“We need to burn everything…so don’t forget to dig up the skulls!” Mariano Cruz Garrido had given his heart completely to Jesus. Now he was ready to deal with his past once and for all.
Mariano grew up in Tlatlapanala, a small town nestled in Mexico’s eastern mountains. Although his mother, Candelaria, taught him the ways of the Lord since his birth, Mariano never had a father to affirm and model his mother’s teaching. Other male role models in his life were less than virtuous. By age 15, Mariano had been lured into the dark world of witchcraft, still very common throughout Latin America.
Mariano eventually became his village’s curandero, which translated into English is witch doctor or sorcerer. When someone was sick, wanted an enemy to be cursed, or desired for their business or farm to prosper—whatever their need—they’d go to Mariano. He would then work his dark arts in exchange for money or bartered items, like a chicken or a basket of fruit.
Mariano’s elderly mother never stopped praying for him. And God sent laborers across his path, such as Heaven’s Family missionaries Jason and Nicole Fitzpatrick as well as a few Mexican-born missionaries who are supported through our National Missionary Fund. God’s unrelenting light finally pierced the darkness in Mariano’s heart at the age of 31, when he repented of his sins and gave his life to Jesus.
Realizing that serving Satan is incompatible with serving Christ, it became clear to Mariano that he had to “clean house.” Nicole Fitzpatrick tells us in her own words what happened:
[Mariano] brought me into his little 8×3 foot “room.” There, knives, candles, papers, rocks, wigs, sorcery books, and many other things were on tables and hanging all around the room. It was eerie. It was covered in dust and smelled and felt as if I had walked into a grave. He told me that is where he used to do his “work.” I looked around and then back at him. I simply asked if he was ready to get rid of it forever and, with tears in his eyes, he answered, “Yes, but this is not all of it.” He then started showing me by foot motions where animal skulls and such were buried and said that he wanted to dig up all his wicked acts and burn them all.
Not long after, Jason, Nicole, and a few national missionaries showed up to help Mariano deal with his past once and for all. Crowding into the small room, they stuffed everything they could find into three large sacks. “Don’t forget to dig up the skulls,” Nicole whispered to the others, “we need to burn it all.” They all rejoiced as they watched Mariano’s satanic paraphernalia be consumed by the flames of a blessed bonfire!
Mariano is a new creation in Christ, delivered from witchcraft, and happily married to a Christian woman. To God be the glory!
Mariano’s testimony is a reminder to all of us that truly following Christ means “digging up the skulls” and removing every skeleton from our closets as well!