My friend Pedro Narvaez lived in Tampa where he worked as a carpenter, he was married and had two children, a girl and a boy who he called Cat or Gato in Spanish. He was originally from Cali, Colombia where he had been a mechanic since the age of 12 or 13. Born into extreme poverty Pedro became a man of adventure and decided to try and change his luck in America. Once here he lived in Saint Petersburg, Florida then New York City where he married and finally Tampa. He was very talented and successful both as an auto mechanic and in carpentry. One by one he bought over his entire family who established their home in Elisabeth, New Jersey. Through hard work they made good on the American dream and soon had their own homes and businesses.
What made Pedro unique was that he was an atheist and loved to poke fun at God lovers or anyone who had any type of religion. His main point of contention was the suffering and poverty which people had to endure. Why we were friends I still don't know, I had met him on the job when he was assigned to work with me and he just took a liking to me. No matter how many times I explained that there was but one God manifested in three different beings, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit he would make a joke of it and have us all laughing. And no matter how many times I explained that most suffering was caused by humans and evil spirits he would laugh and say I had been brainwashed.
When his wife couldn't put up with his womanizing any longer she became a Jehovah Witness, this cause him a lot of grief since he hated all types of religions. He asked me over and over again why she would do this and one day I told him that he had hurt her so badly with his shenanigans that she had no other recourse but to get into some type of religion. He would just scratch his head and start laughing all over again at any one believing there could be a God. He lived like a wild man and nothing was sacred to him except his children, his biggest joy was his two children who were born in America and a daughter he had left in Cali. He talked about his children with great tenderness and love, something I found unusual in a man who sometimes acted totally insane.
One day he found a man wondering the streets and bought him to my house because the man had asked about God. He didn't try to talk the man out of believing he just told him he knew nothing of this God so he bought him over and left him with me saying "this man is looking for your God, take care of him," which I did. Pedro did a lot of drinking and when he did he could get very angry so I did my best to stay out of his path on these days. For some strange reason and even though we were like night and day, he had adopted me as his only friend and was very proud of introducing me to his other drinking buddies. Sometimes we had lunch together and he would ask a million questions about life, especially family life which he seemed to not understand.
At the end of our first summer together we went camping for two days and he seemed much happier than I had seen him all year. The two of us sat around the campfire talking but there was something wrong, he couldn't remember many of the things we had discussed during the week and he started asking about God in a very serious way. Hour after hour he asked about Jesus and the afterlife, till it was two in the morning and I was getting very sleepy. It looked like he wanted to believe but something was holding him back. I thought about it and decided to explain it in a different way. He loved money, women, music and alcohol, to him this was life this was his god. He told me that when he discovered these things he had jumped into them with both feet and never left. So I told him that the same had happened to me but only when I found Jesus as my Savior. I don't know why but that had struck a chord, he jumped up and said "now I know why you did it, you found something good and you stayed with it."
With that we went to sleep and the next day went back to our houses to prepare for that week's work. That Monday he told me that he was feeling very sick and perhaps he was going to die, I joked about what he had just said but he was very serious. He was dragging himself around and started to look really bad so he went home and from what I heard later he was rushed to a nearby hospital. I never saw Pedro again; he went into a coma and never regained consciousness . Even though he looked like he was in perfect health, cancer was slowly eating his insides and that night in the woods he had a premonition of his death. He died ten months later, after he died I asked God if he had been saved and in a dream he showed me Pedro laughing in heaven then he waved and said, "Thank you."
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