Protestant minister shares story of abuse and redemption in book

August 30, 1998|By John Rivera | John Rivera,SUN STAFF

The Rev. Angel L. Nunez grew up on the streets of the South Bronx, abandoned by his father and orphaned with the death of his mother.

After enduring a childhood filled with abuse by his guardians, Nunez began dealing cocaine and marijuana at age 14. By the time he was 19, after a short stint in jail, he had dedicated his life to Jesus and was on his way to becoming a minister.

Nunez, senior pastor of the Spanish Christian Church in Highlandtown, tells the story of his transformation in "Let Me Live Again: The Morning After the Storm," which he wrote with the help of evangelist David Alsobrook. It was published earlier this summer.

"My story is, I needed somebody to love me. My father abandoned me, my mother died. I needed somebody to love me," Nunez said.

Nunez's book opens with the death of his mother from cancer when he was 8 years old. He said he still feels the pain of that early loss. "It's amazing, because I'm 43 years old and I miss my mother," he said.

Nunez and his older sister were taken in for a time by an aunt and an uncle, who physically abused them. They were eventually sent to a foster home, where Nunez had to learn to fight to survive.

He left the foster home to live with his sister, and eventually on his own as he got further into dealing and using drugs. But at age 19, with the aid of a friend, he went through a religious conversion.

Nunez eventually became a minister, but his trials were not over. His first marriage ended after he discovered his wife was having an affair with his best friend. He eventually divorced her and married the daughter of a minister who was his mentor. As a result, his denomination, the Assemblies of God, which does not permit its ministers to divorce and remarry, expelled him.

Nunez says he has found happiness in his ministry and in his marriage to Deborah Nunez, who is co-pastor of the church. Nunez said he bears no ill will to the Assemblies of God. "So many other doors opened for us," he said.

Pub Date: 8/30/98

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