I was born in Mexico many years ago. As a young child I lived with different relatives from one home to another. Some good and some not so good, but they were family so they tolerated me. I learned to read at a young age and hiding to read books was my way of escaping my miserable life. At the age of 13 I run away from the relatives I was living with, because I just could not get along with them. I then lived in the streets, half the time I was in extreme poverty. I survived in the streets the best way I could. Whenever I could, I worked in different jobs to make money, so I could pay for food to eat and a place to stay.
However there were times when I had no money, in those times, I would sleep in the sidewalk with a dirty piece of cardboard as my bed and crumpled newspapers as my blankets. When I got really hungry, I would go to the marketplace and when no one was looking I would steal food. Surviving in the streets was hard as a young man, but I had no other choice, so I did it.
I never stayed long in one place; I went from city to city, like a leaf in the wind. After over 2 years of vagrancy I visited some relatives, which I knew lived in a certain place. They got a hold of my mother and my mother sent me money to go to America. I was not really interested in coming to America, but I figured that I had nothing to lose, so I came into America as an illegal immigrant. So that is how I ended up living in East Los Angeles, California.
Even though I live in a gang infested neighborhood I never joined. This was due in part because of my mother. My mother was a domineering woman and very proud. She would make sure that we went straight home from school and did not go out with the neighbors’ kids. She would never take welfare, even though she qualified for it, she despised people in welfare and thought they were worthless leeches. She worked as hard as a man, in a factory in order to support us. However she also had a fun side to her, she liked to go to her friends’ parties to dance and drink.
My mother did the best that she could with the little education that she had. She had a succession of men in her life, some stayed for months and others a few for years, but eventually they could not deal with her domineering character and left. It was not easy living with my mother; there were times, when I thought of leaving and going back to Mexico.
I wanted to work here in America, but my mother decided that I should go to school, so I went to high school, I was somehow able to catch up and learn English quickly, and later on I went to regular classes. I eventually became a regular high school student, with friends and girlfriends.
I saw in that high school some students who wearing uniforms and playing at being soldiers. It interested me and for two years I enrolled in JRTOC (Junior Reserve Officers Training). I had lots of fun learning about the military and their customs.
In my second year in High school I also noticed some guys in a room, playing with a machine. I was curious and asked what they were doing, they were in a computer class, and were programming the IBM machine. I thought that was interesting. That is how I ended up enrolling in computer classes and learning FORTRAN a very ancient computer language, later on I learned BASIC programming. I was hooked on computer programming.
When I graduated from High school, I took a night job in a factory and was there for a couple of months, but I wanted more from life, so after I read a flyer about Computer Programming being offered by the Government, I applied and two weeks later I was enrolled in COBOL Programming, I ended up as the top programmer in my class. After looking for a job I eventually got an offer as a junior programmer for a big corporation, however I turned it down because I decided instead to enroll in the US Army. I was a young idealistic man and was feeling very patriotic; I guess my two years in JROTC had strongly influenced me to make that career choice.
I took the Army tests and I was told I qualified for a clerical position; that is how I ended up in the administration branch of the Army. So after enrolling in the Army, I had a few months before I had to report for duty, so I decided to go to Mexico and find my father; I wanted to meet the father that I never had. I knew he was a soldier, so after a while I was able to find him. I talked with him for about three hours and that was that, that is the only time I ever spent with my father. He had a new family and I was not going to intrude on that family, all I wanted to do was to meet him. Those 3 hours were not enough to fill the hole in my soul, because I never had a father, the hole still there.
I returned to America and reported for duty in the US Army. During my time in the military I took some computer courses but did little computer work. After my training I was stationed in Germany for two years. While I was in Germany I became a Christian. It was the greatest event in my life. From then on every time I could I would study the Bible. I also wanted to travel in Europe. On my weekends and spare time I travelled throughout Europe, and took many pictures. Besides traveling in Germany I visited (England, Spain, France, Italy, Holland, Austria, Switzerland) Of course everywhere I went I took taking the Bible to read on the bus, I was able to witness to other fellow passengers and even people I met in other countries. After two years I returned to America.
I was stationed in Ft Polk, Louisiana for 9 months, I found a good church and had a good time on the weekends with the church folks but I had a hard time at work, my military supervisor was a hate filled woman, and she had an ally in the civilian supervisor, these two women seem to have made it their mission to make my life miserable, nothing I ever did was right in their eyes, they mocked me and put me down constantly and tried to make me lose my temper in many different ways. I took everything they could dish out, but there were days when my patience was at the breaking point. I strongly suspect that they hated me because I was a Christian and I was not ashamed to say it.
One day I saw that there were openings at Ft Hood, Texas, I requested to be transferred there and was quickly granted my request. I did not know anything about Texas, but I was to remain at Ft Hood, for almost four years. This was a time where I spent a lot of time in my spiritual training; I was in a good Christian community.
One day I went on vacation to California to see my mother, who had now moved to Long Beach. While there I met my future wife. We dated for about a month, then I left back to Ft Hood, after about six months of phoning and letter writing, I sent money to my bride, and she came to Ft Hood, Texas; we were married the next day after she arrived.
Some months later I left the Army and we moved to San Antonio, Texas. My first daughter was born shortly after we moved there. After a while my wife went to Oxnard, California with her mother to have our second daughter. A couple of years I lost my job and went thru some financial hard times, our family then moved to Oxnard, California. Where we stayed for a couple of years and then moved to Los Angeles.
We moved to Whittier, California in 1992; where I begun our Christian ministry (Reap Worldwide Ministries). My two other daughters were born while living in Whittier. Also during this time I began to go back to computer training. For over ten years I had done little related to computers, because I had mostly concentrated in studying for the ministry. I was a little rusty in my technical skills, however since I already had a strong foundation; I quickly regained my lost ground. Since then I worked in different computer jobs and also engaged in the ministry.
In 1999 I finally became a US Citizen. Although my seven years in the military are in the ancient past, I am still patriotic and love America. At one time I worked at TRW, in the Systems & Information Technology Group, testing defense and security computer systems for the Army and the Air force. I am proud to say that some of the systems I worked on; were used successfully in the war against terrorism.
Later on I worked for years in a Non-profit organization, where I did got to use many of my computer technical skills, to help people who had disabilities.
Technology and Theology are my main interests and profession. To some people I am a computer geek, to others I am a religious fanatic; it all depends on which side they meet first.