Forgiven & Changed: Lalo’s Story

Posted on by Bonnie Rodriguez

I grew up looking up to dope boys and gangsters in my hood because they were our celebrities: they had the best looking cars, clothes, and shoes, all the things that made them successful men in my eyes. Nobody around me was talking about church or school; it was all about money, girls, and respect. All of this led me to hurting a lot of people and even dropping out of school. But when City Life KIX came to our neighborhood, I started attending and made friends with a guy named Alex.  I remember clearly the night he stood up and told us all, “God forgives.” 

I didn't grow up in a environment that practiced forgiveness; the attitude was more like, “If you do something bad, we have to retaliate.”  Plus, I grew up in a church that taught doing good would get you to heaven, and whoever did bad was a child of the devil.  I thought it was a wrap for me, because I knew I did wrong.  When I heard Christ forgives, it was like a fire started in my heart and mind. I started to study the Bible, kept going to KIX and asked Alex to disciple me. Finally, I understood the Gospel, accepted Christ, found a church and got baptized.

Now you can catch me telling kids in my neighborhood the opposite of what I was told. Instead of telling them about money, women, and drugs, I’m out there telling them about Christ and education. God grew a desire in me to love and care for my community. He even provided money for me to work at City Life KIX part-time. Even with all the negativity in the streets, I know I’m going to be in these kids’ ears, reminding them of Christ and their education.

Sincerely,

Lalo Torres

City Life KIX Indigenous Leader

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