Determined to Worship – Carlos Lara

When Carlos Lara, now a sophomore at Southeastern, was five years old, he started to notice that he was different than his peers.

Carlos was born without hands.

His Christian family inspired him and he became determined to serve God to the best of his ability. He shares the story of his constant struggle of wanting to worship God at a young age, but feeling the strain of how to do so without hands.

“I started praying that God would miraculously give me hands. I wanted to serve and live for Him, but I felt like I couldn’t. My friends were complete with everything they needed to worship God. It always felt like a fight between God and me,” said Carlos. Determined to be involved in a worship team, at the age of nine Carlos decided to learn how to play drums at his church in Guatemala. “I spent four years praying for that gift and somehow I was able to worship with the worship team,” he said. 

Two years later Carlos and his family moved to the Tampa, Florida area. Carlos was once again set on being involved in music through playing in the band at his middle school. He decided to learn how to play the trumpet because it only had three buttons. “I thought, ‘How am I going to do this?’ So I prayed about it,” he said. By learning to play with his feet and toes, Carlos went on to play in his middle and high school bands for the next four years.

From there he learned how to play his third instrument after his mom bought him a keyboard. He started playing it with his arms but soon felt discouraged. Two weeks went by and after hours of praying, he felt God telling him to play it with his feet. He placed the keyboard on the ground, sat in a chair and started looking up chords online. “I remember praying, ‘God I need to be in your presence. I want to worship you. I need to do this for you,’” shared Carlos. He went on to play the keyboard for more than two hours that day.

Now he writes his own music and lyrics. Just a few months ago, after the passing of his pastor, he wrote a song of encouragement for all those dealing with the loss of someone important to them.

Although Carlos was able to learn how to play three instruments despite his disability, he shares that his desire to serve God came with great difficulties and struggles. He recalls waking up every morning mentally processing how he should navigate his day.

“I truly believe I can’t do it with my own strength. Somehow God has so much mercy with me even when I disappoint Him. He is always there to answer my prayers,” he said.

Carlos transferred to Southeastern from Hillsborough Community College during the spring of 2017. The transition came after his friends encouraged him to be a preacher — something he previously told God he would never be.

“Last year, I had an encounter with God in my car. God changed my mentality completely and that was to preach — to share what God has done in my life and to share my testimony. A friend told me about Southeastern and encouraged me to come here so we could both be in an environment that helps us grow more spiritually,” said Carlos. As a commuter, Carlos travels from Tampa to Southeastern on Tuesdays and Thursdays to pursue his degree in practical ministries.

“I really believe that God gave me a big responsibility with this disability. It has become the best gift that God has given me. It became easier to see how God can work in someone’s weakness. Because God said no to my prayer for healing, He has said yes to other prayers and opportunities,” said Carlos. He lives by Exodus 9:16, “But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you My power and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”

Carlos recently launched the website and Facebook page for his ministry, My Life, His Plan (MylifeHisplan.com), which aims to be a tool to inspire people to live their lives according to God’s plan.