Inspiring Okeechobee: Israel Medrano is a changed man

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
Israel and Modesta Medrano.

 

Inspiring people come in all shapes and forms, and sometimes what makes them inspiring is the fact that they have overcome or changed something about themselves. If you had met Israel Medrano 20 years ago, you probably wouldn’t have liked him very much or thought he was very inspiring at all, but Mr. Medrano is not the man he was then and he said he owes it all to God and his own family. When he was 14 he was an angry young man, struggled with depression and just felt like he hated the whole world. He met two older girls who introduced him to the world of drugs by giving him some cocaine to try, and he liked it. It was a way to escape his life, and before he knew it, he was hooked. It seemed like everyone around him was using drugs, but he didn’t know if it had always been that way or if his eyes were just suddenly opened to it.

When he was about 17 he moved away from Okeechobee. He was partying, stealing, beating people up. Eventually a friend’s parents had him Baker-acted because he had their son in his car and threatened to kill himself. While he was hospitalized he was put on medication for depression, but he just always felt like something was missing in his life and the depression never went away. He came back to Okeechobee and got a job and began working and living on his own. When he was 22 he met his wife, but he said he didn’t know how to be a husband. He thought as long as he worked and paid the bills, the rest of his time was his to do with as he pleased. He went out at night and on the weekends leaving his wife, Modesta, home alone.

He struggled with temper and began drinking. He would come home and punch the walls and throw things, busting up televisions. The depression never seemed to go away. Modesta would cry and ask him to pray with her. The culmination came, he explained, when their son was born. Modesta said: “You’re not going to get better. It’s time for me to take the kids and leave.” Why couldn’t he change?, he wondered. He tried and tried. He wasn’t sleeping and the depression was really bad so he finally called his mom and asked her to have him Baker acted. She did, and he spent three days in Port Saint Lucie where they put him on several different medications, but no matter what, he still felt like something was missing. Modesta suggested trying the “Jesus Thing.” They had been to church before and gotten nothing out of it, but he agreed to try it again. This time they went to More 2 Life, and he said his daughter’s teacher walked up and greeted them. The pastor said, “Some of you have been going to church. Now it’s time to pitch a tent and call this home.” He said he knew he wanted to give his life to the Lord. He got in his vehicle, and his wife hardly wanted anything to do with him anymore, but the more he focused on living for the Lord and trying to glorify Him, the better things got between him and his wife and him and his kids. He was a part of the church for a year and felt called to be a part of their jail ministry.

Since he has gotten clean and began going to church, he has lost a lot of friends, but that feeling of something being missing in his life is gone, he said. One of his favorite Bible verses is from Romans. Mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice. “I have gained so much living for Jesus and being a part of the body of Christ.” He doesn’t look for ways to get away from his wife and kids anymore. God and his family are the most important things in his life, and although he isn’t a perfect husband or father, he is doing his best to follow God now.

Cathy Womble is a staff writer for the Lake Okeechobee News.

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