Jose Garza

Jose GarzaYOU NEED TO HAVE A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

    Jose Garza has thirty years of work experience at the Federal Reserve in Dallas. Currently, Mr. Garza is employed with Texas A&M University-Commerce (TAMUC) with the Safety, Risk, and Transportation Department.

   Mr. Garza has a passion for teaching and directing youth and has served many congregations as a youth pastor. He was born into a Christian family, and his father was a pastor for the Assemblies of God. Jose came to the USA when he was fifteen years old and was married to his wife Maria at eighteen.

   Both Jose and Maria pastor the First Christian Church in Commerce, Texas, serving a Spanish congregation.

 

   Hi everybody. It’s a privilege and pleasure to tell you my story.  I was born in Mexico in the 1960’s and I'm fifty-nine years old. My wife, Maria, and I have been married for almost forty-one years. My son Elisha is thirty-nine and my daughter Monica thirty-six. She got married first and then my son. They live in the Dallas area and they are great kids, and they love the Lord. 

   I was born into a Christian family and realized there is a lot that I can share with you. Just because you were born into a Christian family and were taken to church every single day, doesn't make you a born-again Christian. Every individual has to make Jesus Christ his Lord and Savior.

    I did not realize that I wasn’t a Christian until I was older. I was born in Mexico and my grandfather was a pastor. I can always remember my grandfather taking us to church. He would go and tell every single family member about Jesus. I can remember him saying, "Hey, don't forget today we have service; we have missionaries coming from the United States. They're going to preach the gospel, and they’re going to bring the good news." We lived in small town in the State of Tamaulipas which is very close to the state of Texas. If you're familiar with Brownsville and McAllen, Texas, we were 187 miles south of the border in a small town called Padilla, Tamaulipas.

    My grandfather always tried to bring our family together, to teach us about the gospel of Jesus Christ. That was one of the most wonderful things that I can remember about my grandfather. That’s when I was called to the ministry. I told many of my family members that you can be saved by going to church and going to church every single day. That makes you a Christian.

   I would say, "Hey, I'm okay. I don't have to do anything, my parents are Christians, they attend church, and that’s it. But that's not really it.”

    I want to tell you something. When I was thinking about what Douglas wanted me to share with you, he told me, "Please don't preach. I want you to share what Christ has done in your life.” That's what I want to share with you tonight.

   When I left my small town in Mexico, my father was a pastor, and I have a brother who is also a pastor. I was young man and attending one of the best schools in Mexico, Escolas Técnicas de PE. This was a technical school that taught engineering. I wanted to be successful and learn English. When the missionaries came to our town, it was so great and the white girls were so beautiful. When I was six years old, I told my mom that I wanted to marry a white girl because they had blue or green eyes.

   When I went to school, one of the first things I did was to tell my counselor that I wanted to take English as many times as it was available. She told me, "Well, you can take English twice." Since I lived close to the border, I wanted to become an exchange student in the 1970’s.

    I came to the States when I was fourteen-years-old, as an exchange student. I stayed here for a whole year. I was supposed to take six or seven months, but I called the people who were in charge of student exchange and said that I wanted to stay the whole year. My mom and dad were upset and said, "You are going to start doing your own things in that country of the United States, which is horrible." I said, "Mom but that's the greatest country in the world. I read the newspaper and knew where I was going to go; it is going to be great for me."

    Mom didn't like idea that I wanted to stay in the U.S. and continue with my education. I graduated from high school. I didn't go to college because I fell in love with my wife to-be, but she wasn't white. I met Maria in high school, and we were married. Maria was attending Adamson High School. I was going to another high school in Dallas. We met during a tent revival. I used to call myself a Christian. I recalled the words of my mom, “As soon as you get used to that life in the United States of America, you're going to forget about God” that's what happened.

