If I had to describe David Wilkerson with one word, it would be “Faith.”

I remember as a young teenage heroin addict standing on a street corner, I met David for the first time. He would be in my neighborhood in Brooklyn daily trying to tell me that Christ could change my life. (This was before Teen Challenge opened).

One day, I was really hurting; I had just got out of jail, desperate, in need of a fix. I saw him coming…the first thing that went through my mind was mugging him, but as he approached me, once again he said, “Sonny, are you ready for a change? Jesus loves you.” Those words broke down my defense. Then he said, “Why don’t you come home with me? Let me help you, Sonny!”

Well, I ended up going home with David Wilkerson – not to “a home,” but to “his home.” He tried to lovingly give me the gospel and I really wanted help, but there was a war within…I’d be listening to him, but at the same time looking around his house to see what I could steal for my next fix.

Today, I’m remembering how David influenced my life – he was the first one to demonstrate to me that he had “faith” that I could change! He had “faith” that God could redeem a good for nothing drug addict. In those days, the saying was, “once a junkie, always a junkie.”

It was a few years later that we met up again. David had reached ex-gang leader, Nicky Cruz, and the Lord used Nicky to lead me to Christ. This marked the beginning of my spiritual journey.

I am grateful to God for my spiritual heritage, and I thank Him daily that my spiritual Fathers were powerful men of God.

David lived his faith, he never wavered. His love for God was demonstrated throughout his life…his love for his beautiful wife, Gwen…his love for the hurting and the downcast…

I distinctly remember a few years ago when David Wilkerson attended our Victory Outreach International World Conference. He was amazed at the over 20,000 Treasures Out of Darkness in attendance, but what blessed him most was the “Diamonds of Destiny” Choir – 1000 women who were once heroin addicts, prostitutes, gang members, the worst of the worst singing in gratitude to God – tears streaming down their faces. I looked over to him and said, “These are your grandchildren. This is your legacy.” He had tears in his eyes and began to praise God…that special moment seems like yesterday – the memories are so vivid.
Today, I know he is in heaven rejoicing with our Lord Jesus, and he is hearing the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

Julie and I, along with our family, will be eternally grateful to the Wilkerson family and to have personally known this great man of God, this great man of compassion, and this great man of faith.

– Sonny Arguinzoni – son in the faith of David Wilkinson