Participants: Aaron Chaney (Host), Annex Luberisse
Series Code: TNJ
Program Code: TNJ000041
00:01 The following program discusses sensitive issues.
00:03 Parents are cautioned that some material
00:05 may be too candid for younger children.
00:09 Today, you will meet a man from the life of hard knocks.
00:11 But now, he serves Jesus. Find out how.
00:14 Join us on The New Journey.
00:48 Welcome back to The New Journey.
00:49 On today's program, we have a young man
00:51 by the name of Annex Luberisse.
00:53 Welcome to the program again, Annex.
00:55 Thank you. Thank you. All right.
00:56 For the record, how old are you and where are you from?
00:58 I'm 30 years old, and I'm from--
01:01 Originally I'm from Haiti.
01:03 But I grew up in Florida, my whole life.
01:05 In West Palm Beach, Florida. All right.
01:07 And Palm Beach is by Lake Worth and Miami, Florida, correct?
01:10 Yeah, it's like 45 minutes outside of a Miami,
01:14 heading south.
01:15 And it's right around that facility.
01:17 Okay, as a young man growing up in Florida,
01:20 in infamous Miami, Lake Worth area.
01:23 What was it like growing up in that area?
01:24 Well, it was pretty hard.
01:26 It was pretty difficult.
01:28 Reason being is because when I first moved
01:30 to the States from Haiti,
01:33 I had a little problems speaking the language.
01:35 So it was pretty hard coming up.
01:38 You know to be able to speak the language
01:40 and to also be able to communicate.
01:42 So, it was a little hard growing up in West Palm.
01:44 Okay, what age did you move from Haiti to America?
01:48 Well, my parents are,
01:49 my father moved me from Haiti since I was three years old.
01:54 So I have been staying at Florida
01:56 since I was about three years old.
01:57 Okay. Okay.
01:59 Now, you grew up
02:00 with your mother, your father, and your siblings.
02:02 Talk about your home environment growing up in,
02:05 eventually your parents did separate?
02:08 My home environment was pretty hard.
02:10 It was pretty bit difficult
02:11 because my father was a hard man.
02:14 You know, I used to have to watch them
02:16 argue back and forth all the time,
02:18 fist fights most of the time with my, not just, not just
02:23 but with my mother but my brother
02:26 and also some of my elder siblings.
02:28 So growing up was pretty hard, I was more a quiet kid.
02:31 I stayed in my place
02:33 because I didn't want my father to know I was there.
02:37 Get out of line, and get you back in line.
02:39 Yeah, get you back in line real good.
02:40 Okay, okay. He was good at that.
02:42 Now, you eventually got involved
02:43 in infamous Top 6 gang.
02:46 I remember, I first heard of Top 6,
02:48 actually maybe a year ago or so,
02:51 and it was, I was a watching a program called Gangland.
02:54 And it was talking heavily about this, this violent gang,
02:57 and you eventually got involved in Top 6,
03:00 which is based out of Lake Worth, Florida.
03:02 Talk about that?
03:04 Well, Top 6 is based out of Lake Worth, Florida.
03:09 And Top 6 was a street gang
03:15 and also a rap gang.
03:16 But I didn't get involved into Top 6
03:21 until I got into high school.
03:24 When I was in high school,
03:26 the same guys I will see in school
03:28 would be the same guys I will see at the club.
03:30 And when things break out at the club,
03:32 they would always have my back.
03:34 So Top 6 ran the streets from Lake Worth going down.
03:38 Our gang name was San Castle,
03:41 we ran it from Hypoluxo, Lantana
03:43 all the way down to Delray.
03:45 And when you said getting involved,
03:46 I didn't get involved in gang, I was the gang.
03:49 You was. Okay. I started it.
03:50 I created it.
03:51 So, I didn't get the opportunity
03:53 to just get involved in the gang,
03:55 to run it like there.
03:57 Now, why do a lot of young people
04:00 get involved with gangs?
04:02 You see, Aaron, most of the time,
04:04 young people would get involve in gangs
04:06 because they would be looking for protection.