    I didn't know if I was a Christian because I never asked Christ to come into my life. All I knew was that I was a Christian because I went to church every day. In Mexico, you go to church almost every day. Yes, you go to church four, five times a week. Church for the youth, church for the women, church for the men, and then we would come together on Sunday. That's how it was, just like church in the Book of Acts.

    I used to tell my mom, "Well, I’m attending church and don't worry."

   Mom didn't want to send me my birth-certificate to marry my wife and get my marriage license, because I was here on a temporary visa for only two years. I had to go back, not to Mexico; but to the southern border of Texas and get all my papers in order to be able to live here and to go to work. Back then, the immigration reform was a little different. It wasn’t so problematic, and since I was going to school here; it was a plus for me. But at the same time, I was taking a different journey in my life. Yes, I knew a lot of Bible verses that my mom had taught me.   

   I used to go to concerts. I used to sing, and had my own band. There was a well-known group here in Texas and we called it “Groupe Nissi,” which means God is my flag. That’s another story. I knew a lot of worshipers, people that were serving God in a lot of different ways.  I did not realize there was something missing in my life. I was married and very successful in business; but my wife told me, "You need to get your residency, you need to get this and you need to get that."

   I got my residency when I was twenty-one, and then at twenty-three, I got my citizenship. I’ve been a citizen of this country since 1985, and now we have everything. I was very successful. I didn't go to college, but worked for the Federal Reserve for thirty years. I started as a security guard inside the Federal Reserve in Dallas. Then I became a supervisor of the Security Department and had one hundred-twenty people working for me. This was the grace of God.

   I never believed in changing jobs and only had two jobs in my career. When I was sharing this with Brother Douglas, what can I tell people? Then I remembered that there is something for me to tell you. You need to have a personal relationship with God. You have to ask God into your heart. That’s the one thing that was missing. I used to travel to Guatemala, Costa Rica, and a lot of different countries in Central America, singing and ministering. I was twenty-seven years old when I realized that I was missing God in my life.

    I met a lot of great musicians at different clubs. I wanted to develop my music and enjoy my fame on stage. I asked myself, “How does it feel to be on stage with a great band, singing, making people happy, and making all these drunken people dance?”

    I was very successful and our band went from Arizona to California. But then one evening, I still had a void in my heart. We had a great house with plenty money in the bank, and my wife was a very successful real estate agent and senior loan officer. We were making lots of money, but I was losing my family. My son was already trying to become something that he was not supposed to become. He was watching me doing the wrong things. Musicians were coming into our house and having parties. We would spend up to five thousand dollars on liquor at parties at our house. My friends would bring another three thousand dollars of liquor to our Christmas parties. We would come up with any reason to have a party.

    Then one afternoon, our manager told us we were going to get together and decide what we were going to do; because we were getting big. We were invited to the fiesta in San Antonio to play on stage. You had to be really good in order for them to invite you and perform for thousands of people.

   In our earlier days, Budweiser told us, "We want to sign you guys to tour with the AB Quintanilla band. Our group's name was Elemento.

    I was the oldest and everyone else was nineteen. I was losing my kids. My kids were looking at me and they wanted to go with me to the clubs when they were little. They were teenagers and I said no.

   They said, "Dad, you are the lead singer. You can bring me in there. There's no problem." I said, "No." They were relentless in asking every day. They would talk with me on Sunday mornings. "Dad, how come we do not go to church anymore?"

   "Oh, it's okay son. We don't have to go to church. God knows our heart. God knows my heart. It’s fine. Do not worry about it. I was raised in a Christian home, believe me, we are a Christians. Every single person in America is a Christian. Don't worry about it.”

   If you go outside and ask anybody, "Do you believe in God?" "Oh yes, I believe in God." You can ask people, “Are you a Christian?” “Oh, yes, but you’re not salt and light.”

   That afternoon, we got together with the band and our manager said, "We were going to sign with Budweiser, and tour with the AB Quintanilla Band. We would travel all over and make a lot of money, and could quit our jobs." I thought, "I don’t think I can take off, leave my wife and go all over the country.”  

