The Christian Broadcasting Network

Browse Videos

Share Email

A Convicted Criminal Rehabs His Heart

Going to prison didn't change John's hardened heart, but when he was released to a Christian halfway house, a transformation began. Read Transcript


I KNEW WHEN I WAS ABOUT

13 OR 14, I KNEW I WANTED TO

BE BE A GANG MEMBER.

I KNEW I WANTED TO GO TO

PRISON.

THOSE WERE THE GOALS I SET

FOR MY OWN LIFE.

Reporter: JOHN MARTINEZ

ULTIMATELY ACHIEVE HIS

LIFE'S AMBITION.

BY THE TIME HE WAS 30,

PRISON WAS LIKE A SECOND

HOME, AND HARD DRUGS WERE

PART OF HIS EVERY DAY LIFE.

IT ALL STARTED WHEN JOHN WAS

13, AND HIS FAMILY BROKE

UP.

HE WAS THE YOUNGEST OF FIVE

KIDS, AND HIS FAMILY'S

DIVORCE HIT HIM HARD.

WHEN I FOUND OUT ABOUT MY

PARENTS' DIVORCE, I FELT

KIND OF SEPARATED.

I FELT KIND OF LOST.

MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS WERE

ALL OUT OF THE HOUSE.

I BASICALLY WAS GOING FROM

HOUSE TO HOUSE.

I FELT LIKE NOT KNOWING WHAT

WAS THE NEXT STEP FOR MY

LIFE.

Reporter: AS A LATCH

KEY KID, JOHN LONGED FOR A

PLACE TO BELONG.

HE FOUND HIS NEW FAMILY IN

THE STREET GANGS OF RIALTO,

CALIFORNIA.

I WAS DOING HORRIBLE IN

SCHOOL.

I REMEMBER CAUSING PROBLEMS

AND FIGHTS.

THE GANG BROUGHT SOME SORT

OF ACCEPTANCE.

I LIKED THE STYLE.

BECAUSE OF MY ANGER ISSUES,

I FELT LIKE I FIT RIGHT IN.

Reporter: BY 14, JOHN

DROPPED OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL

AND WAS COMPLETELY ENGULFED

IN THE GANG LIFESTYLE.

HE WAS WILLING TO DO

WHATEVER IT TOOK TO FIT IN.

I FELT LIKE I HAD TO PUT

A FRONT ON ALL THE TIME TO

PROVE MYSELF.

I WANTED TO MAKE MY NAME

KNOWN.@÷@

MY GOOD DAY WAS SOMEBODY

ELSE'S BAD DAY OUT THERE IN

THE STREET.

ANYWHERE FROM STEALING CARS

TO POSSESSION OF A

CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE.

I GOT CAUGHT WITH A GUN.

I STARTED USING A LOT OF

CRYSTAL.

I STARTED DIPPING WITH

HEROIN.

THINGS LIKE THAT BRING YOU

RESPECT EVENTUALLY IN YOUR

NEIGHBOURHOOD BECAUSE THEY

WANT TO SEE WHO IS THE

DOWNEST.

Reporter: BECAUSE OF

HIS DRUG ADDICTIONS AND

CRIME SPREES, JOHN BECAME

ESTRANGED FROM HER REAL

FAMILY.

OCCASIONALLY I FELT

GUILTY.

I FELT LIKE, MAN, I'M

HURTING YOUR FAMILY.

WHEN YOUR FAMILY DOESN'T

WANT YOU AROUND BECAUSE OF

THINGS YOU DO, OF COURSE

YOUR GOING TO HIDE THAT PAIN

AND DO MORE DRUGS.

I REMEMBER ONE DAY MY ASKING

ME, WELL, WHAT'S IT GOING TO

BE?

IS IT GOING TO BE YOUR

FAMILY OR IS IT GOING TO BE

THEM?

BASICALLY I SAID,

WELL, IT'S

GOING TO BE THEM.

I FELT LIKE I FOUND MY NEW

FAMILY WITH THE GANG.

Reporter: JOHN'S LIFE

GOALS OF BECOMING A GANG

MEMBER AND A FELON CAME

EARLY.

BY THE AGE OF 30, HE WAS IN

AND OUT OF COUNTY JAIL 30

TIMES.

NOW HE HAD THE RESPECT OF

HIS FELLOW GANG MEMBERS AND

PLENTY OF ENEMIES.

IN 1997, A RIVAL GANG MEMBER

SHOT JOHN AT POINT-BLANK

RANGE IN THE BACK OF THE

HEAD.

I REMEMBER SOMEBODY

JUMPING OUT OF THE BUSHES.

THE NEXT THING YOU KNOW, I

REMEMBER THE GUN TO MY

HEAD.

IF I WOULDN'T HAVE TURNED, I

BELIEVE IT WOULD

HAVE BEEN

TO MY TEMPLE.

INSTEAD, IT WAS EN LODGED IN

THE BACK OF MY SKULL.

I KNOW THERE WAS BLOOD ALL

OVER THE PLACE.

I STARTED THINKING ABOUT GOD

AT THAT MOMENT.

I DON'T THINK I WAS READY TO

DIE.

I THINK THAT'S WHY I CALLED

OUT TO GOD.

I SAID, YOU KNOW, GOD,

FORGIVE ME FOR WHAT I'M

DOING.

