God Loves Gangsters Too!

  

I was born in Guadalajara Mexico September 26, 1988 to a very poor family who rejected me while still in my mothers belly until I was born and they were forced to accept it and eventually fell in love with me.  At the age of five years old I had already been introduced to my first tragedy on the streets.  I got into a fight and lost complete sight of my right eye due to trauma caused by the older kid I got into the fight with, to this day I’m still blind from my eye.  That same year after four surgeries I was abandoned by my mother but before leaving me I was taken away from my dad because he couldn’t be trusted with me due to his drug addictions and alcoholism.  So I was left to my grandparents on my mom’s side, which was the extremely poor side of the very small family.  My mother left and at the time I had no clue where or how she was, it seems to me like she abandoned me to my grandparents.

Well after 6 years of hard work and running the streets, stealing with other kids who were also poor my parents (Grandparents) who I loved so dearly died on me of cancer.  They never got treatment due to lack of money.  At times they would both lie in bed not being able to get up due to their health so I would be left with the burden of finding money and food for us to survive.  This would happen often until they finally died.

 I was only 11 years old.  At the time of the funeral I met a lady who turned out to be my mother.  She cried and apologized and brought me to California where she now lived with her lover who she abandoned me for six years back.  Me and this step-dad never got along due to me not accepting him because he would beat my mother when he got drunk in front of me and two other kids who are my brothers.  At that time they were just some kids I didn’t know.  After two years of living in this house of violence I turned to gangs in the city of Vallejo California. 

At that time I met a lot of Gang members, drugs and activity I was used to while living in Mexico, which was kind of like a comfort and something I had some type of attachment to.  Once I got jumped into the gang I was officially a gang member and I began my journey into earning my respect that I wanted on the streets; the drug dealers, prostitutes and gang members approval of my criminal behavior.       Once jumped in the gang and the people I got involved with, I quickly got arrested for possession of a deadly weapon on school grounds.

 I was 13 years old.  After several petty arrests for violence in schools and being kicked out of every school in my city I caught my first serious case of a high-speed chase and car jacking and got lucky and was sentenced to boot camp for 1 year.

At the age of 15 I got out and began to carry guns and sell dope for other drug dealers.  Not being able to last no more than 2-3 months on the streets before I got arrested again and got sent to programs and boot camps only to get out and continue my gang life with no changes.  I just had too much pride and cared about what people would think of me if I refused to continue gangbanging. 

At age 16 I got sentenced to another program only to get out and return to another stretch of boot camp for the third time.  I got out June 24th of 2006.  At the age of 17 ½ years old, I settled down trying to finally try to let go of this life style.  From June 24th 2006 to October I was doing good, I got off probation, I turned 18 years old and tried to get a job to refrain from selling more dope only to end up at a Halloween party that got me started again, but this time even worst.  A war kicked off between my gang rivals and my gang and I was forced to use my weapon daily and commit robberies to get a quick stack of cash for more guns and drugs to sell only to finally get arrested for a drive by shooting and an old robbery committed months back.  I was 18 years old now so at my first court date I found my best friend/crime partner gave me up for a plea deal and being 18 years old it’s no more boot camp and nice people for me.  I was now looking at spending the rest of my life in prison. 

 I couldn’t believe it.  I didn’t feel it was fair, I didn’t know what to do, I was lost and it was horrible to see your mother cry in agony through a glass window and your girl abandoning you with out an explanation.  Eventually the courts worked a plea deal that I had to take, 18 years in prison and two strikes.  Once sentenced I was transferred to prison and the gang life just got much more violent and you had no choice but to either listen to your shot caller or pay the consequence of not being a loyal gang member to the politics you’ve involved yourself in… politics, the “homies” on the streets don’t teach you.  Well after a year in prison I was influenced to do something only to end up with an attempted murder on an inmate charge with GBI and being a two striker here I was again looking at life in prison. 

At this point one night I dropped to my knees feeling a horrible feeling being in the hole, looking at life.  While on my knees and tears of pain no one could make me feel better.  So I prayed to God the father and his son Jesus and I pleaded for help and strength and I made a promise to him after asking him to forgive me.  I told him if he would just help me get an out date to have the opportunity to get out one day, I would change my ways and would get rid of my evil attitude and I would turn my life around.  I prayed for every one in the world including my victims I’ve ever hurt and I went to sleep. 

The next morning I begun to study my bible and begun my change of attitude.  I began to develop strength to leave my attempted murder case in Gods hands and not stress.  Eventually as I continued walking with my daily study of my God & Jesus I grew a strong feeling inside and faith that I would be free one day again.  I had begun to write resources for information on books and for pen pals to keep me busy.  I had begun to carry myself more humble and I started putting in practice the lessons of the book of Ephesians; chapters 3,4,5, & 6 in the bible and suddenly one day two years later after I plead for help to God and walking by him trying to improve my behaviors I got called to a court date, I did not know I had.  I went to court and was given a plea deal of 7 years!!! Which means I will go home one day! Exactly what I asked God for!  This is something my lawyer himself couldn’t explain to me for he was surprised I was being offered 7 years!  I took the deal and I got sentenced September 30th 2010. 

            I now have a lot more knowledge of God.  I believe in him, he is real and he is graceful if you only get serious and make a change or try to make it.  He sees it and he will be there for us.  Even though I have 16 more years to serve, I look at my past, the memories of my close to death situations being shot at my gang members rivals, being ran over by them in an intent to kill me and many more things which are too painful to write down at this point, but all I can is that half of the people on the streets around gangs I once ran with and the same people who betrayed me are dead due to gang violence, the other half are in prison doing long terms and I can promise to everyone who is willing to believe me.  Gangs are only going to bring pain and suffering to them and it hurts.  God is real and he worked a miracle for me.  I honestly should have been doing life in prison long ago but God heard my prayer and seen my pain and the gangs will not help, it will only destroy..  I hope this testimony has been helpful to who ever takes time to read it and realize that gangs are not the way to go.  I hope this is a blessing to someone who is looking for God’s help, because if they are sincere God will help put love and peace in their heart.  It worked for me…. Regardless of my past it was all a learning experience.  It made me stronger and these 16 years I got left I will try to improve my knowledge and keep trying to change my life into a better one…. trying to reach a strong relationship with God

                I hope this testimony has been a blessing to you.  If you would like to read how others in similar situations have experienced the life transforming power of God please write to me at the address below.  We now have over 30 testimonies of those whose lives have been transformed by God’s amazing Grace.  Please send us your testimony as well.

 

Bro. Otto Ball   C/o

Crossroads Ministry

P.O. Box 363

Hyde, PA  16843