For Elga Comellas, Feb. 11, 1970 is a day stamped by a life-changing encounter with the rescuer of her life, Jesus Christ.
At just 16, Comellas already had four years’ experience abusing hard drugs, including lysergic acid diethylamide, a synthetic street drug better known as LSD. On that winter day 51 years ago, the New York City resident went to the home of her brother, Jose L. Comellas, with the intention of getting high, as they had done many times before. Instead, divine intervention ensued.
“I heard a voice saying, This is the last day of your life,” says Comellas, now 67. “I felt such a strong anguish that I just wanted to end it all. I got a knife to stab myself, but my brother stopped me.”
For the next two hours, the despondent teenager laid on a mattress, unresponsive to awakening attempts. Comellas recalls feeling something within her body depart as she left this world and witnessed events unfolding in her future.
She says she saw her lifeless body in a funeral home as her mother and other relatives wept nearby. As the out-of-body scenario continued, someone took Comellas by the hand in what she calls being elevated upward and surrounded by angels in a celestial experience.
Comellas describes how the one who held her hand said, I am going to give you another opportunity. As her spirit returned to her body two hours later, she says she knew this had been an encounter with God — and she had to change her life.
However, overcoming drug use proved to be no easy task.
Two years later, the then-18-year-old continued using illicit drugs while attending college in Puerto Rico. On one occasion, her sobered-up brother visited the college telling about his newly born-again life with Jesus. Elga, so impacted by her brother’s transformation, immediately went to her bathroom and flushed away all the drugs in her possession.
“That was the last day the devil had me bound,” Comellas declares.
On May 12, 1972, she surrendered her life to Jesus Christ.
With a new passion for the gospel, Comellas became a member of the John 3:16 Assemblies of God Church in Ponce, Puerto Rico, leading the youth ministry and preaching in housing projects and at the local prison.
She then returned to the United States to attend Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, to further pursue her calling. Comellas recollects her inner battle with surrendering to ministry because of all she had been through in her past.
“I did not know that once you receive a word from God, you must go through a process before reaching your promise,” Comellas says.
Part of that development involved confronting people who did not understand how God could take a woman out of an addiction and place her in a pulpit to preach. However, by God’s provision, she met several pastors who would guide her.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in theology, Comellas returned to Puerto Rico and served for the next 15 years as associate pastor in her local church. She received AG ordination in 1990.
Through her involvement with the Puerto Rican District Education Department, Comellas trained Sunday School teachers, preached revivals around the island, and served as a lead pastor for five years at Iglesia Manantial de Vida AG.
Comellas earned a master’s degree from Assemblies of God Theological Seminary and now resides in Fort Myers, Florida. For the past 15 years, she has worked as Christian education director for the Florida Multicultural District, discipling and training ministers.
“Reverend Comellas has been used powerfully by the Holy Spirit in the fulfillment of her work in education and also everywhere she preaches or teaches,” says Diana E. Barrera, Florida Multicultural District missions director.
“What the world considers to be garbage is a gem in God’s hands,” Comellas says of her encounter nearly half a century ago.