Former Gang Members Speak Out

Aug 15, 2010 8:55 PM

Like most Sundays, the Oroville Church of the Nazarene was filled with music, emotion, and people waiting to hear a message from the pastor. His message for the morning's service: "changing your life." To help empasize the point, three ex-convicts, who reportedly started some of the most notorious gangs in the country, shared their testimony. "I ran down the tier into his cell, stabbed him numerous times, and the only reason was because he was black," former gang member Fred Mendrin explained.

Mendrin was a former member of the Arayan Brotherhood, where he lived a life of violence. During his time in prison, he was ordered to kill another inmate. "It was on me to kill him, and I and another person attacked him and killed him."

Big Al helped start the Mongul Nation. "We beat a lot of people down, we collected money, things like that."

Ernest Roybal was in the Mexican mafia. "I was a shot-caller."

And then, something changed. For Big Al, he says the kindness of a stranger introduced him to religion.

From prisons to churches, these men come with a message, people can change. They say through faith, they were able to live a better life, despite their past. Now they want to encourage others to do the same. "Jesus can change your life," Roybal said.

"It's just absolutely wonderful to give back life when I took a life," Mendrin stated.

"Only Christ can change my life and if he changed my life, he can change any body's life," Big Al said.

The three men spoke again at the church Sunday evening.


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