My father, at a very early age, was out in the streets raising money to support his 15-year-old mother abandoned by my grandfather. My mother’s family was destitute. With a six-grade education, she worked several jobs to help support her family. I was born September 26, 1953, in Santiago de Las Vegas, Havana, Cuba. In 1959, when Castro triumphantly entered Havana, my father was a successful self-made businessman, and my mother was working as a secretary for the American Embassy.
The American back invasion of Cuba started on April 17, 1961, and was quickly suppressed. Cuban American relations deteriorated. The American Embassy gave all Cuban employees at the embassy and their immediate family permanent residency in the United States if they entered the United States on or before April 29, 1961. My mother, my ten-year-old sister, and I, then seven years old, fled Cuba and landed in Miami on April 29, 1961 (on that same day, Mirka was born in Panama.) My father stayed in Cuba with the hope that another invasion was close at hand.
My mother decided to go back to Cuba and left us in a boarding school for three months. Three months turned into over a year. I felt alone and abandoned.
I eventually married and divorced my high school sweetheart, had two beautiful children. I graduated from college from Florida International University. I pursued an advanced degree in psychology but never completed it. I was a businessman for 14 years.
At thirty-five years of age, in 1988, I graduated from the University of Miami with a J.D and became an attorney. I joined the firm of High Stack Lazenby, and Palahach where I eventually became a named partner—left to start my firm in 1996, continuing to practice law to the present day. Most would say that I have attained a certain level of worldly success. However, I spent a lot of my life pursuing the pleasures of the flesh to try and relieve that overwhelming loneliness and sense of abandonment.
Then at 37 years of age, I met and married Mirka. She showed me, Christ-like love. She was patient and kind, never jealous, and humble. She was not rude, selfish, or easily angered. She forgave me for my wrongs. She was trusting, hopeful, and she never gave up on me.
Mirka led me to the Holy Spirit. One day I met God and, in faith, agreed to open my heart to Him. As a result of opening my heart in faith, Jesus rushed in. I began to learn about the gift Jesus had given me. I repented my sins and turned my entire life over to him.
After being born again, I now have a new perspective on life. Daily, I ask to be God’s servant and live to hear my master say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. . . Come and share your master’s happiness.” Mathew 25:21 (NIV)