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The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Gangster Finds God in Solitary Confinement

By Jarrod Anderson
The 700 Club - Abner says, “I knew every day either it was me being killed, or it was me killing someone, or going to prison. Those were the three things I expected every day when I woke up.”

Abner Falero spent much of his life in a gang, trapped in a vicious cycle of violence.

Abner was five years old when his father, who is a pastor, left him, his mother, and his brothers for another woman. He knew only one way to cope with the feelings of abandonment and rejection.

Abner recalls, “He's the person I looked up to; he's the person I worshipped.  He was my everything. I tried to block the reality of ‘my father's not coming back.’ I didn't know how to go about it.  I didn't understand it. I was too young.”

But as Abner watched his mother struggle to provide for her family, he became angry and violent.

“Violence got me what I wanted. It got me protection. A way of me releasing my stress. The higher the level, the easier it was for me to sleep at night,” says Abner.

Abner was kicked out of every school he attended. And by 16 years of age, had joined a gang.

Abner explains, “The gang was my family. It was the way I found my finances, my protection. We all believed in the same thing – violence.”

For the next 10 years Abner was in and out of prison more than 30 times for armed robbery, assault, and a number of other violent crimes.

Abner says, “I was miserable. I wanted out, but I didn't know how to get out of it. This is who I am, this is what I do. It's my destiny. Either I’m going to die, or I'm going to spend the rest of my life in prison.

Then at age 26, Abner was arrested for possessing a weapon while being a convicted felon. He was sentenced to seven years in a maximum security prison.

“I didn't know guilt. I didn't know remorse. I didn't know emotions. It was like I was numb. Numb to who I was,” says Abner.

With little more than a year left in his sentence, Abner got caught up in a prison brawl and as a result, would serve the rest of his time in solitary confinement.

“23 hours lock down a day, seven days a week. I hit rock bottom. It felt like me committing suicide would be the easy way out,” says Abner.

Then one day, a guard passed him a Bible.

Abner says, “And I just threw it to the side. But for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, I knew that Bible was in my cell. It was almost saying like ‘I'm here, God is here.’"

Eventually, he picked it up and started reading.

“And I start struggling with myself. I'm the worst of the worst, and can there be a God that can forgive me right now? And it was a tug of war of ‘which way do I go in life and how do I go about it?’”

Abner says while he was reading the Bible one night, he started seeing things.

Abner recalls, “I saw fire, like I was burning. Like everything around me was on fire. And I got on my knees and I cried and cried and cried. ‘I can't be like my father, because my father was a Christian and a pastor. That's not me. I will never be like my father.’ And the Lord was calling me and saying, ‘I got you. You're looking for a father and I've got you. I'm your Father.’ For one point in my life, for once in my life since I was five years old someone appreciated me. Someone loved me. It was like a ton of bricks gone. It was gone. That was the day that the process started.”

In the two years after his release, Abner tried to live a godly life. But when he couldn’t find work, he got discouraged and slipped back into old patterns. He got busted for robbing someone and landed in jail for another three years.

Abner says, “I started cleaning my act up, no more crimes. No more crimes. So I got on my knees and prayed, ‘I give you what I have left, once again.’ God freed me.”

Abner says God also freed him from his anger, and helped him forgive his father.

Today, he’s married and has a son. He shares his story at churches and prisons, telling people that God is always with them.

Abner says, “I see Jesus now as my father figure. I had a Father the whole time that was looking out for me, that was protecting me. And it wasn't that He left me, it was that I took the blindfolds off.”

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