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HOW did a man with a tragic upbringing become a happy, successful husband and father? Read what he has to say.

Víctor Hugo Herrera before and after studying the Bible

“I Felt Worthless.”—VÍCTOR HUGO HERRERA

  • YEAR BORN: 1974
  • COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: CHILE
  • HISTORY: ADDICTED TO ALCOHOL

MY PAST:

 I was born in the city of Angol, in the beautiful south of Chile. I never met my father. When I was three years old, my mother moved with my brother and me to the capital, Santiago. We ended up living in a small room in a makeshift camp for the homeless. We used a public outhouse, and we got our water from a fire hydrant.

After about two years, the government gave us a small house. Unfortunately, our new neighborhood was plagued with drug and alcohol abuse, crime, and prostitution.

One day my mother met a man, whom she eventually married. My stepfather was a heavy drinker. He would beat my mother and me. I often wept in private, wishing I had a father to protect me.

Even though my mother worked hard to provide for us, we were very poor. When we were hungry, sometimes all we had to eat was powdered milk and sugar. For entertainment, my brother and I would sneak over to watch television through a neighbor’s window. But one day the neighbor caught us, and that was the end of that!

When my stepfather was sober​—which was not very often—​he would buy my brother and me something to eat. On one occasion he bought us a small television. That is one of the few times I remember feeling happy.

At age 12, I learned to read. A year later, I quit school and started working full-time. After work I would go out with adult workmates to parties where we would get drunk and take drugs. Soon I was hooked.

When I was 20, I met Cati, and we eventually got married. At first, all went well, but then I returned to the life I had led before. My conduct went from bad to worse. It finally dawned on me that I was headed either to jail or to the grave. Worse yet, I was making my son Víctor suffer the same things that I did when I was young. I felt sad, I was angry with myself, and I felt worthless.

 About 2001, two of Jehovah’s Witnesses visited our home, and Cati began to study the Bible with them. She talked to me about what she was learning. Out of curiosity, I also began to study the Bible. In 2003, Cati was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

HOW THE BIBLE CHANGED MY LIFE:

 One day, I read Ruth 2:12, which says that Jehovah rewards those who act in faith, seeking refuge in him. I realized that if I made changes, I could please God and be rewarded by him. I noticed how often the Bible condemns drunkenness. The words of2 Corinthians 7:1 had an impact on me. That verse urges us to “cleanse ourselves of every defilement.” So I started to abandon my bad habits. As I did, at first my temper worsened, but Cati never stopped supporting me.

I finally quit my job because the pressure to smoke and drink was very strong. Although being out of work for a while meant getting by on very little, it did give me more time to study the Bible. That was when I really began to make spiritual progress. Cati never demanded more than I could give materially, nor did she reproach me for our simple lifestyle. I’m truly grateful for her loving support.

I gradually began to associate more closely with the Witnesses. They helped me to appreciate that despite my lack of secular education, Jehovah values my sincere desire to serve him. The love and unity we saw in the Christian congregation had a profound effect on our family. We had not found such peace anywhere else. In December 2004, I too was baptized.

Victor conducting a family Bible study

HOW I HAVE BENEFITED:

 I’ve experienced the truthfulness of Jehovah’s words recorded at Isaiah 48:17, where he says: “I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself.” My mother and my brother were so impressed by my changes that they are now studying the Bible. Even my neighbors rejoice to see how different I am and what a happy family we have.

I have a wife who loves God and who views me as her trustworthy companion and friend. Even though I never knew my father, the Bible has taught me how to raise my three sons. They respect me. Most important, they see Jehovah as a real Person, and they have grown to love him.

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“Even though I never knew my father, the Bible has taught me how to raise my three sons”

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I’m truly grateful that despite my unhappy childhood, Jehovah has given me the chance to become a happy man.

 

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