The Saxton Twins' Second Chance on Life
By Rod Thomas
The 700 Club
In south central Los Angeles, life was rough for Tyrone and Jerome Saxton. Their mother tried to keep them out of trouble.
“Where we lived in Compton, they were smoking, drinking, hanging out at early in the morning,” Tyrone said. “And we have to walk past all these people; so it was actually kind of scary, you know. Momma, she made sure when we got home from school we did our homework. What she did was try to give us an option from what the inner city gave us - drugs, gangs, you know, hanging out.”
However, it was only a matter of time before they gave in to the pressures of gang involvement.
“In the area where we lived we had four neighborhood gangs,” Jerome said. “At a certain time in a child’s life, growing up in my neighborhood, you had to consider one of these gangs to join.”
“I lost my sons to gangs, shooting, guns and stealing, whatever - sex, whatever,” their mother said, “smoking marijuana, drinking.”
The twins were influenced by entertainers that glorified the gang lifestyle.
“We had people like N.W.A.,” Jerome said. “I could recall D.J. Quick, M.C.A. - these were rappers that were growing up that came through our neighborhood. That put an effect on my life because they had all the money; they had all the cars, all the girls, everything that really a young person want.”
Their mother took them to church, and told them of God’s love.
“I used to pray a lot,” their mother said. “I asked God to order their steps and my steps and keep them covered with the blood of Jesus.”
But the lure of gang life was greater than Sunday school. As they got older, Tyrone and Jerome gained a reputation as violent gang bangers. One bloody incident nearly took a young man’s life.
“We got into a big fight,” Tyrone remembered. “I had a bat and I ended up beating this guy in the middle of the street, with-with a bat, just beating him down to a point in the middle of the street. That same guy put a hit, if you want to say, out on us - on me and my brother. He wanted to kill us.”
A few nights later the brothers became the target of revenge.
“As we’re walking across the street a truck comes from out of nowhere and the truck swerved towards me and it hit me,” Tyrone said.
“Next thing I know I’m looking at my brother,” Jerome said. “He’s probably like 12, 15-feet in the air - swimming. And I’m just watching him. Boom!!! He hit the ground. I run back to my brother and I’m telling him, ‘get up,’ lets go get this guy. He just looked at me and said, ‘I can’t move.’”
Tyrone suffered a dislocated shoulder, serious knee injuries and numerous bruises on his face and body. He was fortunate to be alive.
“I’m just laying there, and [asking] ‘do I deserve this? You know, for all the wrong things that I’ve done? Every time I hurt somebody, every time that I robbed somebody, you know, is this what I deserve?’” Tyrone said.
“I’m looking at him, and I’m like, ‘man, that could have been me.’ I just held his hand and just, you know, just spoke to God,” Jerome said. “Something has to change, because this ain’t working. I was so caught up into the lifestyle that I didn’t even conceive that God was even there until something happened; and then I had to call on Him.”
“I was in too much pain to say anything back,” Tyrone said. “I remember every word he was saying, but there was nothing that I could say back to say, ‘yes, Lord I want to change.’ All I could do is say to myself or think to myself that when I get out of here, I have to change.”
Once Tyrone was released from the hospital, the brothers started visiting church with their mom. After accepting Christ as their savior, they made some tough decisions.
“I didn’t want to do certain things no more,” Jerome said. “I didn’t want to sleep around with a lot of women. I didn’t want to hang out on the block with all my homeboys. You know? And I believed that that was God making me into the person that I was from that prayer, by asking Him to come into my life, because I really meant it.”
“I just took ahold of the Bible at that point,” Tyrone said, “and put down the drink and the smoke and I just started indulging in that Bible, and reading it every day; falling asleep, literally, with my head in a Bible.”
Tyrone and Jerome Saxton, also known as 2Face, use hip hop to show there is an alternative to life in gangs.
“So, just to see my sons come from a gang banger into the Lord’s house,” their mother said. “I was happy.”
“Once I said that prayer - asked Him to come into my life, asked Him to change me and my brother,” Jerome said, “God moved mightily in his life, as well as mine, that same day.”
“It’s all about the love of Jesus, how He died for us, how He can set you free, how He can deliver you, how He can heal your broken heart,” Tyrone said. “That’s what the world needs.”
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