Daniel Menjivar came to Canada in 1987 from El Salvador where there was a civil war. He was looking for a safe place to live, free from persecution for political beliefs or discrimination for race or religion. Facing a death squad was extra motivation.


I met Daniel Menjivar at North Pointe a decade ago. Daniel is a pastor in Edmonton. He supports pastors in Cuba. Daniel told me about collecting bicycles to ship to Cuba for pastors to use as their solitary mode of transportation.

His real life encounter with a death squad sounded like something out of movie.


Death Sqaud

In 1983, on an October day at dawn, the death squad army unit came to my house. I lived there with my wife and one-year-old daughter. They had strict order to kill me and 59 other civilians from the neighbourhood who opposed the government for the massacres and injustices they committed to our people.

They came to my room and tortured me in front of my wife and daughter, not caring for the pleadings and tears of my family. I knew that my life was about to end.

The soldiers left me in my room to search other places in the house. At that moment when you are trapped and about to be killed, you take time to reflect. I knelt beside my bed and, from the bottom of my heart, I had a conversation with God.

Conversation With God

I said, “Lord, I know that I have not served you, that even though I grew up in a Christian family and I should know better, I run away from you. But at this moment, knowing that I do not deserve anything, I ask you, Lord, if it is your will to save me.”
When I finished praying, I had a sensation that I was ready and in God’s grace and soon, in few minutes, I will be received with open arms by Him in heaven.

The death squad unit took me out of the room and put me against a brick wall. Three men with automatic rifles raised their weapons, aiming at me. In that moment, where every second seemed an eternity.

I looked at the end tips of their rifles and thought, “I hope those bullets hit my heart or my brain so it will be over soon.”

At that instant, from nowhere in the darkness, came a loud voice that spoke with authority: “Boys, stop, let’s go.”

It was the death squad commander. They left, and I was left there, alive in disbelief. I had just witnessed the first miracle in my life.

Spared For a Purpose

Now, I have become a pastor working in missions in Cuba and working for the City of Edmonton as a truck driver. I know God spared my life to touch others and encourage them to never give up.

Sometimes we face injustice and hard situations in life; it may be discrimination or persecution for your political or religious beliefs, sickness, emotional, financial or even drug problems.When things look ugly and everything seems lost, if you put your trust in God from the bottom of your heart, He will be there to rescue you from whatever situation.

Please leave a comment for Daniel. Thank you.

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3 Comments

  • Lucia Garies says:

    And this is the reason that we should be voting and being aware of what our governments are doing. We, as Canadians take our freedom for granted and should take stories like Daniels’ to heart and realize that we are not immune from political unrest. Thank you for sharing.

  • Stephanie L says:

    I really liked this experience. It looked bad and ended with a miracle. If you stick with God you wont get rosey skies but you’ll end up getting a miracle at times and the points where u need it the most. What an amazing friend we have:) He really does prove his faithfullness. I felt that way with a relationship I had before I got married. I went through things and everyday I thought I might die but God did the same thing, he gave me grace when I needed it and I was truly thankful.

  • Ray says:

    “Sometimes we face injustice and hard situations in life; it may be discrimination or persecution for your political or religious beliefs, sickness, emotional, financial or even drug problems.
    When things look ugly and everything seems lost, if you put your trust in God from the bottom of your heart, He will be there to rescue you from whatever situation”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ :
    These words from Dan resonates strongly with me….I faced almost certain financial ruin when my employer , who in February 2011 decided to cut my shift hours from the usual 40 a week down to a paltry 25 to 30. It became unbearably tough to eke out any sort of survivability – this is a function and result of discriminatory practices and the cultural of bias against workers who threaten the existence of others.
    Obedience in God – Total surrender to Him, Total trust and faith in Him – it was critical for me to leave it at His feet and pass EVERYTHING into His Hands. Trust , Obey and walk off from that situation – and guess what ? God came through – He provided the next thing for me to move on to – with more than 40 hours a week if I wanted and a trebling of my 2010 gross salary, surpassing my most extravagant dreams of earning those “bigger dollars” in order to climb back from the brink of bankruptcy, pay down debts, sustain my children’s living requirements and lifestyles , and most importantly of all the chance to resume tithing in a material fashion all over again…..I am encouraged at Dan’s sharing. I can relate to his closing statement here.
    But Christ is Risen, and death has lost its sting and hell has lost its victory (AMEN!)
    We are One with Him again.
    He has made everything beautiful (again) in its time.
    Today, right after Easter Sunday’s choir participation, in my heart of hearts, I have a new lease in life in a new career and also every reason to rejoice and testify that indeed, I do serve and worship a Living God who listens to our cries while we continue to walk with Him, sing His praises, obey and worship Him as our King.

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