Just two weeks after he arrived from Colombia as a child and was taken to a luxurious home in Glendora, CA, little Edwin Arroyave watched his home raided because his father was under suspicion for drug trafficking.
Both mom and dad were hauled away, and Edwin and his two siblings saw their dream-like landing in America turn into nightmare as they went into foster care.
“After that, our home would get raided once a year,” he told Ed Mylett on a YouTube video. “It’s exactly like you see in the movies, probably worse. They just come in and turn that house upside down. The first three times they raided, my dad wasn’t there. I could hear the helicopter flying overhead looking for him.”
On the fourth raid, federal agents arrested and convicted Edwin’s dad. The family moved into poverty-stricken Huntington Park.
“Son, you need to be the man of house now,” his dad managed to tell him before being locked away “for a long time.”
“That was a blow to me because my dad was my hero,” Edwin says. “I was 10. Even though I didn’t know what he did for a living, I admired that he took care of everyone. He showed me a lot of love. It was a big blow.”
Mom and the kids were so poor they had to rent two of the rooms in the 3-bedroom apartment to make rent. Eight people lived in the apartment. “It was very cramped,” he says. “I remember roaches waking me up every night.”
Through the chaos of their lives, mom prayed over him and built up his self-esteem. Edwin came to accept Jesus into his heart.
“You have greatness in you,” mom told him.
He dreamed of fulfilling the American Dream.
Because his sister’s boyfriend made $100,000 a year, Edwin decided he would earn that amount too.
He ditched high school classes and went to a posh Rodeo Drive upscale shopping district to window-shop and then tour the priciest neighborhoods of Beverly Hills and Hollywood Hills to see the mansions.
“One day, I’m going to be here,” he announced dreamily.
“I was just so grateful to get a job,” he says. “I was the youngest guy they hired. I just worked my butt off.”
At 16, he was promoted to supervisor of five employees. At 18, he was made manager of 40 employees. He was making $1,000 a week and became the right hand of the vice president of sales.
A short time later, the VP resigned and invited Edwin to help him found an alarm system company. Edwin would have to quit his $60,000 a year job and had no guarantee of success at the startup.
Today, that startup is Skyline Security, a $34 million giant in the domain of home security systems.
“A lot of success comes from common sense. I thought, ‘This guy is making 250 grand a year, he’s risking everything for it. He must be pretty serious.’”
“I took a risk to follow my dreams,” he says. “Everyone told me, ‘There’s no way you’re going to leave another $70,000 a year job for the unknown.’ But if you’re going to make it big, you have to go all in.”
He married Teddi Mellencamp, daughter of rocker John Mellencamp, who launched a weight loss program after she got her own fluctuating weight under control. They have three kids together and attend Mosaic Church, a hipster magnet, in Hollywood.
Teddi is also featured in The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reality show.
“Faith is huge for both of us,” Edwin says. “Before we went on the show, I had fear of the unknown. But we prayed about it and felt that God was putting this opportunity before us to show our faith and give Him glory.”
Edwin never misses a chance to spout Christianity, whether it’s a motivational pitch to salesmen or on social media.
“I put on social media our worship songs, and I’ll get 100 DM’s saying, ‘Why would you post that? Don’t put your religion on us!’” Teddi says. “But then I’ll get thousands of messages, saying, ‘Thank you for shedding light to this.’
“You don’t have to be perfect to still have faith,” she adds.
If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here