I was at the airport one day with my whole family. We were heading to Aruba for a concert that they had invited me to sing as the lead guest star. The airport was busy as it always is right before a flight. We were sitting and waiting for the boarding to start when suddenly my phone began to ring.
I immediately thought that I had forgotten something at my house and my uncle was calling me in order to tell me about it and to try to bring it to me as fast as possible before the flight takes off. I picked up the phone and I would have NEVER expected to get a call from this person.
“Hey Shamiro, its Dennis! Its been a long time.” I was confused. I couldn’t realize at the moment which ‘Dennis’ I was speaking with since I knew a lot of ‘Dennis’s’, as we all do.
“Dennis? You mean my cousin ;Dennis’?” I asked. He said: “Yes! The one you went to high school with.” Then all of the memories came back to me and I remembered.
“Hey Dennis, what’s up?! Wow! It has been what, more than 5 years?”
“More or Less”, he said in a laughing tone.
“How have you been?” I asked enthusiastically for the answer.
“Yeah, a lot of things have happened since we last met. I just got out of prison a few weeks ago and I wanted to meet with you to tell you my story. I have been hearing about your ministry and how it has blessed people. I want you to know that God has saved me as well. I just got baptized three days ago. When can we meet?!”
I was both shocked and awe struck. I couldn’t get passed the word ‘prison’ yet. Why was he incarcerated? What did he do? But most importantly, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing about God saving him. The old Dennis that I remembered; The gangsta, rough-tough, dirty mouthed Dennis that I remember growing up never ushered a word about God. Not only did he get saved, but he was already baptized. What could have happened to him that he gave his life over to Jesus? I didn’t know the answer, but I was suddenly filled with an immense joy.
“Seriously?! That is amazing! Wow!” My voice was thrilling with excitement and joy for him. I wanted to know more, I wanted to go to him right there and then for him to tell me everything that had happened and ask him how God had reached out to him. However, in that moment the call came.
“Now boarding all passengers for flight 78 to Aruba. Please pass by gate 3” The lady at the counter announced.
“Hey Dennis, I am at the airport. I am going to Aruba for a couple of days for a concert, but as soon as I am back, I will call you. I cannot wait to hear your story!”
“Oh great, no problem. Call me back as soon as you return and we will set up a date. Hope the concert goes well!”
“Thanks a lot! I will definitely call you! Is this your number?”
“Yeah!” Dennis replied.
“Great! I have to go. God bless you and keep you on the path that He has brought you on!”
“Thanks brother! You too.”
I hung up the phone and starting grabbing the luggage to head towards the gate, but my mind was still on Dennis. I was so happy for him. I couldn’t wait to get back to hear his story.
The concert in Aruba went awesome! We worshipped God together and the brothers and sisters were encouraged also by the story of my oldest sister who had passed away. All throughout the trip, I still thought about Dennis. Finally, I would get to hear his story.
We landed in Curacao 4 days later and as soon as I got a signal, I dialed Dennis’s number.
“Hello” Dennis answered.
“Hey Dennis, its Shamiro, I am back on Curacao.”
“That’s great. How did the concert go?”
“It was awesome! A real blessing to me and everyone who came. We sold almost all of the Cd’s that we brought there. Can’t wait to head back one day. But I must say, my mind has been on you for the whole trip. I cannot wait to hear the rest of your story in detail. Can we meet tomorrow?
“Sure! Come over to my house and we will talk about it.”
“Great! See you there!”
“Alright! God bless”.
I was glad that we could meet so soon. I already knew that tomorrow would be a great day.
As I road up to where Dennis lived, he came outside to greet me. I came out of the car and he just embraced me and I felt the love of Jesus within him already.
“Great to see you again after all this time!” Dennis said.
“Likewise. I’m so glad to see you too. Can’t wait to hear your story. Btw, welcome to the family of God!” as I said that, we hugged each other again and we went to sit down outside on a veranda near his house.
Then he finally started telling me his story.
“After high school, I stopped going to school. I just didn’t feel like going there anymore. I did some odd jobs here and there. Until I got into the drug business. Man, money started rolling in like clock-work. I was buying cars, jewelry for my girlfriend and anything else that I wanted. Till one day, I bought these 4-wheel squats from a few guys. I got home one day very late. Parked the squat outside and suddenly two guys came up behind me. They had guns pointed at me. They said that they wanted all of my money. I noticed that it was the same guys that I had bought the squat car from. They wanted the necklace around my neck as well. I refused at first. I knew that if I go with them in the house and give them the money, they would just shoot me and run away. They pushed me towards the house with the gun pointing at my back. We started walking in the direction of the house. I had an idea. As soon as we get in the house and I show them were the money is, the moment that they are distracted, I would take the gun that I had in my pocket, threaten them and tell them to leave. I never shoot nobody and I wasn’t about to kill someone either. As we got into the house. I showed them were the money was. One of them turned immediately to shoot me. I panicked. I didn’t have time to threaten them anymore. I pulled the gun so fast and two shots were fired. I got one in my shoulder, but the other guy wasn’t so lucky. The other one started to come towards me and I shot him in the leg. Everything went black after that.
After a while the police came and I was in an ambulance. We started driving towards the hospital and while I was there, I heard that the guy that I shot first didn’t make it.
The prison bars were daunting at first. It took me a long time before I could get used to them. However, I did get a lot of time to think. I thought about that night over and over again. If things would have gone slightly different, I wouldn’t be alive today. I knew that I was given a second chance. I needed to make a change.
There was this minister that came to the prison every week to preach and give counsel. One day I heard him talking about what Jesus came to do. I almost thought I knew the story of Jesus and the cross, but I had never heard it like this before. I understood what Jesus came to do and the reason behind it all: it was love. But I couldn’t understand how Jesus could love somebody like me after all of the things that I did. The minister said that God is willing to forgive all our sins and erase the errors of my past if I only repent and accept Jesus into my heart. I knew immediately that this was the decision that I wanted to take; this is the reason why I was given a second chance. This was the change that I need to make. I accepted Christ into my heart.
From there on in, I started helping the minister out and talking with the other prisoners about Jesus. The guards noticed a change in me as well. We listened to your songs a lot in prison and they really helped all of us out a lot. I was also praying that God would intervene in my case since I was on trail for selling drugs, but the other case of the guy who died, was self-defense. My prayers were soon answered and due to good behavior and recommendation, I was released.
I started attending the church that the preacher went to and as soon as I got the possibility, I was baptized. And now, I’m married and we have a son on the way.”
My friend, Dennis’s story is a true example of God’s redeeming love for us. No matter what we did or who we were, God is capable and willing to forgive us, save us and change our lives for the better. That is the message of this song ‘No Soy Igual Que Ayer’ (I Am NOT The Same As Yesterday.) If you haven’t accepted Jesus into your heart yet, there is no better time than now. Simply ask God for forgiveness, repent of your sins and ask Jesus honestly to become your Lord and Savior. No fancy words or chants, a simple prayer. God promises to hear you and respond to you by saving you and filling your life with love and purpose. I have experienced this unconditional love and so can you.
Please watch the video below and share this story with all of your friends. Once the player is unlocked you can download the song ‘No Soy Igual Que Ayer’ as well.