He Killed My Sister! 

I Shook The Hand That Killed My Sister

By Arnold Munoz

I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for giving me a new heart. For taking the heart of stone out of me and putting in me a heart with love and compassion. I thank Him for giving me a heart that allowed me to love and forgive the man who killed my sister

My name is Arnold Munoz and I?m a convicted murderer, at the time of this testimony I am 38 years old and have already spent 16 years of my life in prison. The last time I was in prison I was serving a 25-year sentence for two murders and one attempted murder. Of those 25 years, I served 11 years. I am now serving a life sentence for another murder and an attempted murder. I do not use drugs and I am not a thief, my friends ask me if I don?t do drugs and I don?t drink, then why do I get into trouble? The problem is that I have always had a revengeful nature. As a child if anyone would offend me, I would get even.

HE STABBED HER?HE BROKE HER RIBS

I don?t know why I have this violent nature ? sometimes I think it was the much violence I experienced as a child that led to my violent nature. But, if that is the case, then why do my brother and sisters not have the same violent nature that I have? When I look back on my life I realize that I didn?t believe in God, I didn?t have God in my life. The violence that I speak about was the severe beatings my stepfather would inflict on my mother. Several times he stabbed her, once he broke her ribs ? I also saw my mother stab him on several occasions. I saw my stepfather get into several knife fights. I saw him get stabbed, I also saw him stab several men. He was stabbed to death when I was 17-years old.

The first thing that came to mind when he was stabbed to death was, "I have to get even." It took me two years to find the man that killed him. At that time I killed two men and wounded another one during the shooting. For that crime I got sentenced 25 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, of which, I served 11 years. While I was serving time on that sentence I was notified that one of my younger sisters had been shot to death?that was in 1980. I promised that I would get even with the man that killed her and I would look forward to the day that I would get the revenge. "One day, one day," I would say to myself, "one day I will get my revenge." In the meantime I had so much hatred for this man that the only way I could vent this hatred was to pick a fight with someone else. I picked a fight with another inmate and I stabbed him. In 1983 I was released from prison. When I was released I had the attitude that I could do anything on the streets. I had a good education, fast car, I had a good job, I figured the sky was the limit. I was one that always wanted women and money. I wasn?t rich but I had enough money to do the things I wanted, at least what I thought was fun at the time. I stayed out of prison three years. At that time I didn?t believe in God and I would have nothing to do with anybody that did believe in God. When anybody would talk to me about God I would rebel. I believe the thought of God was a fantasy, something that the government had put out to keep the poor people oppressed. I just wouldn?t believe, I didn?t want to believe in God. One day, I don?t know why, I called out to God. I don?t know why, like I said, I didn?t believe in Him. I just stood there looking out at the ocean and I said, "Lord, I?ve got everything I ever wanted, but I?m not happy. If you exist God, would you show yourself to me? Just show me, Lord, if you exist."

I forgot about that prayer as the day passed on, I went on home and about 7?o?clock that night this friend of mine that was in prison with me came by. He had turned his life over to Jesus Christ. He came in and he told me these words, "Brother, God heard your prayer and He sent me to talk to you." I got chills all over my body because I remembered that I had prayed to God earlier that day. But still, I was so imprisoned by things of the world that I told him, "Man, I don?t believe in God. God is a myth, there is no such thing as God and Jesus Christ?and the Devil, that?s a myth."

I THOUGHT IT WAS A FANTASY

This Brother looked at me and said, "Brother, God told me to tell you, that there is a battle for your soul and God wants you to know that if you don?t turn your life over to Him now that you will be in a situation where you will turn your life over to Him." I said, I don?t believe that, I just couldn?t believe, I thought it was a fantasy. A few months later when I was convicted of the murder that I am serving time for now, I remembered that man told me that I was going to be in a position where I would turn my life over to God. But still, I thought I could get myself out of whatever situation I got myself in and I still didn?t want to call on God. When I received this life sentence I just couldn?t call on him. I remembered something my mother told me while I was in the county jail that made me start searching for the Lord. She said, "Son, you are killing me. Every time you hurt somebody you are doing it to me. Call on God and He?ll change you."

