From Gangs to Grace
The following is an excerpt from Alberto’s inspiring testimony going from gangs to God’s awesome grace:
By the age of 17 I was a full-blown active gang member already incarcerated with a life sentence. I spent nearly 27 years of my life in California’s state prisons. Instead of getting rehabilitated, I became a better criminal and a hardened gang member.
My aspirations were to become someone who everybody respected and violence was my method of operation. I achieved my goal and ultimately had a position of authority within the disruptive group that I used to run with inside the prison system. For 19 years I was actively involved in gang activity inside the prison walls, that is, until God’s sovereign guidance took me to a place called the SHU (security housing unit), where gang leaders were isolated from the general population because of the influence they had on other convicts. I had been to the SHU quite a few times but this time something happened in that cell that I was in. I started to question many things about my life and the ‘cause’ that I used to represent, and I remembered the many conversations I had with my Christian parents about Jesus Christ.
April 5, 2010, I surrendered my life to the Lord Jesus Christ and confessed Him as Lord and Savior of my life. I did what the Bible commands us to do: REPENT, and one of the clearest signs that my heart had been regenerated was the immense hunger I had for the word of God. One of the biggest blessings of my life came in early 2012 when while on a maximum security yard I heard of a program that had recently been requested by some Christian brothers called The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI). I knew nothing about this program and I was encouraged by fellow brothers in the faith to take the courses that TUMI offered. I was able to complete two modules before I was moved to another yard and sure enough the yard that I was moved to did not have TUMI available. It wasn’t until I was transferred to another prison that had TUMI, that I was able to continue with TUMI education 2-1/2 years later.
By June 2018 I started my tenth module. Later that same month, the board of parole hearings granted me parole. However, because I am a Mexican national, I had an immigration hold, hence deportation. It is there on that yard that I found out that TUMI was available in Mexico. Upon my deportation, it was important for me to finish my studies and therefore contacted the TUMI site coordinator in Mexico. I was able to integrate myself into the TUMI program there thanks to the coordinator facilitating things for me.
I thank God the vision God gave Dr. Don Davis and every person who is part of the TUMI vision. God willing I will be graduating from TUMI in January 2020. By the grace of God alone, I began to preach the word of God inside the prison system and now I do so out here in the free world and it is all because of the Lord Jesus Christ, his Holy Spirit, and The Urban Ministry Institute. Praise God.
Thank you for praying for men and women such as Alberto, whom God has restored for His purposes – to equip leaders for the Church, who are multiplying laborers for the harvest around the world!