Faithit recently reported on an interview Pureflix had with Herman Mendoza, a former New York City drug dealer, on his remarkable conversion to Christ.
Mendoza, who now helps pastor a church in New York City, shared how he turned to drug dealing in his 20s after being laid off from his job. His brothers were already dealing Cocaine, and he decided to start working with them.
Soon the money was flowing in. With millions of dollars at his disposal, Mendoza was spending upwards of $20,000 a day. His life was consumed by partying, women and drugs.
But it came to crashing halt, when police found a large quantity of cocaine in his car and he was facing upwards of 25 years in prison.
However, he was able to work a deal with the prosecutor, that substantially reduced his sentence. But shortly after his release Mendoza returned to what he described as “the game” — his drug dealing ways and a short time later was arrested again.
While Mendoza was serving his second sentence, his brother, who was also in prison, became a believer in Jesus and was determined to lead his brother to Christ.
As result of his brothers persistence and prayers, Mendoza accepted Christ:
“I gave my life to the Lord … there was no other recourse. I said, I need to try God, I’ve tried anything else. … I had millions of dollars, but it was never satisfying. […]
“I felt this warmth that enveloped me. I felt the presence of God. I realized that Jesus paid the price for my sin … I was a walking dead man, and now I’m alive in Christ.”
After his conversion and release from prison, Mendoza was restored to his wife, Alexandra, who had left him.
She returned because of the remarkable change that taken place in her husband which she described in an interview with CBN:
“(I said) ‘Who are you?’ because I really didn’t know who he was. It was like a shock to me.”
After his release, Mendoza committed his life to sharing the gospel and eventually ended up working as an associate pastor with Promise Ministries International in New York City.
Mendoza recently wrote a book, “Shifting Shadows: How a New York Drug Lord Found Freedom in the Last Place He Expected,” on his conversion and transformation.
But this is not the first time we heard of a NYC drug dealer becoming a believer. NYC pastor Dimas Salaberrios was also selling drugs before his decision to follow Christ.
It was recently reported that a documentary he produced, “Chicago: America’s Hidden War,” is being considered as a potential nominee for an Oscar award. The video follows Salaberrios after he felt led to visit Chicago and fast and pray for arguably the most violent city in America.
In some ways, Mendoza’s story reminds me of the remarkable conversion of one of the most wicked kings in Judah’s history, Manasseh, the son of the godly King Hezekiah.
After the death of his father, Manasseh came to the throne at the age of 12. He rejected the Godly reforms set up by his father, and instituted the worship of Moloch, one of the most hideous pagan idols, where people sacrificed their children.
According to ancient descriptions, it was a large hollow bronze idol that had a fire set inside it. Once it was searing-hot, the people would set their still living children on the idols outstretched arms to be sacrificed. In some instances, the children would roll down Moloch’s arms into the fire set inside the idol.
Ancient reports added that during these sacrifices, the pagan priests would lead those gathered in loud shouts to deliberately drown out the screams of the children.
Manasseh also restored the fertility rites associated with the high places that open the door for sexual orgies as way to entice the gods to bless the harvests. As you read 2 Chronicles 33, Manasseh essentially implemented every form of idol worship available at that time, and even set up idols in the Jewish Temple.
Some have wondered if this overreaction reflected some inner bitterness that Manasseh had towards either his father and/or God.
But we read in 2 Chronicles 33:10, that God tried to warn Manasseh and the people of Judah, but they ignored this warning. It is uncertain how this was delivered, but many believe it was probably through a prophet, possibly even Isaiah.
Jewish tradition states that Manasseh ordered the prophet Isaiah to be put to death by having him cut in half.
After rejecting God’s warning, the Lord judged Manasseh and Judah by sending the Assyrians to attack the nation. The Bible records that they put a metal hook through Manasseh’s nose and dragged him away to Assyria.
But similar to Mendoza, while in captivity Manasseh humbled himself before the Lord and repented of his sin. Because of this, God opened the door for Manasseh to be returned to his throne in Judah, where the repentant king tore down the idols and restored the worship of Jehovah.
Mendoza’s testimony is reminder that we should not stop believing and praying for people, no matter what they become involved in.
READ: ‘I Was a Walking Dead Man’: Ex-New York Drug Lord Finds Jesus AND Documentary of NYC pastor’s fight to end violence in Chicago gets Oscar buzz AND Ex-NYC Drug Lord Says Turning to Christ Changed Everything for Him, ‘I Was a Walking Dead Man’