(The Lawrence Mendoza Story)

Jesus Did It!

By: Lawrence Mendoza

I want people to know that there is a battle raging for the souls of men, women and children.  I want people to know that you can’t win the battle for your soul yourself.  You need God’s help.  Otherwise you’ll end up losing the battle like I almost did. 

At present I am a prison inmate at Great Meadow Maximum Security Prison in upstate New York.  Conforming to a standard established by judicial law, I am considered a three-time loser with no hope of rehabilitation at 38 years old.  I was not given the life sentence required by law only because “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). 

It was in September of 1998 -- in a prison cell facing life in prison – that I allowed God to take charge of my life … after so many years of resisting His will. 

First - a little about my past. I was born and raised in the Bronx section of New York City.  I was raised in a single parent home. I am the younger of two sons.  I became acquainted with emotional pain at age five to six, when my father died in a car accident.  After that, I lived in fear that my mother would unexpectedly leave also. 

Crime, violence and racial tension were rampart in my early years.  However, my mother found a way to shelter her two sons from the evil world around us. My brother and I were sent to Catholic school for the majority of our elementary years.  My mother took us to mass every Sunday and I eventually joined the church and became an altar boy for quite a few years.  As an altar boy I ended up in the church five and six days out of the week.  I felt a peace and calmness while I was there. My brother Jesse was an altar boy as well.

In my high school years my mother put her two sons through parochial school to shelter us from the outside world.  I attended Saint Michael Academy, where I excelled in basketball and football.  My identity was centered on my athletic abilities and academic standing.  I was well liked and praised for my athletic abilities and high academic standings by teachers as well as my peers and coaches.

Graduating included four years of Bible study.  I graduated with honors in 1981.  Instead of going away to college for sports, I decided to stay close to home and attended New York Institute of Technology.  I was going to become an architect and major in Architectural studies.  I eventually transferred to New York City Technical College.  I studied there for two years excelling in my studies. 

Thinking I was in love, I soon moved out on my own and had to find employment.  Working full time and attending college took its toll on me and I decided to drop out of college with a year and a half left.

Experiencing a series of bad relationships and dropping out of college - which was my dream and goal in life - I started becoming depressed.  I lost my purpose in life.  All my self-esteem was lost.  I considered myself a nobody and a failure headed for the crossroad, not knowing which direction to choose.

After a series of menial jobs and more broken relationships, I began to question my purpose in life.  I was meandering in a haze of mediocrity. 

Fleeing from the sheltered life I was accustomed to, my feelings of inadequacy led me on a mission, which was not from God.  At age 24 I smoked my first marijuana joint.  Within the next few days it was the harder drugs: cocaine, heroine, Dust (PCP), pills, and liquor.  I did not like the life that I was leading, nor did I appreciate the broken promises of the world’s love. 

It was in the summer of 1986 that I decided to end my miserable life.  I was walking in a drug haze.  I came to the Spyten Dyvaul Bridge, which connects the Bronx and Manhattan.  I climbed to the top.  As I straddled the beams, which was about 300 feet above the train tracks and Hudson River below, I told God that I was tired and “I’m ready to come home now.”

Within minutes I was surrounded by helicopters, firemen, police, and a camera crew.  As I was ready to jump, a rescue crewmember said, “God loves me” and quoted the 23rd Psalm. Shortly after that I heard my mother screaming up at me, “I love you, son.  Please don’t jump!”  I decided not to jump.

I was taken by ambulance to the psychiatric section of the hospital.  Having studied psychology 101 and abnormal psychology, I talked my way out of the nut house within days. 

My suicidal behavior and drug use continued for a few more weeks.  Depression, mental and emotional torment, along with my self-destructive rebellious ways was taking me on a one way, no- return ticket to hell.

I over-dosed on drugs purposely to end my life, only to come back to life through the use of a respirator and having my stomach pumped.  That same year, 1986, I jumped off a seven story building while on a drug binge, only to have my belt buckle caught on part of a fire escape; preventing my death, and being pulled to safety.  This episode took me back for another trip to the hospital, and I was treated with electric shock and medicine.

It was at this time I started building my arrest record, being arrested ten times in one month. My mother told me, “If you keep up this way of life you will not live to see your 25th birthday.”  She said, “I’m praying for you and other people are too.”

