Serving the community: Rick Bajaran

HARLINGEN — He was at the point he wanted to end his life and just give up.

San Benito resident Rick Bajaran, 36, couldn’t take it anymore and he was angry about everything in his life.

But one morning after a night of drinking he began to cry and ask God, why?

Just as in the story of Job in the Bible, Rick wept with sorrow.

“I cried for 15 to 20 minutes. At that point I was so deep into drugs and then I felt a warm embrace,” he said.

The next thing Rick did was turn on the TV some time before dawn, and Pastor Kevin Ortiz from Faith Pleases God Church in Harlingen was on.

Rick recalls Pastor Kevin asking the viewers if they were going through depression or leading a sinner’s life. He continued, “I’m here to tell you Jesus loves you and if any one of you are lost out there suffering or tired of your life, just give yourself to Jesus.”

Rick said Pastor Kevin recited the prayer of salvation, and that was all it took.

Rick was hooked on Jesus and he sought out Pastor Kevin and his church.

“I had been in and out of the hospital and mental institutions,” Rick said.

He believes he would have been dead or locked up if he had not heard Pastor Kevin that day.

“I was just full of anger and hatred,” Rick said. “And I just wanted to hurt everybody.”

Now Rick is pleasant and leads the food ministry for the church.

“Now God is using me and he taught me how to love again,” Rick said.

His wife is in charge of doing all the paperwork for the food ministry. And he organizes the food distribution for the church every week until it’s all gone.

“We’re looking for the resources to give more,” Rick said.

“The church gives $600 of food away per week to the needy. Last year we served over 33,000 people.”

The church food pantry is open Fridays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Faith Pleases God Church in Harlingen located on West Expressway 83.

“These days we just have 12 volunteers, but God sends us people to help,” Rick said. “I see my enemies coming here and I go with them and I pray with them and it’s something they never expected.”

Change wasn’t an easy road for Rick.

When he first got saved — baptized — he started being home more. His kids would ask him, dad, what are you doing home? It wasn’t normal for him to be around. And at first his wife wouldn’t go with him to church.

He attended church for five months alone while he was changing his ways.

He is proud to say he was the first one in his family to get saved. And now there are 16 of his extended family who were also saved and are attending church.

“God can heal, God can restore, God can provide, and it’s amazing,” Rick said.