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Discovering a Meaningful Life

Ignacio was sentenced to life in San Quentin Prison for his gang related crimes, yet he managed to find a reason for his situation. Read Transcript


YOU CAN HEAR PEOPLE

SCREAMING AT EACH OTHER,

TALKING ABOUT HOW THEY'RE

GOING TO KILL EACH OTHER.

IT WAS JUST GETTING LOUDER

AND LOUDER AND LOUDER.

AT JUST 17 YEARS OLD,

IGNOSTIO PEZANO WAS SERVING

TIME AS THE YOUNGEST INMATE

IN SAN QUENTIN PRISON.

I KEPT SAYING, I CAN'T

SHOW FEAR.

I'VE GOT TO BE A MAN.

I'VE GOT TO BE STRONG.

BUT EVERYTHING INSIDE ME WAS

SCARED.

Reporter: TO THOSE WHO

KNEW HIM, IT CAME AT NO

SURPRISE THAT HE ENDED UP IN

JAIL.

MY FAMILY TOLD ME I WAS

GOING TO BE JUST LIKE MY

FATHER, IN THE GANG LIFE,

KILLING, DOING DRUGS, THE

GANGSTER LIFE-STYLE.

Reporter: IGNOSTIO WAS

SIX WHEN HIS DAD CAME BACK

INTO HIS LIFE, AFTER BEING

ABSENT FOR YEARS.

BUT SOON HE STARTED ABUSING

HIM AND HIS MOTHER.

HE WOULD PUSH MY MOTHER

AND GRAB ME BY MY CHEST AND

SHOV MSHOVE AGAINST THE

KITCHEN SINK.

AND HE WOULD SAY, HIT ME,

HIT ME.

Reporter: HE NEVER HIT

HIS FATHER, AND THE ABUSE

CONTINUED.

BUT HIS ANGER AND HATRED

TOWARDS HIS DAD GREW, UNTIL

ONE DAY, WHEN HE WAS 12, IG

NOSTIO PULLED A GUN ON HIM.

I REMEMBER PULLING A GUN

ON HIM.

AND HE SAID, IF YOU'RE A

MAN, PULL THE TRIGGER.

AND I TOLD HIM, DON'T EVER

TOUCH MY MOM AGAIN.

IF YOU EVER TOUCH MY MOM

AGAIN, I'LL KILL YOU.

Reporter: SHORTLY AFTER

THAT CONFRONTATION, HIS DEAD

LEFT HOME FOR GOOD.

THE ABUSE STOPPED, BUT BY

THE TIME IGNOSTIO WAS 14, HE

HAD BECOME LIKE HIS DAD.

HE IMMERSED HIMSELF IN THE

GANG LIFE AND STARTED

FIGHTING.

I FOUND OUT I WAS GOOD AT

FIGHTING, BECAUSE I HAD SO

MUCH ANGER IN ME, IT WOULD

COME OUT WHEN I WOULD

FIGHT.

AND THE MORE I FIGHT, THE

MORE ATTENTION I GOT FROM

THE GIRLS.

Reporter: MEANWHILE,

HIS MOTHER KNEW WHAT HE WAS

DOING.

OFTEN WHEN HE WOULD COME

HOME AFTER A NIGHT OF

GANG-BANGING, HE WOULD HEAR

HIS MOTHER PRAYING FOR HIM.

I WOULD HEAR HER PRAYING,

PLEASE GET HIM AWAY FROM

THIS LIFE.

I THOUGHT, ONE DAY I'M GOING

TO GUY IN A GAS CHAMBER WITH

A RAG ON MY HEAD,

REPRESENTING MY GANG.

Reporter: IGNOSTIO WAS

CLOSER TO THAT THAN HE

REALIZED.

BECAUSE AT 15 YEARS OLD, SHE

, HE SHOT A MALE AND WENT TO

PRISON.

HE WENT TO SAN QUENTIN TO

SERVE OUT A LIFE SENTENCE.

HE WAS JUST 17 AND VERY

SCARED.

I THOUGHT, HOW DID I GET

TO THIS POINT SO FAST, SO

YOUNG.

I KEPT THINKING TO MYSELF,

I'M NEVER GOING TO HAVE

KIDS.

I'M NEVER GOING TO KNOW WHAT

IT'S LIKE TO BE A FATHER.