Reporter: JOHN SURVIVED

THE GUNSHOT WOUND AND WAS

ABLE TO LEAVE THE HOSPITAL

THREE DAYS LATER, BUT

FRAGMENTS OF THE BULLET WAS

STILL IN HIS HEAD.

IN 2002, HE WAS SENT TO

STATE PRISON FOR ANOTHER

CRIME.

BY NOW HE HAS LEARNED ABOUT

SOME OF HIS FRIENDS BACK

HOME WHO HAD BECOME

CHRISTIANS.

I HAD ACCEPTED THAT MY

LIFE WASN'T GOING TO CHANGE,

BUT AT THE SAME TIME, IF

THERE WAS A GOD AND IF HE

SAVED MY OLD FRIENDS, MAYBE

THERE IS A POSSIBILITY THAT

THAT MIRACLE COULD HAPPEN IN

MY LIFE.

FOR THE FIRST TIME, REALLY,

I STARTED PRAYING.

Reporter: JOHN WAS

RELEASED ALMOST 40 DAYS

LATER.

INSTEAD OF GOING TO HIS OLD

GANG, HE WENT TO SEE HIS

MOTHER.

REGARDLESS OF WHATEVER I

WENT THROUGH IN MY LIFE, MY

MOM WOULD ALWAYS ENCOURAGE

ME.

SHE WOULD TELL ME -- MAKE

LITTLE COMMENTS LIKE ONE DAY

GOD IS GOING TO CHANGE YOUR

LIFE.

Reporter: THIS TIME SHE

ENCOURAGED HIM TO CHECK INTO

HIS PAROLE OFFICER INSTEAD

OF RETURNING TO HIS OLD

HABITS AND ADDICTIONS.

JOHN STARTED THINKING ABOUT

THE EFFECTS OF HIS LIFESTYLE

AND KNEW HE WOULD BE KILLED

IF HE RETURNED TO THE

STREETS.

THIS FEAR CAME OVER ME

LIKE I HADN'T HAD BEFORE.

I FELT LIKE I WAS GOING TO

DIE.

I TOLD MY MOM, YOU KNOW

WHAT, IF I GO BACK, I'M

GOING TO GUY.

Reporter: JOHN'S PAROLE

OFFICER GAVE HIM THE NUMBER

OF A CHRISTIAN HALFWAY

HOUSE.

AND DURING HIS STAY IN THE

HOUSE, TWO MEN STARTED TO

TALK WITH HIM ABOUT GOD.

I REMEMBER THESE TWO GUYS

COMING TO ME AND THEY'RE

ASKING ME IF I KNEW JESUS

CHRIST.

I TOLD THEM NO.

WHEN I READ THE SCRIPTURE

AND IT SAID MY SINS WOULD BE

WASHED AWAY, AND THERE WAS

NOTHING TOO BIG OR TOO SMALL

THAT COULDN'T BE BE

FORGIVEN.

THAT'S ALL I NEEDED.

Reporter: AFTER THREE

MONTHS IN THE PROGRAM, JOHN

WAS STUDYING THE BIBLE AND

PRAYING REGULARLY.

IT STARTED TO CHANGE MY

DESIRES.

MY DESIRES -- I CAN SAY THEY

BECAME GODLY DESIRES.

I WANTED A FAMILY.

I WANTED TO GET MARRIED.

THINGS I DIDN'T HAVE

BEFORE.

I WANTED TO WORK.

I MEAN, I NEVER HELD A JOB.

I NEVER EVEN WORKED.

IT REALLY STARTED

MINISTERING TO ME ABOUT

THINGS I WANTED TO DO, ABOUT

BEING A MAN IN MY LIFE.

Reporter: ONE DAY

DURING A PRAYER TIME AT THE

MEN'S HOME, JOHN ASKED GOD

TO HELP HIM WITH HIS DRUG

ADDICTION.

I FEEL LIKE I CHALLENGED

HIM.

I SAID, GOD, IF YOU'RE REAL,

I WOULDN'T DRINK NO MORE OR

SMOKE NO MORE.

I WON'T GO BACK IF YOU'RE

FOR REAL.

I REMEMBER HIM TELLING ME

THAT I WASN'T GOING TO GO

BACK.

I BELIEVE GOD IS THE

ONE-STEP PROGRAM.

Reporter: JOHN NEVER

RETURNED TO THE GANG LIFE OR

ADDICTIONS.

TODAY HE HAS MARRIED AND IS

REUNITED WITH HIS FAMILY.

AND HE IS THE PASTOR OF A

CHURCH AND RUNS A STREET

MINISTRY.

I WOULD SAY THE BIGGEST

PART IS HE WILL FORGIVE

YOU.

GOD HAS JUST NOT DELIVERED

ME, BUT HE HAS BEEN MY

STRENGTH IN THE TIME OF MY

STORM.

I WOULD SAY THAT YOU CAN

CHANGE.

IT IS POSSIBLE.

GOD IS FOR REAL, AND I COULD

BE THE FIRST TO SAY THAT.

THAT MIRACLE CAN HAPPEN IN

SOMEBODY'S LIFE.

DOWNLOAD THIS VIDEO

EMBED THIS VIDEO

Related Podcasts


Log in or create an account to post a comment.  

CBN.com | Do You Know Jesus? | Privacy Notice | Prayer Requests | Support CBN | Contact Us | Feedback
© 2012 Christian Broadcasting Network