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How a gang leader found a new beginning

Cynthia Clifford August 1, 2016 GeneralStories


Ruben grew up believing that his destiny was written in stone. Raised around the street life, while his dad was involved in a gang, Ruben couldn’t wait to follow in his fathers footsteps. He chose to thrive on anger and hate to harden his heart as he made his way to the head position of his gang.

At the time a girl Ruben was dating invited him to go to church. He felt like if he went he would be doing his part and keeping a good relationship with God.

“I didn’t want to change my life… but after months of going to church, listening to the Word people were starting to talk saying that I was getting soft and in reality that’s exactly what it was. Hearing His Word was starting to soften my crazy hard heart.”

Soon after, God started beckoning more on Rubens heart, it wasn’t enough that he was starting to get “soft,” now he wasn’t able to enjoy the drugs and alcohol he would usually find comfort in. The lifestyle he was once so used to was starting to become foreign.

Ruben was beginning to get pressured from his brothers in the gang, they started seeing a change in him that didn’t resemble the Ruben they once knew. Tension was rising and Ruben knew they were plotting to kill him, so he decided he was going to take them out first. He started to plan that he would go to church with his little brother the day he was going to murder them so if anyone suspected he was at fault, he would fall back on the fact he was at church and must be innocent.

“During the message I felt like I was more focused than normal, and before I knew it everything went deaf, I couldn’t hear anything. In the silence God spoke to me, He told me that if I went through with this murder, I would get away with it and I would get them, but my little brother would get killed in the process.”

Once Ruben heard that, he knew he couldn’t let his innocent brother get caught up in crossfire of this mess. His eyes were open to the truth, that this lifestyle would just be a vicious cycle. A cycle that had to finally end for his life and his family. During that service, Ruben and his little brother both chose to accept Jesus Christ in their life.

“As I rose my hand and said that prayer I felt the weight, the pressures, everything I was going through was just fall off of my shoulders.”

After Ruben gave his life to Jesus he had to deal with leaving the gang life, the threats against his life, and making those changes. Ruben decided to stand firm on the Word of God and nothing happened to him or his family.

Eleven years later, Ruben has a wonderful wife and two beautiful daughters.  He currently serves and teaches in the Children’s Ministry.

“Never would I thought God was going to use me. I know God isn’t finished with me yet, because of all the things He saved me from. I could’ve died a long time ago but God had better plans for me. It’s crazy because He isn’t even done yet, He is barely scratching the surface.”

When we share what God has done in our lives we are giving thanks to Him for what He did and is doing in ours.
When we make His wonderful work known we allow our experiences with Jesus to encourage and influence others.
No one stays the same when they encounter Jesus, and when we reflect on where we have came from and where we are going our faith only strengthens.

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