I WAS, LIKE, LIFE'S OVER.

Reporter: HIS MOM

VISITED EVERY MONTH AND TOLD

HIM SHE WAS STILL PRAYING

FOR HIM.

ONE DAY SHE TOLD HIM HE HAD

TO START PRAYING FOR

HIMSELF.

WHEN IGNOSTIO GOT BACK TO

HIS CELL, HE MADE A PROMISE

TO GOD.

I GOT ON MY KNEES.

AND I TOLD HIM, GIVE ME A

CHANCE.

IF YOU TAKE ME OUT OF HERE,

I'LL CHANGE.

I'LL NEVER COME BACK.

IF YOU GIVE ME AN

OPPORTUNITY, I'LL MAKE A

DIFFERENCE IN YOUNG PEOPLE'S

LIVES.

I'LL DO WHATEVER YOU WANT ME

TO DO.

JUST GIVE ME A CHANCE AT

LIFE.

Reporter: IGNOSTIO

BELIEVES THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT

GOD DID.

IT WAS LATER DISCOVERED HE

SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN SENT

TO SAN QUENTIN BECAUSE HE

WAS CONVICTED AS A

JUVENILE.

ON APPEAL, HE WAS

TRANSFERRED TO THE

CALIFORNIA YOUTH AUTHORITY.

THE LIFE SENTENCE WAS

REDUCED TO 10 YEARS.

HE WAS RELEASED AT 24.

THE DAY I WAS RELEASED, I

WAS AMAZED.

I COULDN'T BELIEVE THAT GOD

LOVED ME SO MUCH HE GAVE ME

A SECOND CHANCE AT LIFE.

Reporter: HE CLEANED UP

HIS LIFE.

HE MARRIED AND STARTED A

FAMILY, AND EVEN WENT TO

CHURCH ON OCCASION.

BUT HE NEVER COMMITTED HIS

LIFE TO CHRIST.

IT WOULD TAKE HIM 20 YEARS

TO FIGURE OUT HE NEEDED

GOD'S FORGIVENESS.

BY THEN HE WAS DIVORCED,

UNHAPPY, AND STILL CARRYING

THE GUILT OF HIS PAST.

I STARTED THINKING ABOUT

THE FAMILY OF THE MAN THAT I

KILLED, HIS PARENTS AND HIS

MOM.

I WAS THINKING I CAN'T LIVE

WITH THIS KIND OF GUILT.

Reporter: IGNOSTIO WAS

AT HOME WHEN HE FINALLY

SURRENDERED HIS LIFE TO

GOD.

I ASKED HIM TO FORGIVE

ME, AND CLEANSE ME OF ALL OF

MY SINS AND GIVE ME THAT JOY

AND PEACE.

AND ALL OF A SUDDEN THE

SPIRIT WAS HITTING ME.

THE TEARS WERE COMING DOWN

MY FACE.

I DIDN'T CARE WHO SAW ME.

I REMEMBER FEELING A HAND ON

MY HEAD.

AND I LOOKED UP TO SEE WHO

WAS TOUCHING ME, AND THERE

WAS NOBODY THERE.

AND I NO I I KNEW IT WAS

GOD.

I KNEW HE WAS TOUCHING ME

AND MY WHOLE LIFE WAS

COMPLETELY TRANSFORMED, AND

I WAS NO LONGER THE OLD

PERSON.

AND I WAS NOW A NEW CREATION

IN JESUS CHRIST.

Reporter: TODAY

IGNOSTIO REACHES OUT TO AT

RISK YOUTH WITH HIS SON,

JEREMIAH.

AND HE ALSO WROTE A BOOK

ABOUT HIS STORY.

HE BELIEVES WITHOUT HIS

MOTHER'S PRAYERS, HE

WOULDN'T BE WHERE HE IS

TODAY.

IT DOESN'T MATTER WHERE

YOU'RE AT.

IT DOESN'T MATTER IF YOU'VE

GOT A LIFE SENTENCE OR IF

YOU'RE ON THE STREETS WITH

NO HOPE.

I'M TELLING YOU, GIVE YOUR

LIFE TO GOD AND HE'LL CHANGE

YOU AND MAKE YOU A NEW

CREATION.

EMBED THIS VIDEO


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