JESUS IS ALIVE : A Living Testimony of Danny Velasco
JESUS IS ALIVE: A LIVING TESTIMONY OF DANNY VELASCO
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the door locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, He showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Jesus Christ has risen to life! This is one of the greatest truth of Christianity. A Christian’s hope is not in vain, his glorious destiny is sure. Because of Christ resurrection, a Christian has a living hope. Because the redeemer lives, he hears our cries and agonies in this life. Because Jesus is alive, we have an ever present help in all our troubles.
To prove that Jesus is alive today, allow me to share with you the life testimony of Danny Velasco. This testimony is an excerpt from the book “The Breakthrough Prayer” written by Jim Cymbala, Senior Pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle Church, New York.
In a deserted street in the Bronx at three o’clock in the morning, right outside a New York City hospital, a 44 year old man lies in the gutter waiting for the hospital to open. He is wanting not to get well, but to die. Danny Velasco is living in pitiful and hopeless condition. He is a homeless heroine addict ready to die.
Danny’s life started as a normal, well-adjusted kid with a younger brother and two step sisters, a kid who knew he had a talent for something. In his case, his talent was for styling hair.
When Danny Velasco was at the age of seventeen, he was hired by Berdorf Goodman’s, an exclusive department store. He was the youngest hairdresser and make-up artist in the store’s history. It was not long before he styled the hair of a model who was then photographed by SEVENTEEN magazine. From then on, he was determined to have his artistry showcased by the most beautiful women in the world, captured on film by the most gifted photographers. That way his talent could be exposed to the whole world.
When he was twenty one, he was travelling around the country conducting seminars for other hairdressers when he experienced panic-attack. Immediately he consulted a doctor who prescribed him valium. He found out that valium went down best with large doses of vodka. Soon he was drunk nightly but able somehow to function during the day.
By his late twenties, his career had stagnated. Feeling restless, he decided to move to Paris. Although he arrived in the fashion capital with no prospective employers, doors suddenly opened and opportunities exploded for him almost overnight. His works appeared on the cover of dozens of fashion magazines. He had a gorgeous apartment in Paris and he was earning tons of money/ He had reached the pinnacle of his profession.
Four years later, he returned to New York as someone in tremendous demand within the industry. Having earned his ticket to stardom, he could easily make $3,000 a day working on beautiful models from around the world. He rented a 5,000 square foot lift in the city. But what no one knew was that he had brought something else back from Paris with him – an addition to heroine.
So here in New York City, he was a successful hairdresser and make-up artist by day, but a drug fiend by night.
According to his own words,
“Most nights I would dress ‘down’, roaming the streets of the lower Eastside, and it wasn’t long before arrests and missing work became a problem. I was two people of sometime enjoying euphonic highs and suffering devastating lows, travelling with celebrities on private jets and staying in plush hotels. But the artificial bubble ended every time I returned home.”
One day, a beautiful red headed model on a photo shot began to talk to him about God. The model asked him to do some private work on the side, cutting hair for her and some friends, and she also invited Danny Velasco to her church. Her name is Wanda, a choir member of a BrooklynTabernacleChurch.
Later Danny went to the Wanda’s apartment and styled her and her room mates’s hair. Before he left, Wanda asked if they could pray for him. Wanda said to him, Danny, the day you call on the name of the Lord, you will be set free.”
Danny Velasco confessed,
“Whatever she meant, I knew it would never happen to me. I had already been in and out at eight or nine detox programs and nothing had worked. No way any of this ‘miracle stuff’’ could change me. Once a dope fiend, always a dope fiend, I reasoned. If that’s the way you lived, then that’s the way you died. My life was hopeless and I knew it. I continued to see Wanda regularly in the workplace and she kept telling me about Jesus. She was sweet but real fanatic.”
On a photo shoot, in the Caribbean, things started getting totally out of control. Danny overdosed out on a boat and the Coast Guard had to be called in to evacuate him for medical treatment. Because of this incident, Danny’s career nose-dived straight into the ground. He went from making thousands of dollars a day to nothing and credit problems mounted.
Then one day, Danny could not take the pressure any longer. He took his driver’s license, passport, credit cards and other ID’s and he had them cut into pieces. Then he walked out of his apartment and began to live in the street.
“At that point I had no friends and did not even have a quarter to my name. Each morning I would awake drug sick, caring on questions that faced me: where would I get my drugs that day, and what would I have to do to get the money to buy them? That’s how I lived for the next three years.”
One day Danny called his agent collect from a payphone, she told him that someone named Wanda was trying to reach him. When he made a return call to Wanda. Wanda asked if he could come over to cut hair for her and a few friends. Danny agreed but he asked for advance payment. Wanda wanted to help but said he have to meet her at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, her church. Dirty he was, Danny showed up at the church, and Wanda handed him the money inside a Bible. He used the money to buy drugs and sold the Bible within an hour of leaving the church.
“When I arrived at Wanda’s place the next day, she had other five fanatical Christians waiting to have their hair done. I realize now that it was a Holy Ghost ambush. Before I left, they circled around me, praying so hard it made me think, They really believe in this stuff! And there’s five of them on me now. I did not believe in whatever nonsense they were into, so I left as soon as I could and returned to the street.”
After that, Danny’s phobias only got worse and he begun suffering from anxiety that literally immobilized him. Then the voices started. At first, he heard a few speaking tom him in the head. Before long they were screaming at me incessantly. He became like an animal in the street, muttering or a yelling out a stream of propensity as people passed by. By then Danny Velasco looked like a skeleton covered with sores and abscesses. He had contracted hepatitis A, B and C and by the time he reached that hospital in Bronx, he could not even stand up straight.
That particular hospital closed down during the night. Danny only hoped the staff would let him in to die a decent death, because he did not want to die in the street.
“Finally the door opened, and I was admitted and someone gave me an injection that knocked me out. When I wake up, I found myself in a bed, covered in my own vomit. Suddenly all the voices in my head started screaming creating total chaos within me. I was so disoriented, I wanted to die. But I could not jump out of the window because they were barred.
Then in the midst of all my pain, something or someone whispered words I had heard before” The day you call on the Lord, he will set you free? All other voices tried to drown it out, but they couldn’t! I don’t know if it was an angel or the Holy Spirit, but the words came through clearly: ‘The day you call on the Lord, he will set you free.’ In absolute desperation I screamed from my bed, ‘Jesus help me! O God, help me with everything! You’re my only hope, so please help, Jesus! I did not understand anything about prayer, so I even used ‘personal references’ as I cried out: ‘Jesus, Wanda said that when I called on your name, you would deliver me. So help me now, O God.’
At that moment Almighty God swept over me and around me. I knew he was real because all the voices in my head suddenly stopped their hellish screaming and the ball of fear that had been weighing on me was lifted. I knew everything had changed even through nothing outwardly had. I was still lying in my vomit in a hospital bed in the Bronx. But I was a million miles from where I had been before I said that prayer. The day I called on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, he did set me free.”
Danny Velasco went from that hospital in the Bronx to a three-month rehab program. He gained thirty-five pounds and his body began to heal. From there he ended up in a Christian program in upstate New York where he devoured the Word of God like a man filled with spiritual hunger.
In more than eight years, since his conversion, Danny’s spiritual growth has been strong and steady. He has a compassion for people who are hurting and shows gift for public speaking and ministry. Today Danny Velasco also belongs to the Brooklyn Tabernacle choir and singing in the two services every Sunday.
Truly Danny Velasco’s testimony is a living proof that Jesus is alive today and will continue to work miracles and will continue to set people free.
Written By : Ptr. Jim Cymbala
Senior Pastor of BrooklynTabernacleChurch