Title: Chosen From Among the Worst
Author: Pablo Yoder
Major Themes: Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Los Angelos, Drugs
Synopsis: Omar Montenegro grew up in poverty and a dysfunctional family, and went deeply into the worst of sin—was there any way he could find peace and happiness?
For many years, I have been reading Pablo Yoder’s occasional newsletters about his life in Nicaragua. He often mentions Omar Montenegro and his family. Our family enjoys Pablo’s books, which tell the story of his life or the lives of people around him, so of course, we bought his most recent book when it came out. Chosen From Among the Worst tells Omar’s story. What an account!
Omar was born to a poor family in Nicaragua. His father couldn’t seem to make a living for the family, between alcohol and women, and Omar got into trouble with his friends. He loved to listen to his uncle’s stories of the good money he made in Los Angelos, so he went there illegally while still a teenager. The job he found in a restaurant didn’t give him what he wanted, and he quickly got into drug dealing. When he found the girl of his dreams and settled down with her, his dreams seemed to be coming true—and then, in a fit of rage, he killed her and had to flee the country.
More problems followed. More drug dealing, in Costa Rica this time, lots of money—and another fit of murderous rage led to his isolating himself on a lonely hilltop in the jungles of Nicaragua. One woman after another shared his hard life until he drove them all away and was left with nothing except the fear of the FBI coming after him. Finally, in desperation, Omar sought God, Who had been pursuing him all the time, and found real peace. Could he find the courage, though, to face the people and sins in his past and make things right?
Chosen From Among the Worst is an amazing, true story. It shows how God can take someone who is deep into sin and filled with anger, and transform him into a new person. It is written almost like a novel, and I had trouble putting it down. I read most books in short sessions, less than five minutes at a time, but I kept finding myself reading “just one more chapter” before walking away from this one! It was well-written, and a powerful story of redemption at the same time.
WARNING: Murderous rages, actual murders, other violence, and drug dealing are portrayed throughout most of this book. Not a book for children, but may be good for an upper teen, especially one who may be struggling with temptations that way, since the author is always careful to show how these things do not satisfy. Sin is not glorified in this book.