Joseph Rojas: Harsh Beginnings
By Audra Smith
The 700 Club
Jospeh Rojas grew up in the housing projects of Victoria, Texas, where gunfire and sirens echoed through the neighborhood. But, for Joseph, the rough streets became a refuge from the nightmare from his home life.
In the words of Joseph Rojas:
"I remember being about three and a-half-years-old and being ten feet away from my father as he beat my mother bloody, and that was the memory I grew up with, of a father."
When Joseph was still a small child, his father left the family.
"It made me feel like, what is wrong with me? My dad hasn’t called me. My dad hasn’t come by. I haven’t seen him in years since I was a baby and I wondered what was so bad about me that I couldn’t even keep a dad around."
Joseph’s mother worked long hours to provide for her two boys. Many times they were left alone to fend for themselves.
"I was just hurting so bad and felt so empty and so alone, and like I was never going to be accepted. I was looking for something to take the pain away and I found it by hanging out with a group of kids that got high."
"I went straight to cocaine, at about the age of 14 I did my first line of cocaine. Before I knew it, a line became two lines, two lines became three lines, and then by the end of it all, at the age of 21, I had a $400 a-day cocaine addiction."
"People would ask me, Joseph how would you use $400 a-day worth of cocaine if you didn’t have a job? I would sell drugs. I would sell, or rob, or steal."
"When I was about 18-years-old, my mother gave her life to Christ. She was looking for help so desperately for me, that my mother ended up meeting a lady that took her to church."
"She ended up meeting Jesus. I remember her coming home and telling me that Jesus could change my life. That he can make me brand new."
"I just didn’t really believe in God."
"What kind of God lets you grow up without a father? What kind of God allows you to hate yourself the way I hate myself?"
"I would say, Mom, even if there is a God in Heaven, what would He want with a worthless drug addict like me?"
"I am a convicted felon. I have been in and out of jail and institutions since I was a kid. And if he was going to pick someone, wouldn’t he pick someone that was almost already together? What would he pick me for?"
"I stole from my own mother to get high; a mother that would have given her life for mine, did nothing but love me."
"My mother took her life savings to send me to a rehab in California and 30 days later I was high and her life savings was gone, everything. She filed bankruptcty because of my drug addiction but she still believes in God."
"These things were almost unbearable. I decided to take my life. I was tired of hurting my mother. I was tired of breaking my mother’s heart."
"I decided to take a lethal dose of cocaine to stop my heart. I didn’t want my mom to find me, but I had just made the decision that I was done living."
"My mother walked in unexpectedly and I overdosed on cocaine in front of my mother on our living room floor. I remember my mom calling the paramedics and screaming out to God."
"When the paramedics came they had me hooked up to all these wires and this machine and they put me in the back of this ambulance. It was in the back of this ambulance that I felt the power of God. It was in the back of that ambulance that I felt the very hand of God and I remember saying, Jesus - I couldn’t speak, but I remember saying in my heart and in my mind, 'Jesus, if you will still have me, as broken and empty as I am, just a worthless drug addict, that I will give my life to you tonight."
"And that was the first time I knew the love of a father. That was the first time in my life that I felt like I got picked. It was the first time that I felt like a complete person."
After becoming a Christian, it took Joseph nearly two years to break free from drug addiction.
"For some people it is a day-by-day, one day at a time. For me it was hour by hour. I pick myself up and go another hour, and before I know it I’ve got two days and then a week, and before you know it, it is 11 years later and you have a beautiful wife and three kids and beautiful home and three dogs and life is awesome - and I see God every step of the way as I look back."
Joseph also started a Christian rock band, now known as Seventh Day Slumber. Because of their strong emphasis on ministry, the band has helped countless teens through online counseling at teen hopeline.com. They have also seen thousands of people answer altar calls at concerts, among those people, Joseph’s own father.
"I began to pray that God would move in his life and God would let him know that he may have made a mistake, but he is not worthless."
"We had a concert and I had the altar call and it was raining and people and adults started coming to the altar in the rain. I saw my dad in the crowd. I was able to lead my father to Jesus."
"Now, my mom still cries a lot, but it’s because I call her from the road every night to tell her how many kids gave their lives to Christ at our concert that night. That is how awesome God is."
"I am here to tell you that God is a restorer, that he is a healer and he changes lives and there is nothing that you have even done that you can’t come back from with the love of Christ."
"I can promise you one thing, I promise you with all of my heart, that if you will give your heart to Christ, if you give your life to Christ, he will take your life to places that you have never even imagined possible, I promise you that."Can God change your life?
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