04:09 You know, they would be,
04:10 they would be trying to prove their self,
04:11 trying to make it seem like they are tough.
04:14 But that wasn't why we became a gang.
04:20 We was home boys.
04:22 What I mean by home boys is that
04:24 we would stay together, we would live together,
04:26 we would do everything together.
04:28 Every weekend, we was at the club together.
04:30 So, it was very natural for us to have each other back
04:32 in case anything break out.
04:34 So, we was very deeply rooted with each other.
04:41 So did you find that you got like this brotherhood,
04:43 this loving brotherhood bond by being in the gang?
04:50 Of being in a gang really helped me out
04:56 in a many different ways, because it helped me.
05:02 All my life I have been chasing after one thing.
05:08 My guys in the streets was more to me like a brother.
05:12 You know when the Bible says that
05:13 "There is a friend that sticks to you closer,
05:16 there is a friend that sticks closer to you
05:18 than a family member."
05:19 Top 6, San Castle was that.
05:21 They are friend,
05:22 they stuck to me closer than the family member.
05:24 That was my life. That's who I knew.
05:26 So when anything happened, that's who I turn to.
05:29 Now you said something interesting.
05:30 You said that you were always searching for that one thing.
05:33 What was that one thing that you were searching for?
05:36 Well Aaron, as a kid growing up,
05:38 my father didn't really care about me,
05:41 at least he didn't show that.
05:43 My mother worked two jobs.
05:45 She was never there. She did the best she can.
05:48 So, I never had love. Okay.
05:51 I chased after it my whole life.
05:53 I was involved in the gang because of love.
05:55 You know, it's very difficult when a kid grow up,
05:57 mother never hugged him, father never kissed him.
05:59 They never mentioned that word, "I love you," to me.
06:01 So, I spent my whole life chasing after love.
06:05 I would do anything for love.
06:06 I would even kill, I would even be killed for it.
06:09 Looking for something, you know, it's interesting,
06:12 because in my life growing up, I had that love.
06:15 I had the mother and the father that hugged me, kissed me
06:18 and all that stuff like that.
06:20 But still I gravitated to that kind of lifestyle,
06:23 to the street lifestyle.
06:25 Do you think that there was like a strong pool
06:28 that was saying, you know,
06:29 "Get involved in this and that,"
06:31 you know, whether or not you had the love or not?
06:33 Oh yeah, it's a very, very strong pool.
06:35 When you see these guys, and they have everything,
06:37 everything you want, you know,
06:41 they treat you like a brother, they always there for you.
06:46 You know, it's a pool to always have a support base.
06:50 You know we are very social creatures.
06:52 So we're always looking for someone
06:53 that we can talk to, someone that we can depend on.
06:56 And I didn't have the family upbringing for that.
06:58 So, whenever I need a guidance, whenever I need a help,
07:02 I would always fall back on my friends.
07:04 Okay. Okay.
07:05 You know, I have done that a lot of times too,
07:07 even though I had the parents to talk to,
07:10 could have prayed with and various things like that.
07:12 I would always, you know, fall back on the friends.
07:15 I would trust my friends
07:17 more than I would trust my own family.
07:19 And I remember even when I was changing my life,
07:23 that I didn't want to contact my friends,
07:26 because I felt if I contact them,
07:28 they'd kind of give you this prescription.
07:30 And the prescription will be, "Well, smoke a blunt,
07:33 drink some alcohol, and call me in the morning."
07:34 Kind of like the doctor's prescription.
07:37 Now, you have lost friends in the street though.
07:40 Talk about that, those feelings that you got,
07:43 when you would see friends or even loved ones,
07:46 lost in the streets?
07:48 Well, the thing is that's one of the most difficult things
07:52 you can go through with your life, is losing
07:54 friends or family members in the street.
07:56 But the more and more you end up
07:58 losing people in the streets, the easier and easier it gets.
08:01 One of my home boys,
08:03 he stayed three houses down the street from me.
