A Broken Man Forgives His Abuser
By Rob Hull
The 700 Club
“I saw my mom, the person I loved the most being beaten by my dad,” remembers Rafael Saracual. “Sometimes he used to fight with my mom like she was another man, punch her and beat her very bad. The only thing I could do was cry. Cry and cry.”
Rafael grew up in Venezuela in a home full of fear and violence at his father’s hand.
“I hated him, he was my dad, but I hated what he was and what he was doing to us.” Rafael remembers.
When Rafael was 12 his mother had enough. After a severe beating she called the police and had her husband arrested. When he was released from jail he never returned home.
“When my dad left home I became wild, I started experiencing things that I wasn’t supposed to. I started experiencing sexual relationships at the age of 12, 13. I lost myself. I lost Rafael; I lost the little boy I was.” says Rafael.
He had a friend who told him Jesus loved him and could help him, but Rafael wasn’t interested. Then one night he was in a fight outside a nightclub.
“When I saw the people beating me and my brother I knew that something was going to end that day,” says Rafael. “They had killed four people before that fight. And I cried out to God and I said, ‘if you save my life today, I’m going to look for you.’ And when I said that prayer it was like time stopped. And a little way out was made.”
Rafael and his brother ran to safety. The next Sunday he went to his friend’s church.
Rafael recalls, “I remember the first thing I felt, it was these goose bumps all over my body and I heard music playing I didn’t even hear a preacher preaching, I didn’t know why I was crying, I didn’t know why I felt what I felt but I knew that something changed in me and I experienced the presence of God for the first time in my life and I knew that was what I needed.”
Rafael prayed and accepted Jesus as his savior that day. His life changed dramatically. But he says he felt there was still something blocking him from the life God wanted for him.
“I hated my dad with all my heart, but I didn’t know I hated him,” says Rafael. “I realized that I needed to empty myself and release my dad, release what he did to me, when I forgave my dad, I experienced Heaven on Earth. I started experiencing God in a whole new level. Now I was having dreams about him. Now he was speaking to me.”
Rafael wanted to go to the United States and his friendship with an American missionary would make that dream a reality.
Rafael remembers, “He started a relationship with me like a father-son type of relationship. He used to call me, ‘son.’ And then he sent me the money for my passport, he sent me the money for my visa, he sent me the money for my ticket and I came to America.”
But the moment Rafael greeted the man he called ‘dad’ on American soil he knew something wasn’t right.
“When we got to his house the first thing he did was close the doors, locked he doors and then he told me ‘come and sit on my lap,’” says Rafael.
Rafael didn’t know it, but for the past six years this man brought young men to America with promises of college and ministry opportunities. But once they arrived, he used them for his own sexual purposes.
“He started telling me ‘I’m going to call immigration, I’m going to call the police department, I’m going to call everybody because they are going to deport you if you don’t do what I’m asking you to do,’” remembers Rafael. “I was crying out to God, because I knew that he was able to get me out of that situation. So I was trying to wait on the Lord for deliverance in that place, but at the same time I was being attacked.”
For over two weeks Rafael was held in the man’s house and fought off the sexual attacks. His captor was married but his wife was rarely around. One day she came home while her husband was out. Rafael cried for help.
“In my broken English I told her what was happening,” says Rafael. “And at that point she was the one that the Lord used to get me out of that house.”
She kept Rafael hidden at her friend's house and blew the whistle on her husband to his church. Rafael’s visit to America appeared to be over.
“All the plans and the promises I came for, everything was gone,” says Rafael. “But there was something that I kept, It was my faith.”
Then a man who heard about Rafael’s story took him to a nearby university, enrolled him in classes and paid his $13,000 tuition in full. His student visa was granted for five years.
“Out of nothing, God made a new thing in my life that took my faith and all the experiences that I had had in the past into a whole new level because now I met him as my deliverer and I met him as the one who was able to restore what the enemy had taken from me,” says Rafael.
Rafael never pressed charges against his captor.
“I wrote a letter to him and I actually forgave him, I told him that I didn’t have anything against him and that I was praying that he would find God’s mercy,” says Rafael.
After a year in college Rafael met and married The 700 Club’s Mia Evans. Today he leads Destino Ministries and shares how the Lord is faithful to his word.
“He’s using everything in my life now to see all the promises and the plans that he had for me being fulfilled today,” says Rafael. “Jesus is actually the one who can change anybody’s life no matter what the mess is in their life he can actually do it. He did it with me and he can do it with anybody who comes to him.”
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