Joseph Villanueva: An Addict at the Crossroads
By Robert Hull
The 700 Club
Original Air Date: November 5, 2010
Joseph Villanueva was 15 years old when his father died from a seizure. The once quiet boy became a violent and angry young man.
“There was no man in my life anymore and no other man was going to tell me what to do. If they did, it was like they challenged who I thought I was, therefore I would act out in anger and I would hit them.”
Joseph joined a gang of friends running wild on the streets of Houston, Texas.
“They took me in and they treated me like I was somebody. I felt like I was respected by these older guys who didn’t care about anything and therefore I wanted to be like them. I wanted to act like them. I wanted to talk like them and I wanted to make money like them and that’s exactly what I did. We all sold drugs and everybody picked their own particular drug to sell so that nobody interfered with anybody else’s money.”
Selling drugs turned into using drugs.
“Once I started smoking weed, it wasn’t just a puff here and there, it was an everyday thing. I was smoking weed. The next thing you know I was selling cocaine. Eventually, I started doing the cocaine. After the cocaine it led me to ecstasy, acid, crack…”
Eventually the brotherhood of drug dealers fell apart.
“Two of my best friends died. The way I saw it I was next in line. Everybody just stopped caring. One of my friends started taking money out of my pocket so we started clashing heads.”
The one bright spot in Joseph’s life was his three-year-old daughter Kailee. Even that was taken from him the day his estranged wife took Kailee and promised he’d never see her again.
“When my daughter was taken from me, I felt crushed. I felt like I was worthless, like I had not meaning, like there was no point for me in this life. I went through depression and all I wanted to do was do more cocaine, pick up more drugs on the street. I didn’t care about nobody.”
Then a friend of Joseph’s mother stopped by his house one day and asked if she could pray for him.
“This lady pulls out a Bible and she pulls out some oil. I start looking around like, ‘What are you fixin’ to do to me?’ This lady, she puts the oil on her hands and she begins to pray for me. She begins to prophesy. She tells me that I’m going to go minister the Gospel, that I’m going to go preach and proclaim God’s goodness. At the time she’s telling me this, I have dope sitting in the next room. I’m thinking in my head, ‘God’s fixing to use me?’ She said to me, ‘In the name of Jesus your daughter is coming home.’”
Two days later Kailee’s mother had a change of heart and returned Kailee to Joseph. He had been without his daughter for two months and knew the timing was no coincidence.
“I want to know who this Jesus is. This lady said, ‘In the name of Jesus your daughter is coming home,’ and my daughter came home. When My daughter came back, it was like my life was given back to me.”
He started going to church, but convinced himself he still needed to sell cocaine to get by.
“I kept going to church, listening to what they had to say, because when I was there, I felt good. I used to take my drugs with me to church. I would leave them in the truck and when I got out, I would go make deliveries and do whatever I needed to do. That was just a lie from the pit of hell, because I wasn’t doing nothing with that money but feeding my own habits. I was doing my own cocaine.”
Joseph eventually reached a crossroad: continue on the path he had chosen or follow a new direction.
“I stayed up on cocaine for three days. Man, I nearly killed myself. I was sitting down and I heard this voice speak to me. He said, ‘You wanted your daughter back. I gave her to you. There she is. The road that you’re riding, you’re going to end up in two different places.’ The first place He showed me, I was locked up in the penitentiary. The second place He showed me was laying in my casket. When I was laying in my casket, I saw my daughter crying for me. I knew that there was nobody else that was going to take care of her. That was the point in my life when I made a decision that I wasn’t going to do things on my own. I was going to give my life over to God. I asked Jesus Christ into my heart, made Him my personal Lord and Savior. From that day forward I was never the same again.”
The words his mother’s friend spoke over him are now a reality. Joseph tells his story whenever he gets a chance….
“From one day to the next, from 13 years of smoking and drinking, He took those desires from me. I quit doing all of that stuff. Not by my strength, but by His. The Bible says, ‘Whoever calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.’ That’s His word. God can’t lie. God is not a man that He should lie. All you have to do is call out to Him.”
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