   I realized that my wife and a lot of people were praying for me. I was trying to fill the void that I had inside of me. I was also a praise and worship Director at our church. The pastors didn’t hold me accountable, because I was a great singer. I knew how to put the group together. I knew how to teach people how to sing. So they had no problem and said, "Don’t worry, you can come in on Sunday after your shows, and you can still perform and do whatever you got to do. It’s alright, God doesn’t mind."

    But I knew there was something wrong. I knew that was not right. So, wait a minute, what if something happens to me in the middle of a show? I'm over there getting drunk and taking shots, and doing this and doing that, and then come here on Sunday and perform. I see a lot of us don't realize, or don’t have the experience of the Holy Spirit, or being born-again. We don't understand that side of Christianity. We think that everything is okay; just because we are saved by the grace of God, we can do whatever we want.

    I'm teaching something like that on Wednesday night, about grace, and finally said, "No, no, wait a minute. This isn’t right." There’s something wrong. I remember when I used to do praise and worship. I had great friends. I know many of you probably don’t know these people. We grew up together, because my father and my grandfather were ministers or pastors for the Assemblies of God. I knew something was wrong.   

   But you know what? God is great, and He’s still doing a lot of things in my life. I remember that night when we got together. I went into my bedroom and I started feeling really weird. I started crying. I started crying for no reason. My wife asked me, "What is wrong with you? Why are you crying? You told me one time that men don't cry. I have never seen you cry. Not even when your dad passed away you didn’t cry.”   

    I told her, "Well, I'm crying because I'm confused. I have some type of fear in my heart. I don't know what to do." She said, "Well, tell me."

   I told Maria, "I don't know what you've been doing every Sunday. I don't know what you've been doing every day. But I know you're doing something, maybe if you tell me, I can tell you what's wrong with me."

   She said, “You know how women are.”

   "No, you tell me first, and then I will tell you."

    I told her, "I don’t want to go to the meeting, because if I go, they are going to get upset. I’m going to tell them that I quit the band; and don’t want to continue singing for this group. I don’t know what I have been feeling. I need to tell them I’m quitting, but I’m afraid they are going to react and something is going to happen to me. The manager was very tough.” I knew that his reaction was going to be really bad. He was six foot five inches tall, and thought that when he gets upset, he's going to hit me.

   Maria said, “So you’re afraid he's going to hit you?”

   “No, I'm afraid that I don’t want to let band members down, and that's the reason.” 

     So that’s what I did. I went to the meeting and told everybody in our group that I’m quitting the band. I feel that there’s something in my life that’s missing. I felt empty and started crying and, “Listen I love the Lord. I don’t want to see my grandkids looking at their grandfather going in this direction. I’m destroying my family. I need to tell you that I'm no longer a member of this band, and I'm sorry.”

   Well, that night three other members of the band felt the same way. With tears in their eyes, they got up and said they quit too. That night everything changed in my life. I went to church the following Sunday, started praying and reading the Bible. God was now number one in my life. It was something beautiful. I would call all my friends and say, "Man, I'm a real Christian now. I believe in God. I'm a born-again Christian." That Sunday I went to church and I told the people, "Hey, I'm not going to do the Christian worship act anymore. I'm going to go to the altar and repent of my sins.”

   You should've seen the pastor’s face. Like, he didn't know but he knew. He knew what I was doing. But he never called it to my attention. Everything was okay with him.

   That morning I made Jesus my Lord and Savior.

   Three years later I was baptized in the Holy Spirit.  

   I called all my Christian friends, “Now I can really share the gospel with you."  

   I want to tell you, that you can be raised in a Christian home; and never have a personal relationship with God. Just open your heart and invite Jesus Christ to come and live inside of you and be your personal Lord and Savior.

 

Jose Garza's Hearing His Voice Testimony

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