From the Gates of Hell…

I haven’t blogged for the past several days due my friend going home to be with our Lord and Savior.  However, after a tiring day, I felt it was necessary to start the path of continuing his story.  Here is a short version of his life and times.

Peter Alvarez was born in one of the most perilous neighborhoods in New York City, Hell’s Kitchen.  Like so many others, his childhood was filled with problems.  Alcoholism, abuse, drug use and prostitution were rampant where Peter was from.  At age 8, he was kicked out of his apartment by his drunk father to wander the streets of NYC.  Most nights, a prostitute had seen Peter, taken him to a hotel room and gave him a cup of coffee and something to eat.  Later in the night, Peter would sneak back into his room to get some sleep.

At age 16, Peter left home.  He wanted to pursue his dream of wealth, fame and fortune.  He remembered something his grandmother said, “You never will have any friends who care except the dollar in your pocket.”  So Peter pursued his dream of getting as much money as he could.

At age 18, Peter entered the United States Navy.  During the time of his service, Peter was on a ship, where he fell down the cold, hard steel stairs.  The injuries he sustained ended up placing him in a coma for more than 30 days.  When he awoke, he couldn’t see properly, had a nasty ringing in his ears and didn’t know where he was or what had happened.  The military doctors explained what had happened, but Peter didn’t remember.  After he was able to sustain himself, by himself, the military gave him a full disability discharge.

After his discharge, Peter went back to what he knew, Hell’s Kitchen.  Seeing and remembering what he had been through before, Peter said, “I will never end up here again.  I will leave this place one day and become successful.”  After a few years, Peter met a woman who he felt was the one.  Peter told me, “When I took her hand into mine, I knew she was the one.”  Her name was Charlotte.

Peter and Charlotte traveled the world.  They went to England, France, Germany and many other places in Europe.  Both enjoyed each other for many years.  Like many marriages, there were ups and downs, but in the end, Peter knew that Charlotte would never leave him.  Charlotte gave to Peter something he never had as a child.  Love.

He had never experienced this feeling before.  Someone loved him.  So Peter continued to live his life with two values.  First, to love Charlotte with all he was.  Second, to make as much money as possible at it would be his only friend.

Many years passed by and Peter and Charlotte did things that most people dreamed of.  Peter went to Fordham University to get his degree while Charlotte worked.  During his tenure at Fordham, Peter realized that becoming a lawyer was not for him, so he decided to pursue his childhood dream of acting.

Peter and Charlotte entered acting school in New York City.  Immediately, Peter knew he was supposed to be an actor.  He loved that atmosphere, the lights, the stage, the way he could get lost in character.  No matter what others thought, Peter wanted to please others by entertaining them.

Peter had been in many movies, TV shows and plays.  Although Peter was never a superstar, he had been around some of the top actors like Jack Lemmon.  Peter took on the name Peter Fortune.  No matter what part he was given, he perfected it with everything he had.

As both Peter and Charlotte got older, Charlotte became sick.  Charlotte had two strokes and now was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  In Peter’s words, “My world was turned upside down.  I had hatred for everyone and anyone who wouldn’t take care of my Charlotte.”  He was so committed to his wife, that when she was forced to enter the nursing home, Peter would sleep in his car for a few hours during the night, just to be there when the doors opened.

One time, Peter heard a chaplain speaking about the love of Christ.  The chaplain had asked to pray for Charlotte and Peter conceded.  As they prayed, Peter realized that his life was messed up.  He had lived a life that was full of hatred, pride and anger.  That day, Peter made a decision to accept Jesus Christ as Savior.  Immediately, Peter knew he was loved beyond any love anyone had ever experienced.

The chaplain took Peter to church, which is where I met him.  I was introduced to Peter and immediately, both Peter and I became friends.  He loved my wife and kids.  He loved our friendship and brotherhood.  Later, Peter told me that he finally understood that the body of Christ loving each other shows the world that Christ exists.

Over the past four years, Peter had grown from this hate filled, anger driven, prideful man into someone that loved others, regardless of where they came from.  He decided to show love to others who needed it.  He started a ministry at his local bakery.  He prayed for others and studied the Scriptures furiously.  Peter knew he was where God chose him to be.

On Sunday, April 4th, 2012 Peter lost his battle with cancer.  The night before, he told me, “Continue doing what the Lord has called you to do.  Continue to write.”  So here we are, writing the story of a man who loved Jesus more than life itself.  Until the very end, Peter witnessed to anyone and everyone.  He desperately desired to share the love of Christ with others.

Although Peter Alvarez had a rough life, his life also shows how Christ can change anyone at any time.  Peter passed from this life into eternity knowing beyond any shadow of doubt that he was loved.  I will miss his company, his humor and his love, but I also know that someday, we will meet before our Lord and Savior and enjoy each other’s company once again.  When this happens, there will be no more suffering, no more pain and no more tears.

Peter Alvarez didn’t leave us in sorrow, he left us in joy.  He closed his eyes here and opened them before God.  If you want to know more about what Christ can do for you, please email me at jdcblogger@gmail.com.

You will be missed my friend, but only for a short time.  God bless and encourage someone today.

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