In was also in 1986, by God’s grace, that I ended up in a Christian church and heard the gospel preached.  I heard that liberating message of a new life in Jesus Christ.  My spiritual eyes were opened and I confessed my sins and asked Jesus Christ to come and be Lord of my life.  Tears of joy filled my heart. 


After experiencing a dimension of the life changing power of Christ, I thought that I could fight all my battles on my own.  I had no prayer life; no on-going Christian fellowship, and God’s Word was not a part of my life.

I managed to stay clean for about six months. However, I didn’t utilize the proper weapons to fight against Satan’s devices.  I refused to use the weapons God gives Christians to fight the spiritual battle they will be engaged in until death:

Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly place.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one, and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”  (Ephesians 6:12-18).

Fighting my battles on my own led to three consecutive prison terms.  I was sent to minimum-security prisons.  I violated my parole conditions every time and was sent back to finish the remainder of my sentence.

Later in 1998,  after a high speed chase with state troopers and being pursued with police helicopters, I was arrested and charged with seven felonies.  This was the result of driving in a stolen vehicle.

The judge, the D.A., and my lawyer told me that under the new sentencing law and being a persistent felony offender, I was facing a minimum of 15 years to life in prison.  While in a maximum security county jail I attempted to escape, which resulted in an additional 7 years. 

Finally, in September 1998, in a cell for high profile cases,  I bowed down on my knees and I cried out to the Lord in prayer.  I prayed like I never prayed before, and asked Jesus Christ to take control of my life once again.  I asked him to take control of my present situation.  I prayed for strength to go on despite the life sentence I was facing.  I asked Him for wisdom and knowledge to do His will, and I asked Him to forgive me for all my sins and for trying to live life on my own.

I will be released in ten more months (near 2002), and God delivered me from a life sentence.  I regularly attend Bible study here at Great Meadow with other Holy Ghost filled believers.  I study God Word daily for hours and I have a strong spiritual relationship with the Lord through prayer.  In six more months I will have completed my Associate of Religious Education degree, which has manifested God’s Word in my life.

Now that I strive daily to allow Jesus Christ full control of my life, I just rest in His peace.  I have the Holy Spirit’s power now, and I don’t lean on my own.  I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed.  I have stepped over the obstacle of fear, of doubt, and of low self-esteem.  I know that I’m crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I but, Christ in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20).

I know now through God’s Word, “that if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Cor. 5:17). I now strive to live by faith in God’s Word; uplifted by prayer, and seek to labor with Holy Spirit power and direction. My heart’s desire is to constantly be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might and not my own.

Three years ago the state issued to me my temporary green clothing, with the number 99A-4250 written on them.  Today I walk with the new clothes of Christ, which are eternal clothes, to fight the spiritual battle.  By faith, I wear the “holy robes of righteousness,” (See Revelation Chapters 6 & 7) given to me when I turned all my life over to Jesus Christ.  

Thank you for taking the time to read my testimony.  To God be all the glory!  If you would like to contact me, you may do so at:

Lawrence Mendoza  DIN#04A-266A
Clinton Correctional Facility
PO Box 2001
Dannemora, New York  12929

Update - 07-06-06:  We just received this letter from brother Lawrence and we want to thank God mightily for its contents:

In 1999 while in Great Meadow Prison I had sent you my personal testimony for Christ and you posted it on the Precious Testimonies website.  It was only through the abundant grace of our Lord that my son ... who I have not seen in 20 years ... read my testimony on your website.  He contacted you and your wife concerning me.  My son told me that you and your wife helped him locate me here at Clinton Correctional Facility.

I receive my first letter from my son in January 2006.  I cried tears of joy for quite sometime.  Word's can't express how thankful I am to you and your wife for keeping my testimony on the internet.  The Lord has answered my prayer concerning my only son who is 24 years old now.  The best part of it all is that he is born again and filled with the Holy Spirit!

I will be released again in about five months if it is God's will.  I have been staying strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10) and I have been studying the Word diligently (2 Timothy 2:15).

My testimony for Jesus is far from over.  I will send you a new one when I'm released.  If anyone wants to contact me it is okay to give this address. 

Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart, and may God richly bless you!


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