Yokefellows volunteer, Carlos Caguias, knows what its like to be shackled, locked up, locked down, and alone. He’s been addicted to drugs and alcohol, blinded by rage, and filled with the fury to kill. He should have died 100 times.
But through it all, Carlos believes God sanctified him, protected him, and finally, called him as it says in Jude .
“….to them that are sanctified by God the Father,
and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:
Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.”
Born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York City, Carlos first went to jail at age 15 for smoking reefer. His girlfriend bailed him out for $25. At age 17, he was sentenced to 4 years for armed robbery. Paroled after 2½ years he remained on the streets for one year. At age 20, he was convicted of 14 burglaries and served less than one year. He was paroled to Pottstown PA to live with his sister and continued to steal to supplement his drug habit. For ten years he didn’t get caught. Then he lost his regular job and reluctantly started selling drugs, as Satan whispered, “just to pay a few bills.” He got greedy and began raking in the cash, buying a quarter for $600 and selling it for $1,200. He owned 5 cars, 2 motorcycles, and an apartment filled with luxuries.
Two years later, surrounded by riches and women, he weighed 100 pounds and was so strung out on drugs that he didn’t sleep for three days. He cried out to God for help and God sent an undercover cop. “I knew it was God because I hadn’t sold to anyone I didn’t know for 10 years,” Carlos explained. Six weeks later, he was in jail.
Driven by his lifetime addiction he would shake the cell bars screaming for a hit at all hours of the day and night. On Sept 25, 1990, while searching for a radio station, the static miraculously disappeared and Carlos heard the testimony of a felon broadcast on Chaplain Ray’s ministry in Texas.
Carlos began to cry, “It felt like 1,000 pounds was lifted off of me. The bitterness and hatred left and God filled me up.” Carlos adds, “God then immediately took my desires for drugs away.”
Carlos developed a thirst for the Word that couldn’t be quenched. He studied incessantly. He wrote to Chaplain Ray who sent him books on other inmates who were given new lives in Christ. With his self-acquired knowledge he started his own bible study. When there were 5 inmates in the study, the Lieutenant told them to stop. So they broke up into small groups and stood 10-15’ apart so they could hear everything anyone said. When Carlos was released in ‘91 there were 35 inmates in the study.
Carlos’ advice to inmates prior to release is “Don’t leave God behind. You must surrender to God completely. Not just 99 percent. And, don’t try to convert your old friends.”
Since ‘97, Carlos has volunteered at Huntingdon County prison and SCI Smithfield. Carlos has his own home, a loving wife Lydia, and a son. Three years ago Carlos was diagnosed with liver cancer and is awaiting a liver transplant. During his illness, on his good days, he continued to minister behind bars and to everyone who crosses his path, encouraging others to share the Good News. His spirits are high and now more than ever he is relying upon the peace and love of Jesus Christ, his savior. (see Jude 1:2 above).