I wanted to call on God but I had such hatred for the man that killed my sister and that had been 7-years ago. But I still had such hatred in my heart for this man. Now that I was serving a life sentence I figured I had nothing to lose. I said this man is in prison, I am in prison, I?ll get my revenge, then I?ll turn my life over to God. I even asked the prison administrators to send me to the Eastham unit?the man who killed my sister was at Eastham. The prison officials looked at my record and said I could not go to Eastham because the man who killed my sister was there. Later, I tried about two or three times to get transferred to Eastham, but they would not allow it. So, I said to myself, I?m doing a life sentence, he?s doing a life sentence, sooner or later I will meet up with him?in the meantime, I need to start calling on God. It surprised me that every time I called on Him, every time, He answered my prayer.

I WENT TO MY CELL AND GOT MY KNIFE

I remember one time down on the Retrieve unit I had gotten into an argument with another inmate. The first thing that came to my mind was that I had to kill him before he killed me. I went to my cell and got my knife (homemade) and put it in my waistband. I was standing in my cell waiting for the cell doors to open and I remembered what my mother had told me in the county jail. I knelt down and I said, "Lord, this is it. I don?t want to hurt anybody anymore. Help me, Lord. I know you are there, I know you are listening to me. Just help me, Lord come to me. Don?t let me do this, you know what I am capable of doing, Lord." I don?t know what else I told Him but I know I prayed to Him.

I could hear the other cell doors open and the inmates going out of their cell. I said, "Lord, don?t let this cell door open." My cell door didn?t open! I looked over toward my bunk and I saw my Bible laying on the bunk. I went and layed down and hugged my Bible. I started crying. "Thank you God for not letting that cell door open." The next day I got up and went and threw my knife away. I never saw the man I had the argument with again. I don?t know what happened to him, I know that no one knew I had this problem with him ? just this man, me and the Lord. The only conclusion was that my God had come and solved the problem for me!

IF I?M BACKED INTO A CORNER

Then I started to walk with the Lord. I had this desire to walk with Him and to do the right things for His Glory. Sometime later I had been transferred to the Ramsey 1 unit and I remember praying, "Lord, I want to follow you but I don?t know if I?m for real. I don?t know what would happen if I?m tested. If I?m backed into a corner Lord, I don?t know what I will do. I want you to test me, try my heart, Lord. See if I am for real. That?s the only way I will know how sincere I am."

A short while later I was working in fields, it was a hot day and the wind was blowing ? I heard this voice. It was clear, a clear voice that said, "You are going to shake the hand that killed your sister." I looked up into the sky, I felt so small. I knew that without a doubt God was calling me for what He wanted me to do. I said, "Lord, I can do it, I will do it, but first, Lord, let me get this revenge that I have been seeking for so long and then Lord, I will turn my life over to you."

YOU WILL SHAKE THE HAND?

That voice persisted, at work, at school, even in my dreams I would hear the voice, "You will shake the hand that killed your sister." Finally, I could not resist the call, I said, "Lord, do whatever you want with that. If you want me to shake that man?s hand then make a way for us to meet." But in my heart I said I had fooled God. I knew my prison record said that I could not go to Eastham?I was mistaken, I was not fooling God, within a week I had been transferred to the Eastham unit. I knelt and I prayed with tears in my eyes, I cried and said, "Lord, I have never been through anything like this. I don?t know if I will respond or just react with this man. Help me, Lord, You are going to have to help me." I arrived at the Eastham unit on a Thursday, September 8, 1988. I remember I could feel two presence? walking with me, all that Thursday and on Friday. One Presence was that of the Lord Jesus Christ, reminding me to be patient and encouraging me that everything would be fine. The other presence was Satan, telling me to get even ? that I had waited so long for this revenge that I had to get even.