08:05 The night before he got murdered,
08:06 I remember I was telling him,
08:08 "Hey, you know, just be careful."
08:09 Because I already knew
08:11 what he was getting ready to do.
08:12 So I told him be careful, you know.
08:14 The next day I was at work, I received a phone call,
08:18 one of my other friends called me and told me
08:19 that he was just gunned down.
08:21 And it really hit a home, when the last words
08:25 you can tell your friend was be careful.
08:28 Now, you know, you had to go to a funeral
08:29 because he is been murdered.
08:31 But the next one really hit close to home, Aaron.
08:34 Reason being because this next guy was like,
08:39 he was a family.
08:40 I grew up with him, I live with him.
08:43 He was mainly like a brother to me.
08:48 He was told prior to him getting,
08:53 prior to him dying that if he didn't retaliate,
08:55 the person that he had the issue with would retaliate.
08:59 But he didn't retaliate. Okay.
09:01 So, he was gunned down, down the street from--
09:03 I actually watched him die in the street.
09:07 Wow, you know, on the streets
09:08 it's kind of like a killer be killed type world.
09:11 You know, you have many people, you know, out to get you.
09:14 You know, I told him.
09:17 I told him that, you know,
09:18 if you don't take care of your business,
09:20 your business will take care of you.
09:22 You live by the gun, you die by the gun.
09:24 And you know, you've told me before
09:26 that you develop that mentality
09:28 "live by the gun, die by the gun."
09:29 First of all, explain what does that mean,
09:32 and then how did you come to that type of mentality?
09:34 Well it's simple, it's just like in Matthew
09:36 when Jesus says, "Then that lived by the sword,
09:39 will perish with the sword."
09:41 It's the same thing.
09:42 You live by the gun, you will die by the gun.
09:44 You know, if you are going to shoot people,
09:47 be ready to be shot.
09:48 You know, because the devil is out to take it out.
09:51 He is not out to play around.
09:53 The devil is not out to give you a second chance.
09:55 He is out to take you out and your family out.
09:57 So if you gonna live with a gun,
09:59 be ready for someone else to take care of you as well.
10:01 Be ready to use it. Yeah.
10:02 And you know, people used to say on the streets,
10:03 "If you are going pull it, make sure you use it."
10:05 And the interesting thing about it is
10:07 we grew up with the mentality,
10:09 "If you gonna use it, use it right."
10:10 You know, if you gonna shoot some one,
10:12 make sure you don't just shoot him in his side
10:14 because they are gonna come back.
10:16 They are gonna come back and they are gonna kill you.
10:18 They are not just gonna shoot you.
10:19 When we shoot, we shoot to kill.
10:20 And that is the reality out at streets.
10:23 You know, I often tell people, "Not everybody makes it back."
10:26 We are blessed and fortunate that we can sit here today,
10:31 and we can communicate.
10:33 But many ones that you know, ones that I know,
10:35 they are dead
10:37 or they're incarcerated doing years behind bars.
10:40 You know, but it's a blessing to be able to walk away
10:43 from that stuff with your life.
10:46 Now at this point in your life,
10:47 what was your religious background?
10:49 Well, it's interesting that you asked that question.
10:51 At that point in my life, I was a baptized Mormon.
10:55 I was a Mormon.
10:56 And, but I wasn't really going to church,
10:59 like I was supposed to be going to church as a Mormon.
11:02 So, my understanding of the Bible
11:04 and of my Savior Jesus Christ was very limited.
11:07 So, as being a Mormon
11:10 and as growing up in a very secular household,
11:15 it was very hard.
11:16 It was very hard for me to learn about Jesus
11:18 or for me to know anything about Jesus.
11:20 So, I pulled away from the Mormon Church
11:23 to run into streets.
11:25 Now, in your household was anybody else a Mormon
11:28 or did they frequently go to church,
11:30 or was it just you?
11:31 Well, at first it was just me.
11:33 And I think my brother got involved into it a little bit.
11:36 And my sister got involved into it a little bit.
