the middle of the drug game because of his dad and had a reputation to protect. God broke him of this pride. With God, Angelo was able to do difficult things like tell his uncle, who he was holding dope at his house for while his uncle was locked up, that he had to get the dope out of his house. This was so hard because in his past he wanted to be accepted by his uncle, but with Christ he was free from what people thought about him. (It’s cool to note that, ironically, that Angelo’s dad is now a prison pastor for Life Church.)
Sometimes Angelo doesn’t feel God, but thanks God for life groups at Life Church Waco that get him through those difficult times. Other times, Angelo doesn’t feel like living a changed life and emotions come back to him all the time. However, Angelo says that it’s not all about emotions with God, but it is all about a relationship with Him.
What fulfills Angelo is knowing that his wife and kids can have a husband and dad that’s never going to leave. Knowing that his family doesn’t have to go through what Angelo went through, and what his mom went through, is something he is very proud of.
Angelo says that if your not involved in the local church your just soaking and souring (it’s important to stay connected). He also shared how for him it’s something to look forward to and that by going to church you're receiving and getting the tools needed to start empowering others. He says that a major way God works is by allowing us to share what we receive with others; that’s fulfillment. The church also helps keep him accountable, which to him is a key to his success.
As a youth pastor now at Life Church Waco, the teen lives Angelo sees changing have personally impacted him. Their stories continue to encourage him.
One thing Angelo wanted to share about Jesus is that:
When you say yes to Him he chases after you even though your still in your mess ups.
Plug into the church because most people think they got to stop what they’re doing before they come to Christ. Angelo tells people how Jesus cares about them right where they are even when they are living an unhealthy lifestyle. Jesus will fix unhealthy habits later on, just come to Him where you’re at.
Trying God Out - “Angelo’s Idea:"
Meth, coke, zanex, alchohol, money, and girls - nothing filled Angelo up and he felt like he had no purpose. So he had an idea. He decided to try God out and was truly changed and fulfilled.
He would encourage other people to try God out too (it’s best high he’s ever gotten).
Trying God out means being faithful even when you don’t feel like being faithful – being faithful and obedient to loving God with your lifestyle despite your struggles and emotions (that come into play) – feelings come and they are our biggest enemy. Being emotionally healthy is key.
Stop thinking short-term and think of eternity – you only have one life. “When you try God out, I promise you, if you get plugged into church where discipleship exists, he will lead you and reveal to you who you are.”
The dope trafficking Uncle mentioned above tried God out in-between prison senteces. His uncle gave his life to Christ in Angelo’s car before serving another sentence. His uncle is now attending a year-long Bible college in prison.