GOD SENT ME HERE TO CHANGE ME

On Saturday, September 10, at 9 o?clock in the morning I went to church. The Chaplain asked if there were any men who had come from another unit. I stood up and said, God has brought me to Eastham to change my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh." The congregation looked at me like I must be crazy. At 10 o?clock I knew instantly that the man who killed my sister was in the chapel. Even though I had never seen him and did not know him, there was an evil presence ? Satan was there! When I saw this man he was directing the choir. I sat behind him ?he was standing in front of me directing the choir ? his back was to me. I felt Satan?s presence so strong, I had so much hatred for this man. All this hatred I had for all of these years was about to burst out. I remember I could see my sister lying in a puddle of blood and I could imagine my mother crying over my sister. Satan was telling me, "You must get even."

I FELT THE PRESENCE OF SATAN LEAVE

I was crying, I wanted this revenge. But, then, I remembered that my God had brought me to Eastham to change my heart. I started praying and crying, "I can?t do it, Lord. Help me, I can?t do it without you." At that very moment I felt the presence of Satan leave! I felt a peace and joy come over me that I had never felt before. I felt as if my God had hugged me and as if Jesus had His arms around me and was telling me?telling me to forgive. He was right there with me! There is no doubt in my mind that He was right there with me. Then I looked at this man and I didn?t hate him anymore. I realized, I didn?t hate him any more, that I had love and compassion for the man. I wanted to get up and hug him and tell him to forgive me. I was confused and I said, "God, what do I do now?" I felt as if Jesus was leading me by the hand I got up and I tapped him on the shoulder. I said, "I have got to talk to you right now." The man turned and said, "I?m busy." Then I said, "God wants me to talk to you right now."

WHAT HE TOLD ME TO DO I?M ABOUT TO DO

We walked to the middle of the isle and I looked at him and said, "God brought me to Eastham for a purpose. He told me I was going to do something, and what He told me to do is about to happen. I am going to be obedient, I have to be obedient." He looked at me with surprise in his eyes. I told him, "Brother, God told me I was going to shake the hand that killed my sister." Then I shook his hand. I started crying because I had done something that I thought I would never be capable of doing. I hugged him and I cried in his ear, "Brother, forgive me for all of the times I thought about killing you."

We cried, we hugged each other and we asked each other?s forgiveness. I know that my God was there with me, even now as I share this I feel His Presence and I know He is with me now. A few weeks later, my mother came to visit me and my brother in Christ. I remember the words that she told him. She said, "Son, you might have killed my daughter but now you are my son and your wife is my daughter. God has given me a larger family." She hugged him and kissed him. Here is this woman who had stabbed several and had been stabbed. Here was a lady who always had to get her revenge and she was hugging the man, forgiving the man that killed her daughter. God had done a miracle!

HE CHANGED MY HEART OF STONE

Now the relationship between this man and me is stronger than the relationship with my natural brothers and sisters. It is a relationship that God has made. This is something that cannot be destroyed. God knows that I have no hatred toward this man or his family and I know that he has no hatred for me or my family. When I think of what God has done, how He changed my heart of stone, a scripture comes to my mind. In Ezekiel 36:26 the Lord says that He will take out the heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh. He gives us a new spirit. Another scripture says, whenever you pray, to forgive, to ask God to forgive us and I know that on September 10, 1988, God removed my heart of stone and gave me a heart of flesh. He made us one, He made me, my mother and the man who killed my sister one in Him. I am serving a life sentence and the courts say I will never get out, but it doesn?t matter anymore. It doesn?t bother me that I am serving this life sentence, I have seen what the Lord has done in my life and in the life of others and I pray He continue to use me to bring others to Him. If I must be here the rest of my life I know He will be with me. I?ve got no reason to worry.

Before I close this testimony, if there is anybody that you need to forgive, you must forgive them. I know it is difficult but with the help of Jesus Christ, you can do it. He will give you the courage to do it. Satan told me I couldn?t forgive, my friends told me I couldn?t forgive and I told myself I couldn?t forgive. But God said, "Son, you can forgive." I thank my Lord Jesus Christ for saving me and for saving my mother, I pray that this testimony will help bring others into the Kingdom. I love you and I want you to know my Jesus. In Jesus Name, Arnold Munoz