I was born in Houston. A Latin American living in the projects. Me and my mom lived with my grandpa. Although he was more like my dad.
I remember at the age of 8 having to move, because my grandfather lost his job where we lived. We were far from rich but he made sure we had food on the table. But life for me was good up to this point. As I sadly said my goodbye to my friends. Me and my family made our way to Bryan, TX. I remember visits there on the Greyhound to see my great grandparents years before. How could I forget. I was a young child and they only spoke to me in Spanish. That was always followed by a hug and laugh from them both. But now in 1982 they had both passed away and we were moving into thier house there on Commerce St. this is where my story truly begins.
A different city. Way smaller than the big city lights of Houston. I found myself in a new school. Trying to figure out how I was going to make friends. Being as shy as I was. We were about to find out. I remember the first recess on the playground. I walked past the swings out to the field where a couple of guys were playing football. I came right as they were picking teams. As I expected I got picked last. But soon I earned thier friendship with the twins Ced n Ted. The Burns brothers. They would be the ones to accept me into thier circle of friends. Some friends that helped me become different than I used to be. A scared child I was, who at 8 yrs old never ever been in a real fight. But it was all about to change. My first altercation was one of a few mostly guys hitting me and me just standing there taking punishment. Until one day my grandad saw it happen in the front yard. Afterwards he pulled me aside and told me "MIJO", which means "my son" in Spanish. "If you don't take a stand. People will run over you all your life." The next day here comes "Poopsie" the neighborhood bully walking over to me and right on time he pops me in my chest I just told him "stop it." POP! hits me again. My anger starts to rise inside of me. This time I let that rage build up and grow. As I see him about to hit me agian and I reach back and swing. I think my eyes were closed. But when I opened my eyes Poopsie was on the concrete with blood coming out of his nose and crying. That day was the last time I stopped running away.
A few years later I got involved with a few friends who were more close knit. We really had each other's back. So close we named ourselves the H- boyz. Short for "Homeboyz" We mostly hung out and smoked weed and always was trying to hook up with the ladies. But in the late 80s our town was about to change. 1991 hits and our once close knit group of homies moved to other parts of town and other parts of town started thier own groups. But now there were gangs some who wore colors and flying thier flags. This one gang "The Bloodhounds" were really starting to come at me and the homies really hard asking "what set we claimed." I told him "We ain't no gang. Just Homies."
I thought it was cool after that but two days later they jumped one of the homies down the block. I knew we could not let them just beat up on us. So the next time we were ready. When they were driving by and stopped and got out the car all four of them were met by me and three of the homies. And we was not backing down. At age 17 I had already been seasoned at fighting and the G code. The code of the streets.. When it was over they drove off faces bloody. It wasn't until a year later in 1992 things got worse. Territories were drawn. But the two biggest were the West Side and East Side of town. I lived on the West Side. On Commerce Street. Aka "Compton Commerce" Because of the sounds of gun violence that echoed over the past few months.
It was the night after the Superbowl and My favorite team the Cowboys just beat the Bills in the Superbowl. Me and a few of the homies were celebrating on the front porch of my house when all of a sudden a car slowly driving by opens fire. As the shots rang out standing in front of me my homie Rey falls on me and winces in pain saying "Ahhh! I'm hit!! First thing in my mind is "Quit playing Rey." But as I felt his back I felt the blood and smelled the gunpowder and knew my Homie was shot. I remember the emotions of anger and revenge. But it would have to wait. We had to get Rey to the hospital.
I remember that night at the hospital outside the room talking with the homies about finding out who did it. And pulling a drive-by on them. The next day one of the homies found out the information on the Vato who did it. A rival gang from the East Side. So it was setup to get payback later that night. As I waited I got a call from my Babygirl Rosita. She wanted to catch a movie. I was like ok. I didn't have a car yet so I had the homie drop me off at the movies and pick me up after. So we could "do that driveby." Next thing I know I'm walking home after the movie. The homie never showed up. So I get home and I'm chilling when I hear a knock at my window. It's my Homie "Black Knight." He's like "Man I need a place to crash. I'm on the run Homes." I said "Why, what happened Homie? Yall never picked me up." He said " We got 'em. we even got their dog."
Said they had a full car so there was no room to pick me up. I was just kinda expressionless. I was not excited as I thought I would be. The next day I went to go see Rey. He was going to live. But doctors said the bullet entered his stomach and shattered. So it could not be fully removed. As we stood outside in the waiting room. I see an unusual man with a Ponytail stop and start heading for us. First thought in my head is "oh shit!, retaliation." But what came out his mouth just stopped me cold...
"Can I pray with you" I did not want nothing to do with God or prayer. I just showed respect let him pray and left. Next thing I know he starts showing up at my house asking to pray for me. And inviting me to the heart of the gang violence where they set up a tent. And was having a citywide church revival. I kept trying to dodge Mr J. But some of the Homies went and said they felt different. And that I should go. My girl was going so I figured I would go meet her there. As I sat there Mr J was up there talking about how he overcame drugs and a messed up life. How he almost lost his family and how Jesus changed his life. As he talked it seemed like he was digging into my life. My hurts, my pains.
Had he been talking to my Family? I don't know but next thing I know I hear him say Jesus loves you. And if you want to give your life to God and be born again to come up and let him lead us in the sinners prayer. And for some reason I believed it. As tears rolled down my face. I found myself listening to every word. And before I knew it I was asking Jesus into my life. I felt this huge weight being lifted off of me.
That was back in 1992. It is 2022 And today I am so thankful to be alive and I owe it all to God. Every time I face an obstacle in life I know who my "Strength" is. My " Comforter". Amen. Through Mr J and many other brothers and sisters in Christ I was able to overcome The gangs, and drugs and hardships that everyday life brings. All glory to God.
Thank you for reading!