The Power of Purpose

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NewBostonPost is publishing a regular weekly column by local religious leaders each Friday. This week’s article is below.


My name is Luis Morales. I came to this country in 1980. I was only 17 years old.

I come from a very violent environment because my father was an alcoholic for a very long time.

Two factors led me to leave my country. At 17, I wasn’t willing to tolerate my father’s behavior any longer. At the same time, the Salvadoran Civil War had ripped my country apart. I felt pressure from anti-government guerrillas and from the army, because I wasn’t willing to join either group.

I got death threats four times; each time I thought it was the end of my life.

When I decided to come to the States, I got my passport, and I went to this little town to gather with three other guys who were going to go with me.

Travelling was dangerous. In less than 10 miles of my trip, I counted 18 dead people along the way.

I was riding behind a pickup truck when seven soldiers asked for a ride. They joined me in the back of the vehicle.

One of them asked me for my name. I answered “Luis Morales.”

“Where are you from?” he replied.

“I’m from a small town of Citalá,” I said.

“Who is your father?” he asked.

“Manuel Morales,” I said. 

“I don’t know his father,” he told the rest of the soldiers.

When they saw my bag, they opened it and found my passport, and they thought I was involved in some kind of illegal activity and that I was fleeing the country.

When we got to the next small town, the leader of the group told the soldiers to shoot me.  All seven rifles pointed at my head.

I was going to be a dead 17-year-old and I hadn’t done anything wrong.

I was worried. My face was probably pale, my mouth was dry, and all I could do was pray in my head.

Exactly three months before that day, because I was frustrated with my father and felt persecuted by both sides of the war, I had decided to give God a try. I had accepted the Lord as my savior.

When the rifles pointed at me, I asked the Lord:  Is this why I accepted you? You knew my end was just around the corner?

Or is there a purpose that you have for me in life?  If that is the case, save me; I will serve you for the rest of my life.

I was very naive; I hardly knew how to pray — but given the circumstance, I was very straightforward with my prayer that day.

I had learned through Jeremiah 1:5 that before he put me in my mother’s womb, he knew me and he had a calling for me.

I had learned that when God took a chunk of his breath to create me, he put five things inside of me: a purpose, an identity, potential, inheritance, and a destiny. Nobody was going to take that away from me.

After my quick prayer, the leader asked me what my father’s name was for the second time.

And I said:  “Sir, as you know we all have two names and two last names. My father is also known as Vicente Carranza.”

He looked at me in the eye and he said, “Kid, I almost killed you. I know your father.”

“This is where it all gets interesting,” he said. “I was in jail with your father, same cell for 17 months.”

My father at age 17 was blamed for a crime and was put in jail for 17 months until he proved his innocence. He had been an orphan since age 3 and he didn’t have people who could help him with an attorney.

My father died 13 years ago, but before he died, he told me about his experience that day.

He was taken to jail the day he was arrested . He had to walk for four hours with handcuffs and foot shackles.

He said that the metal from the foot shackles damaged his skin and that the pain was awful.

Even though he was not a Christian at the time, he told me he prayed to the Lord along the way, asking why his life was ruined at age 17.

When he arrived at the jail, he was put in the same cell with a guy who (years later) was going to sentence me to death at age 17.

My father could not understand at the time why he was put in jail. But looking at life retrospectively years later, it seems clear to me that my father was innocently thrown in jail in order to save my life and to assure me of accomplishing my purpose years later.

This story reminds me of how another innocent person, Jesus Christ, one day was sentenced to death – not just to make salvation possible for the rest of us but also to accomplish my purpose on earth, and yours, too.

As it happens, this was not my only near-death experience; I may share another one in the future.

But the point is:  God will bring us out of our worst situations in life in order to accomplish his purpose in us.

Forty-three years later, I’m now the pastor of a church of 1,500 people in Medford, Massachusetts.

Another 40 churches all over the world I have founded — in El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, Haiti, Spain, the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and Argentina, and elsewhere in the United States.

I have a TV program that appears in more than 100 countries, through which I reach about 10 million people weekly. I reach more than 4 million people through social media every day. I have 15 radio stations where I preach the gospel 24/7.

I’m a testimony that God does accomplish his purpose in us, and no one can stand in his way.

Isaiah says: “…I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please (Isaiah 46:10).

If you are reading this short testimony, don’t give up, trust in the Lord …

He is not done with you yet.


Pastor Luis Morales is the founding pastor of Vida Real Internacional, a church in Medford, Massachusetts.


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