Saving Eli, an Antioch story of redemption – book signing Saturday
“I was just a crazy, drug addicted, punk rocker, demon-possessed man.”
By Allen Payton
Talking with Eli Contreras, today, you’d never know the hell on Earth he’s been through in his life. To think this calm, soft-spoken, baby-faced man once frightened people away, by both his appearance and behavior is hard to imagine. It’s only after you see some of his tattoos and he points out the scars from the busted veins in his forearms, that you realize his story is true.
Eulalio “Eli” Guevara Contreras was born in Oakley in 1972, the fourth of five children, and grew up with his two brothers and two sisters. He was baptized Catholic, but didn’t attend church. At the young age of three became a victim of physical, mental and sexual abuse. That was just the start of his troubled life.
By age 14 he started abusing drugs, both legal and illegal and at 16 was so angry with God for what He allowed Eli to go through, that he opened a copy of the Satanic Bible and gave his soul to the devil, to get even with God.
His oldest brother was shot in the face and killed by that brother’s best friend, then saw his mother lose her mind. Eli was glad his brother was dead, because he hated him.
At that same age, Eli and his friend, who was a transvestite in San Francisco, hung out where the homosexual prostitutes did. He started dressing punk and getting piercings.
By age 19 Eli started selling drugs to supply his habit and because he was living on the streets, sometimes staying the night at people’s homes.
“I started hearing voices and seeing images and talking to people who weren’t there,” he shared in a recent interview. That lasted until he was 32.
He said demons started telling him to kill his parents, which of course, made them afraid of him and wouldn’t let Eli stay in the house at night. So, he lived in their back yard shed.
The demons told him to molest a little boy. But, he fought that and ended up in the mental ward at Kaiser hospital.
Then his parents’ house got shot up and they moved out of state, leaving Eli behind, which had a profound impact on him.
“I was still that three-year-old, little boy who never grew up,” he said.
He cried and thought he no longer had any dreams.
He became successful at selling drugs and continued to use them, too.
That got him arrested three times, once by the FBI and twice by local police, landing him in jail, with a gang member as a cell mate. Eli was not part of any gang. He just sold drugs to all of them.
One night, his cellmate ended up having convulsions and died. Eli was arrested on murder charges, but was released 72 hours later and never did any time.
“His homies were going to kill me,” he stated.
During the 13 years he was selling and abusing drugs, being demon possessed and hearing voices, he experienced the sensation that bugs were eating him from the inside. He lost all of his teeth. He blew out the veins in both of his forearms.
“I was just a crazy, drug addict, punk-rocker, demon-possessed man,” Eli stated.
He was saying “somebody love me. Somebody make this pain go away.” But, it didn’t. It just got worse.
Eli got beat up in one neighborhood in Antioch. Once he had his head busted open with a hammer, and he was shot at.
At age 32 he overdosed and attempted suicide many times, once by playing Russian Roulette.
Just at the time the demons told him to go walk in front of a diesel truck at Laurel and Highway 4, a lady, named Mariam, and her daughter in a white car, made a u-turn and stopped to tell Eli “God loves you more than you can ever imagine.”
Mariam said God told her she had to talk to him that day or the next day it would be too late.
For the next year she prayed for Eli and if she saw him, she would pull over and talk to him and sometimes take him to her house for dinner.
Then on March 27, 2005 Eli heard God speak to him – “turn away” and gave him four mental pictures: Eli was in his right mind, wearing white, reunited with his family and on his knees worshiping Jesus Christ.
It broke him emotionally. He ran to Mariam’s house and she took him to church. While there, Eli got down on his knees, asked God for forgiveness and instantly felt Himpouring His love into him.
In 2008 he self-published a book about his experiences entitled “And Then I Heard His Voice.” Eli will be having a book signing at 10 A.M., tomorrow, Saturday, May 3 at Graceland Christian Books, next to Target, at 4261 Century Blvd. in Pittsburg. Call 706-8791 for times. His book is available on Amazon.com. See his interview on the 700 Club, entitled “Saving Eli” on YouTube by clicking here.
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