hope.

Posted: Sat, Dec 3, 11 in PR Connections (COMM 2322)

God has a plan for our lives. Sometimes he leads us down certain paths to make us stronger. God never gives us more than we can handle, and that has become evident in the life of 19-year-old Fermin Saja. Saja is amazed at the fact that he is still alive today, and knows that it’s only because of God’s grace; and the fact that God isn’t finish with him yet.

“Growing up we never went to church,” Fermin starts. “I never knew anything about church; I never knew anything about God.”

Around the year 2000, Fermin’s parents began to have really bad marital problems. They ended up getting separated and he lost one of the key people in his life, his father.

“I never had a relationship with my mother,” Saja states. “And this just made me enter into this rebellious stage against her. I didn’t like to be around her. I just felt that she was taking all this stuff away from me as if it was my fault.”

After the divorce was finalized, Fermin’s father lost all rights to his children. The Saja family then became homeless.

“Seven kids and a single mom, and we were moving from motel to motel and we would stay there until the cops pretty much came to kick us out. Then it was on to the next one.”

When Fermin was ten, his family moved from Miami to a shelter in Tampa, FL.

“We had gone weeks just living off of bologna and peanut butter, so I’m thinking this is great. But when we got there these people were just rude. At five in the morning they would slam the door open and just start yelling like we were in boot camp, and to me it was just really demeaning. But eventually my mom got the next best boyfriend, and we moved to Sebring, FL.”

For the first time in his life, Fermin stayed at the same school for all of fifth grade and again for sixth grade, and at the end of sixth grade, he had his first experience with cigarettes.

“One day my cousin and I were walking home with my brothers and his friends. They were curious as to how we would react to a cigarette. I remember taking the first puff and coughing so hard that it hurt, and my cousin did the same. After that we started stealing cigarettes. We even stole from my brother’s stash of weed until he found out and beat us up. Then we had to find friends that smoked all the time and when we did, that exactly what happened…nobody wants to get high alone.”

Not only did Saja start smoking marijuana, but he also began to sell it.

“This was a rebellious stage where I just hated my mother. I know kids say that but there was just this deep, deep evil there. The thoughts of her death would excite me.”

At the end of seventh grade, Saja ran away from home. He ended up in Cape Coral, FL with his uncle. His uncle forced him to stop smoking marijuana, even though the smoking of cigarettes was still allowed.

“I was thinking this was a pivotal moment for me; maybe I could change my life. But there was still no God present.”

For eighth grade, Saja was enrolled in a charter school. There he met his soon to be girlfriend, Holly Potter.

“Everybody has that girl in their life, and this was that girl.”

Potter influenced Fermin to start smoking marijuana again, and after that he was drinking more and eventually he lost his virginity to her. Potter also introduced him to cocaine.

“I didn’t even know what cocaine was, but when I tried it I got hooked fast, and for the little guy that I am I don’t know how I survived. It was the worst drug I’ve ever done. Cocaine strips your personality. I was nervous and paranoid all the time. To me, this is the worst years of my life. I didn’t see any purpose in living.”

At fourteen years old, Fermin began to contemplate suicide.

“Whenever I wasn’t with Holly, I was planning what the best route of death would be.”

Fortunately, Saja never successfully went to hang himself, but he got as close to putting the belt around his neck and looking down. Every time he would try, he was interrupted by a phone call or someone knocking at the door. Little did Fermin know that God was protecting him and saving his life for a much greater purpose.

Saja moved back to Sebring to live with his mother, but after only two weeks was kicked out again because he didn’t get along with his mom’s new husband.

“This guy was trouble for me. I didn’t like him at all, I didn’t like the way he treated my family, and I didn’t like the way he presented himself.”

The only place he had to go was his brother’s girlfriend’s house. There he met Taylor, the sister of his brother’s girlfriend, and they began to date. Taylor didn’t like Fermin smoking marijuana or cigarettes, so he decided to stay away from it, even though fornication and alcohol drinking was still occurring.

But this is when this tragic story begins to take a turn.

Fermin’s little sister, Venus, accepted Christ as her savior, and he could see that something changed inside of her.

“She found light in all of the darkness,” Fermin begins. “She had lived the same life I had minus the drugs, but she found light, and God really started to move in her life. I could tell that she was doing better because she was smiling.”

But what really broke Saja was a dream that his sister had about him.

“She was walking up a flight of stairs and as she was, she saw everyone that she knew that was saved walking up also. At the top of the stairs it was majestic. Just beautiful. She wanted to go that way and she could tell that it was the right way. When she looked down she saw me. She called my name a couple times but I didn’t answer. Finally I looked up at her and she asked me where I was going because everyone was going up the stairs. I told her I didn’t want to go that way, I wanted to go this way, and she was stuck right there. For a moment she didn’t know if she should follow me because of the love that she had for me or if she should go the way that she knew was right. And after that she woke up in tears.”

Saja started to go to church when his sister invited him, but classified himself as nothing more than a pew filler. Eventually he realized that he didn’t love Taylor anymore and he broke things off and moved back to his mother’s house. He started to attend church more, but there was something about breaking up with Taylor that caused him to go back to drinking. But after waking up in a bathtub in a house full of naked women, Saja realized that there had to be something better in this life.

“This couldn’t be the ultimate plan for my life, just doing stupid stuff like this over and over again.”

Fermin realized that it really wasn’t the plan for his life one Sunday night when he found himself at the front of a church, crying and weeping out loud.

“This guy was praying over me and all of a sudden it felt like God just touched me, and everything in my past was still. I closed my eyes and I just felt God telling me that everything was going to be okay. I trusted with all of my heart and I knew that whoever this person was, I wanted to get to know Him.”

Saja is currently working to restore his broken family and plans to attend Christ For The Nations Institute located in Dallas, Texas next fall. He feels God has called him to be a missionary and has accepted that call.

With such a powerful testimony, Saja has the ability to reach many people, because even in his short 19 years of life, he’s been through what most are going through, and he has overcome.

“God is not only able, but He’s willing to make a difference in people’s lives.”

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