“Even from a young age, I found my worth in my performance and achievements – I wanted to make sure other people saw the best in me,” said Nico Arguello. “Around ten, I started playing tennis. At first, it was simply an activity I enjoyed, but it soon became an escape for the chaos in my own house and life. As a child, I was sexually abused by a trusted family friend. I felt so much shame and guilt – it created a lot of insecurities about my manhood and a lot of my identity became tied up in this secret.
“At 16, I planned to come to the United States, but my biggest motivation was trying to prove myself to others. A lot of my worth was attached to what I accomplished, where I lived, what car I drove, and how much money I had. Fast forward a few years, and I moved to Texas with a tennis scholarship. I continued to succeed and gain approval and praise from others through my academic accomplishments. As I stayed in the US after graduation, I continued to selfishly live life the way I wanted to – on my terms.
“When a coworker shared her faith with me and invited me to church, I went along and ended up returning to the church multiple times. I learned that God’s plan for my life is different and much better than my own plan. God sent His son to die on the cross for our sins and by God’s grace we can have eternal life with Him through faith in Christ. I started to see the areas of brokenness and sin in my life, and I learned that God has so much more to offer than what I was settling for.
“Through truth-filled and biblical conversations with Christians, I started to feel convicted about some of my struggles like pornography and same-sex attraction. I felt like I was worthless, like I was damaged goods and not worthy of love. Before then, I never acted out in relation to my abuse, but during a season of a lot of stress and hurt, I began meeting up with men from the internet. After a week of self-destructive behavior, I hit rock bottom and saw that I was letting my struggles define me.
“I cried out to God for salvation and started inviting others into my life. I knew I needed to relinquish control and trust in Christ alone. I had to surrender my pride, my insecurities, and the life that I was living. This is when my life began to change.
“I needed to face my struggles to understand their root causes. When I started sharing my story with people, I understood that the abuse I experienced was far beyond what I originally thought. I recalled memories and realized I had been abused much earlier in my childhood. Looking back, I can see why I wanted people to see my success over my brokenness. I’m thankful I have learned to not blame myself for the abuse I experienced. During my season of healing, I promised God I wasn’t going to date and would focus on knowing Him more. I wanted to make purity something I desired through my love of Christ. I started serving students and leading other men through an abuse recovery ministry.
“A couple years later, I met my wife, Katy. When we first began dating, I told her my entire story and that I wanted to use it for God’s glory. She embraced it and encouraged me. Now every time I fall short or doubt my worth, Katy is quick to remind me of how God sees me.
“One of my favorite passages is Psalm 139:13-14,‘For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.’ For so long, I thought God made a mistake, but now I can praise God because He created me. I can trust His work because of who He is, not because of who I am. He knows how many hairs are on my head and loves me the same on my best and worst days.
“God took my tragedy and now uses my testimony to help other people see their need for a savior. I never want anyone to experience abuse, but I’m glad I can see how God redeemed my experience. My abuse brought me to my knees, but God ultimately used that to shape my faith. God created something beautiful out of the ashes in my life.”