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FROM DEATH ROW TO THE FRONT ROW
By Edward Mauricio

Hello, my name is Edward Salazar Mauricio and I am a missionary to the tribal people of the country of Mexico, but it was not always so. It was in May 1966, as I sat in a jail cell in the Bexar County Jail, that the words of the prosecutor went through my mind: "Your Honor, The State of Texas files notice that it will seek the death penalty (by electric chair) in both of these capitol cases." I had just been arraigned on capitol charges of murder with Malice Aforethought and Robbery by Assault with Firearms. I was born in San Antonio, Texas on August 10, 1943, the youngest of five children. My mother was a housewife and my father a shoemaker. We were raised as Roman Catholics and taught to worship idols, reverence images and so-called saints, confess our sins before a catholic priest, say a few hail Marys and our fathers and continue on in life without any internal change whatsoever. No one ever told us about Jesus' atoning death for a lost humanity. My father constantly arrived home drunk to beat up my mother which eventually resulted in their marriage separation when I was five and-one-half years of age. My mother was forced to work washing and ironing clothes. At the age of six-and-one-half years I took to the streets of San Antonio to sell pop bottles, old newspapers and cardboard and begin shining shoes in the streets and military bases in and around San Antonio to help with family expenses. I begin to associate and identify with other street children about my same age. Not long afterwards we were stealing toys from department stores for lack of money to buy them. At the age of ten I was sent to Southern School for Delinquent Boys for breaking windows followed by three more trips there for failure to attend school. Not that I resented school but because we didn't have good shoes and clothes I was ashamed to attend school looking like a tramp. I begin to sniff glue, lighter fluid, car gasoline, take barbiturates, and to drink at the age of eleven. At age twelve I began to smoke marijuana, joined the Austin Street Gang and begin injecting Heroin into my veins. It was at age sixteen that I lied about my age to join the Texas National Guard. Two years later I joined the United States Army, however, less than two years after my honorable discharge from the US Army I was in jail facing the electric chair for killing a man in an armed robbery. By the grace and mercy of God I was sentenced to life imprisonment on October 10, 1966. A few days later handcuffed and with chains on my feet I found myself in a prison bus bound for prison with my future destroyed by a sinful lifestyle.

IN PRISON WITHOUT CHRIST

Once in prison I immediately begin to lash out at the inhumane prison conditions such as: lack of adequate medical attention (which caused the lost and extraction of my left eye), physical beatings, slur remarks from the prison guards such as "nigger, wetback, Mexican, etc.", guards kicking at us and lashing out at us with bullwhips from their horses as we picked cotton, corn, beans, potatoes and other vegetables in the hot sun; frequent disciplinary actions without any type of hearing before being punished, forced to sleep on a concrete block for a bed in a dark solitary cell without food for extended periods of time and many other deplorable conditions to numerous to mention. I changed my religion from catholic to Buddhist and for seven years practiced zazen, the four noble truths, the eightfold path but seven years later I was still lost , bound for hell and an eternal lake of fire without Christ. We tried for years to change the deplorable prison conditions through the Federal Court System but later came to two conclusions: (1) religion can never change a person and (2) armed revolution is the only solution to the inconsistency in our government. I begin to identify with the Brown Power movement of the 1960's and to subscribe to militant and communist publications such as "The Guardian" from New York and "Peking Review" and "China Reconstructs" directly from the People's Republic of China We begin to persuade prisoners to our cause and when Christians would try to witness to me I would threaten them or beat them up. I remember beating up one Christian and banging his head against the prison cell bars until blood was flowing from his head and he was hollering for the guards to rescue him simply for speaking to me about Christ. During my frequent trips to solitary confinement punishment the guards would only allow us to have the Bible in our cell. I started reading the Bible to pass the time not aware that God, in His great love, was slowly planting His Word in my heart. It was years later, on April 16, 1978, that I attended a prison evangelistic meeting for the first time. A black minister preached on Saul of Tarsus persecuting Christians and about his subsequent conversion. That word went straight into my heart. After leaving the meeting I went to my prison cell, got on my knees, and said "God, I know I am a sinner and that I have destroyed my life through sin, but if you can use my life in anyway I surrender my life to You right now." At that moment I had an infection in my throat for one and-one -half year, a sore full of harden white pus. A nose, ear and throat specialist had told me I needed surgery. As I invited Jesus into my life all of a sudden all my breath left my body for a few moments and I fell an urge to vomit and when I did I vomited a white ball of hardened pus the size of an egg out of my mouth. When I looked in a mirror there was an opened wound in my throat but some 40 minutes later the wound completely disappeared and I was completely healed by the resurrected and glorified Christ. I begin to serve the Lord in prison, was baptized in the Holy Spirit, in water, and received my call into ministry while in prison and a confirmation to parole to Calvary Commission. In August 1982 I was paroled to Joe Fauss, Director and Founder of Calvary Commission. I was permitted to return to Leavenworth Federal Prison and the Texas Prison System as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In 1983 I was sent by my Calvary Commission leaders to the Texas Mexico border to pastor the Calvary Commission church there. In 1988 the Lord spoke to my heart to go to Mexico City to pioneer a work there. So in January 1989 my family and I moved to Mexico City. Through many financial trials and difficulties we were able to pioneer a Calvary Commission church in Mexico City that presently has four credential Calvary Commission ministers in in. In that church the Lord place four different tribal groups under our pastoral care: Otomie, Nahuatl, Chinanteco and Cuicateco. I have been privileged to travel with Joe Fauss to the Tarumara Indians of Chihuahua, Mexico; traveled with him to Belize and Guatemala, Central America, to Romania, and to tribal groups in the country of India. In 1994 the Lord began to challenge our heart to minister among some of the 255 tribal groups in Mexico. We made some exploratory mission trips and in July 1995 my family and I moved to Acaxochitlan, Hidalgo, Mexico, a Nahuatl tribal area, and began to develop relations with the tribals there. Later we begin building the Raul Clemente Flores Tribal Outreach Center (Raul, one of our disciples, drowned in the Llano river while on an outreach to the Chinanteco tribe in 1996). Presently our ministry has expanded to the Otomie as well. We have ministered among the Totonacas and in May plan to visit a Tepehua tribal group in Huehuetla, Hidalgo. In the future we plan to return to the state of Oaxaca and possibly the states of Guerrero and Chiapas.

I know from personal experience that God can take a murderer and turn him into a missionary. My question to you would be, "What does God want to turn you into?"

If God can change me He can change anyone.

   
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