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Faith

The Incredible Testimony of a Former Gang Member Turned Street Gospel Preacher

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America’s urban communities are ravaged daily by violent street gangs, but stories like that of former gang leader and mixed martial arts fighter Rene “Level” Martinez remind us that nothing, and no one, is bigger than our heart-changing God.
The streets Martinez once terrorized as a gang member he now walks a peaceful man, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Like too many of America’s young people, Martinez grew up without a father, and his mother was “in the streets,” he said in an interview with CBN News.

For Martinez, life started out hard not just socially, but spiritually. “My mom was into Santería,” he added, “which is like a form of witchcraft, sacrificing animals all over me as a kid, and I started seeing demons. They haunted me my whole life.”

Before even entering high school, Martinez had already embarked on a life of crime, and by 1990, he’d been initiated into Florida’s gang scene.

“We had almost like 300 members and feds were investigating us,” he said of the gang he started in 1990, known as the Latin Syndicate. “Half of my homies are in prison. Half of them are dead.”

Still, God wasn’t done allowing Level to experience the depths of depravity gang life can offer. His life would be threatened and miraculously spared several times over.

“I remember the time the gun jammed in my face,” he shared. “I remember the time the bullet grazed my head. The other time the bullet whistled by my ear. The times I was running through the backyard and they were shooting at me. All the times I got shot at. All the times I was half-dead, but I was still alive.”

Later on in life, and after starting a family, Level traded a life of criminal violence for a career in professional violence as a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter.

“I was always good at fighting,” Martinez explained. “I started fighting bare-knuckle with Kimbo Slice. I was beating everybody bare-knuckle; we’re betting money in the backyards, bare-knuckle, I’m winning.”

“My name got so big that Telemundo came and they offered me a pro contract,” he added. “I went to Nicaragua beat the three-time world champion, Ricardo Mayorga.”

Even though Level had abandoned the criminal life, he was still a spiritually-dead man walking: “I had the money. I had the fame. I was doing the gangster music. But I was empty inside.”

But, like so many sons, he was reached by the power of his mother’s prayers after she herself became a Christian.
Finally, in 2016, Level had a radical encounter with God that literally brought him to his knees. “It’s like he showed me my whole life in a matter of like five seconds,” he said.

“I just got on my knees. I started crying out to God. And when He spoke to me, I knew that if I didn’t surrender, I felt like I was going to die.”

Now, just over two years later, Level is back on the streets, but not as a thug spreading violence and fear. Now, he’s “giving them life…”

“Now I’m giving them Jesus,” he said. “I tell them ‘repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost’, Acts 2:38. That’s what I preach.”

Level’s incredible ministry, which has a heavy focus on reaching criminals and gang members with the saving power of the gospel of Jesus, has already begun to bear fruit: “A lot of people come to Christ cause of my testimony and I’m just honored to be used by God.”

“It’s a privilege and honor to be used by him. He could have chosen anybody else,” he said. “I could have been one of the people that died early. But I’m still here and I’m grateful.”

 

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Faith

12-Year-Old Hailed as Hero After Saving His Friends Life After Disturbing Snapchat Posts

We certainly hope there are many more young people like Gabe out there willing to reach out and intervene when their friends are in trouble

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Most of the time, when we think of preteens using Snapchat, we think of all the scary things that can happen online. Bullying, predatory behavior, pornography. It’s a scary cyber world out there. But oddly enough, when one 12-year-old with a good heart and sharp instincts managed to use Snapchat to get his friend the help she needed in the nick of time, by responding quickly right when he noticed something was amiss. Yahoo News reports: Gabe Rongier had been chatting with his friend, who he met on the social media app through a mutual friend, when he noticed a drastic change in the girl’s emotions. According to CBS Pittsburgh, the girl shared a disturbing post that read she “wouldn’t be here tomorrow.” Want daily pop culture news delivered to your inbox? for Yahoo’s newsletter. Gabe, not knowing how to alert the authorities in Texas about the girl possibly being a danger to herself, called the suicide hotline. “I called the suicidal prevention services and it linked me to Officer Chandler [in Texas,]” Gabe told the outlet. “He went to her house, checked up on her. The next day he called me and said, ‘She’s fine. It’s real.’” Gabe’s parents, Fred and Lori, were informed by investigators that they used geotracking to locate the girl and that they arrived in time to intervene with any plans she may have had. “Of course, I’m very proud of him, but I really hope that other young people his age might see the story and also be inspired to also take action to help somebody in need just like Gabe did,” Lori said. Fred added, “When he went to bed, I always kiss him and, I’ve been telling him since that day, ‘You’re my little hero.’” Officer Chandler also sent Gabe, who wants…

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Faith

Huge Fire Tears Through Church…You Won’t Believe Went Unscathed

Firefighters were absolutely shocked when they finally got inside the razed church.

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Truly and utterly, there are some time in which the truth is far stranger than any conjured fiction. Here in America, we seem to love these stories and the mysteries behind them.  We’re obsessed with unsolved true crime, the paranormal, and all things hypothetical…including bizarre notions about the ancient Egyptians galavanting around with extraterrestrials. Is this simply escapism run amok?  Perhaps, but we have been drawn to the impossible and improbable throughout the entirety of human history. That is why the story of a church fire in West Virginia is so compelling. Firefighters in West Virginia surveying the damage from an inferno that had gutted a church over the weekend were astounded when they discovered that a bevy of Bibles and crosses had somehow survived the conflagration unscathed. The remarkable find was reportedly made early Sunday morning after the Coal City Fire Department helped to battle a blaze that had engulfed the Freedom Ministries Church in the community of Greenview. Upon entering the building, the team of rescue workers was stunned to see that every Bible inside the church had apparently made it through the harrowing ordeal undamaged. Posting pictures of the amazing sight to Facebook, the department noted that the fire had, at one point, been so hot that they were actually forced to pull personnel from the building for their safety. The temperatures were so extreme, they explained, that everything inside should have been reduced to ashes. Firefighters also remarked that none of the crosses inside the church itself were damaged by fire either, adding to the mystery.

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