*** Larry Barros went home to be with the Lord in November 2014 after a tragic head-on collision. He is terribly missed by many. I want to leave his beautiful testimony up though. Larry remained an outstanding witness to God’s redeeming love until the day he died. Well done, Larry!
Hello, my name is Lawrence Barros and I would like to share with you how the life and death of Spencer has forever altered the direction of my life. Spencer was murdered days before my 20th birthday in February 2002. During that particular time, my life was in transition. I had just moved back to the cape from going to college about 3 hours away and I was really hoping that life would settle down for me. I had been in trouble at college for possession of alcohol and marijuana and as a result the school had banned me from the dorms.
In my mind coming back to the cape was going to be a good chance to start over and make some changes in my life. I didn’t really understand why or how my life had started to grow out of control but never the less I found my life heading down the same road of addiction as my parents before me. Within weeks of returning to the cape I had lost any desire to change and had set my heart on partying hard.
Growing up on Cape Cod caused me to have a false sense of security, I never thought that the people I grew up with, had sleep over my house as a kid and party with all through high school would become murderers within 2 years of graduating high school. When Spencer was murdered it really confused me because the two groups that were fighting that night were friends. All of us grew up in the same two towns and had many other attributes in common. Any other day most of the two groups would have referred to the other group as “one of my boys” or some other slang word that was common during that time.
My older brother and my cousin Jermaine were very close with Spencer and had been for years. After his murder things in my house began change. My brother went to Spencer’s memorial service that was held a Victory Chapel and he experienced something at the service that he couldn’t explain but touched his heart. It was Spencer’s testimony, Jay had never realized until that service all the things that Spencer had done in his life for God, like rapping and going to South Africa to evangelize the world. Jermaine had made a decision at the memorial service to become a Christian and as if over night he was a different person. Jermaine began to tell me that my life needed to change and that there was only one person who could help me, Jesus.
I didn’t want to acknowledge that I had a problem because I was self righteous and prideful. In my mind I was happy for Jermaine because I perceived him to be a lot “worse” than me. I told him that I was “all set” because I didn’t do some of the things that he did and told him that I’m a “good” person. I tried to explain away or discredit the work that God was doing in his life. I told him that his new life was a product of socialization or in other words he was hanging out with a new group of people and adopting their beliefs and behaviors. I didn’t understand that he was a completely new person, that God had completely changed his heart.
During the summer that year my brother decided that he wanted whatever it was that Spencer had and Jermaine was experiencing, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and forgiveness. I was living with my brother Jason at the time and I was shocked when he came home one night and told me that he wasn’t an alcoholic anymore. I was amazed as I watched him change before me eyes. It was at that point where in my heart I started to question whether I was wrong and needed what they had. It took me two months of searching my heart and resisting out of stubbornness and pride before I made the same decision both Jermaine and Jason had made.
I had never really thought about God before Spencer was murdered. I wasn’t religious but I wasn’t really an atheist either in the sense that I didn’t hate God. I had a hard time believing that if there was a God that he would care enough about me to help me. I was resistant to asking Jesus to help me because in the back of my mind I was afraid he would reject me. The thought of a God that would love me despite all my failures and mistakes was inconceivable to me.
September 20 2002 at a home bible study in Jermaine’s living room was the date that I accepted Jesus into my life and asked for forgiveness of my sins. I received that chance to start over again that I had been looking for 8-9 months earlier. Since that time God has done so much in my life. The things that I thought were major problems in my life were nothing for God to change. It’s amazing to look back and believe what God has brought me through. When I tell people what my life was like, they have a hard time imagining that I could have ever been the type of person that I was.
I have absolutely no regrets about the decision I made for Christ except that I waited so long to make it. I now have wonderful wife, Monica and we have a 14mth old son Isaac. I am currently involved in many different ministries in the church. God has given me tremendous opportunities to have influence for his name. I am currently involved in children ministries bringing the gospel to kids, our song service, Moving Mountains, and preaching on Saturday nights after our music scene. God has given me the ability to influence lives for his glory and there is nothing greater in the world that person can be involved in.
Only God knows the direction that my life would have taken if Spencer hadn’t been murdered. God was able to take a terrible tragedy and use it to reach others who were in desperate need of help, who in turn picked up the same desire to reach others that Spencer had.