My name is Carlos Mendoza. I was raised with a catholic background so I’ve always known who God was but never had a personal relationship with Him. I can remember growing up in the bay area, my parents would take my twin brother and I to church every Sunday and I hated every minute of it! I never felt like I got anything out of it and it felt like punishment being there. When we moved to the central valley I was relieved that I didn’t have to go to church anymore because my dad still worked in the bay area and he would be exhausted on the weekend and we wouldn’t go anywhere on Sunday except for y’know Easter and Christmas, we became those catholics. During my childhood and well into my teenage years I had the desire to join the military, I’ve always wanted to be a soldier for the United States because I love my country deeply. That didn’t happen and I’ll get into that after explaining the most life changing moment in my life…

When I was in high school a classmate of my brother had invited him to go to her church the Tabernacle of Praise. And because the way my twin brother and I were raised we were always doing everything together and hardly ever spent time apart, we might as well have been conjoined twins because we never left each others side. So when he asked me if I wanted to go with him to her church I said let’s go. I was thinking it’s probably going to be like another catholic church service so whatever let’s get it over with, It was nothing like a catholic church service and we heard the gospel preached and at the end of the service we both accepted Jesus Christ into our hearts and we each had men surrounding us and they were praying over us and when I looked over to my brother Victor he was speaking in tongues! After we went home I would be like the seed that fell in the rocky places with not much soil. Because I didn’t seek that relationship with Jesus my faith withered because it had no roots. After I graduated from high school my plans to enlist were put on hold because my dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor and one of my sisters was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had to become a caretaker for my family and it was hard on us because we had to keep the breast cancer thing from my dad, we didn’t want him to find out because he was very delicate emotionally and physically from the tumor, he could have had a heart attack from this news. In a very selfish way I was bitter that I couldn’t do what I wanted, I couldn’t just up and leave, so I started drinking when I turned 19 and as the years went on it got worse and worse. I became a somewhat functioning alcoholic and would only drink at night and I couldn’t wait for the night hours to come. My mother would try to talk to me about The Lord but my heart was hardening with every passing day. I grew a love for evil and wanted to spend as much time in the darkness as possible, my brother and I would create music and I would pervert it by turning it satanic. By the time I turned 24 I was full on into my addiction, I was drinking hard liquor almost every night and I was an ill tempered monster during the day waiting for night to come so I could consume that which kept me sustained.

My brother was the only person who knew how deep the addiction had become and he would try his best to get me out of it but it wasn’t good enough. He got me my first job when I turned 25 and that helped me to buy liquor with my own money instead of stealing money to have enough. Then he bought my first motorcycle, a brand new 2016 Suzuki DR650 dual sport. He had the same bike but the 2014 model. We would spend so much time figuring out the ins and outs of the bikes and customizing them that it worked a little bit, I was drinking less because I was trying to stay focused while learning how to do things on the bike, sadly it only lasted a couple of months and I went back into heavy drinking every night. Then the news came out in August 2017 that Harley Davidson was discontinuing the Dyna and I was devastated because I’ve always wanted a Harley and after doing a bunch of research my goal was to save up to buy the Dyna Low Rider S. It was my dream bike and I felt like it just wasn’t going to happen anymore. But determined not to give up I started to call all the local dealers and none of them had the bike, all sold out everywhere! Then the last phone call, the last effort, I called Folsom Harley and the sales person said they had a guy who was interested but he backed out last minute and they could put the bike on hold for me! So my brother and I rode our dirt bikes all the way to Folsom to check out this bike and when I started the process to buy it I didn’t have any money saved up yet and my credit was garbage, I had to finance it. They said I didn’t qualify and my brother told them he would be my cosigner, his credit wasn’t the greatest either and they said the only way they would sell the bike to me was if I put a ridiculous amount as a down payment. I didn’t have any money and my brother knew it and he knew I wanted this bike, he told me he would give the down payment. He cleaned out his checking account and everything he had in his savings account for me thinking it would be the thing that got me out of drinking maybe the gratitude I would have to owe him for such a sacrifice would be enough to get me out! It wasn’t. Not even a little bit. When I got to pick up my brand new 2017 Harley Davidson Low Rider S there was a tag on it still with the guys name who almost bought the bike Mike Crowley, wherever you are or if you ever read this, thank you! On January 29, 2018 we were clearing out our room to get it ready for some window replacements and we moved some things around and stumbled upon a bunch of family photos and yearbooks and we got to spend hours reminiscing about our childhood and what it must have been like when my parents were growing up because they looked so young in all the pictures (They had us late in life). When we did some research on our old bay area friends to see where they were at now, we found out that one of our friends was stabbed to death and it was very heartbreaking. That night I tried to start a fight with my brother but instead he said that we should pray for his family. That shut me up instantly and I couldn’t speak. The next morning I got ready for work and I didn’t see him, I was a bit off because I was actually thinking about God for the first time in a long time. I went to work and made it halfway because I forgot my phone at home and when I went back in to get it I didn’t see my brother to say later dude because he was taking a shower. When I finally got to work it was around 4 pm and I had the strangest feeling in my stomach that I have never felt before in my life, so much that I stopped working and I went into the brake room to call my brother to tell him that something weird just happened to me! But he didn’t answer. I kept texting him and calling him but nothing. I called my parents and asked where Victor was and they told me he went out for a ride on his motorcycle. I never heard back from him and it was 8 pm. I was frantic and rode home the fastest I’ve ever gone and when I got home I told my dad we need to go to the police station because something happened to Victor. When I got there I picked up the phone that was in the little hallway and asked the dispatcher if there were any motorcycle accidents reported today? She told me to wait and that an officer would meet us there. When the officer arrived he told me that there were 2 accidents and one was minor and the other was major and that the person was at San Joaquin General Hospital and we needed to go there now! When we got there and I gave his name to the ICU nurse behind the counter they took us upstairs where they had him and to see him in the condition he was in was the hardest thing I think I will ever face. One of the doctors that spoke with me told me that he was not going to live from the injuries he received. When the rest of my family got there none of this was spoken to them and they all had hope and faith that he would pull through but that made it worse for me because I was the only one who knew his fate. After 3 days of no sleep I was going through withdrawals and my family thought it was shock, it could have been but I’m not sure. I went home to get some rest and I was left with two options. 1 self destruct and drink myself to death, die so I wouldn’t feel the loss anymore. Or 2 surrender my life to Jesus Christ The God my brother told me about the night before his accident. I spoke with God for the first time and asked Him to deliver me from my addiction and to forgive me for my disobedience and for turning my back on Him. He did! HE DID! My sister Esmeralda is a firm believer in Jesus Christ and she helped me to grow my roots out, she got me a Bible and I’ve never read one before and once I started reading it, my life was changed. I studied through The Bible with Raul Ries and started attending Calvary Chapel Modesto and I got baptized there and met Albert Cruz who is a member of Soldiers Of The Cross and he invited me to their Bible studies and I felt like I was where The Holy Spirit wanted me to be. God blessed me with so much more than I could have ever imagined, I finally got to be that Soldier I’ve always dreamed about and even though I lost my twin brother, I gained many brothers from this ministry! I will always praise the name of The Lord for He provides a way for us to get saved and I get to rejoice that I will see my brother some day! Praise The Lord God Jesus Christ Amen!

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