11:40 But just like I said,
11:41 they get involved for a little time
11:43 and then they fade off.
11:44 You know, it was never a binding relationship
11:48 with the Lord Jesus Christ.
11:49 It was just something that you would do every Sunday.
11:53 Now talk about your involvement
11:54 in hip-hop music, secular hip-hop music
11:57 as well as doing shows in clubs as a underground rapper.
12:00 Talk about that?
12:01 Well, as hip-hop played a big part of my life.
12:03 Okay, as it did for mine as well.
12:04 Yeah, yeah, you know how it is.
12:06 We talk hip-hop, we live hip-hop.
12:09 It becomes a part of our culture.
12:11 You know, so, most of those guys
12:14 that I was with as growing up, we love music.
12:17 So we would always do music.
12:19 I would love to write song,
12:20 because that's the closest I can get to write poetry,
12:23 without my homeboys calling me self.
12:25 You know, so, we was,
12:27 every week we was in the studio,
12:29 and after we get out of the studio,
12:30 we would go to the club to perform the music,
12:33 and to do various things
12:34 like do concerts and things like that.
12:38 Okay. Okay.
12:39 Now, talk about that time where you said
12:42 the devil fully began to enter you.
12:44 Now, it's interesting that you say that
12:47 because, you know, all these things
12:49 that you and I were doing in the streets
12:51 were "devilish."
12:53 But there was a specific incident
12:55 that you kind of really felt that the devil entered you.
12:57 Talk about that?
12:58 Well, it was on a Friday. Okay.
13:02 It was on a Friday night,
13:04 I was with the group of friends,
13:06 and we was getting ready to go to the club.
13:09 Now, prior to getting ready to go to the club,
13:11 I had told one of my closest friends
13:13 that I was gonna go to the club.
13:15 I had a right hand man.
13:17 But he told me that he wasn't gonna be there.
13:19 He was gonna be at a--
13:21 I think he was gonna be at a basketball game, somewhere
13:25 but he wasn't there.
13:27 So, I end up going to the club with these group of friends.
13:29 They wasn't San Castle nor Top 6.
13:31 It was just a group of friends.
13:33 So, we end up going to the concert.
13:34 At that concert, Top 6 was there.
13:37 They was performing.
13:39 So when they got done performing,
13:43 I remember like it was yesterday.
13:44 I was standing on stage, standing in front of the stage.
13:48 And once they got done performing,
13:50 they jumped off the stage
13:51 and another group came on to perform.
13:56 As that other group was performing,
13:57 I was talking to a girl on my right.
14:02 And as I was talking to her,
14:03 I overheard the guy that was performing.
14:06 After he got done, he said
14:08 "If anyone wants to see about me,
14:10 meet me outside."
14:11 You know, I knew what that means,
14:14 you know, I have been putting these predicaments before.
14:16 So, I already knew those was fighting words,
14:19 or possibly killing words.
14:20 So, it was like a threat. Yeah, it's a threat.
14:22 You know, first ones to the trunk wins.
14:24 You know, 'cause be the first one
14:25 to grab your gun, you win,
14:27 because everything else is history.
14:30 Okay. So, I knew what that meant.
14:32 So as I'm talking to this girl on my right,
14:35 as I'm trying to wrap up the conversation with her,
14:38 the guy jumps off stage.
14:40 So as soon as he jumps off stage,
14:42 I'm thinking, "Okay, what is this guy gonna do?"
14:44 So I have one eye on him and another eye on the girl,
14:47 'cause I'm trying to finish doing
14:48 what I have to do with her,
14:50 so I can attend to this situation.
14:52 So, I looked at him, just like I'm looking at you right now.
14:56 So he saw me.
14:58 I don't know if he recognized me,
14:59 but he started--
15:00 Now, he was walking towards the crowd,
15:02 he started walking towards me.
15:03 So, as he is walking towards me,
15:06 he picks up a bottle.
15:09 So when he picks up the bottle,
15:10 the girl grabs my attention again.
15:12 So, I turned back to look at her.
15:14 And as soon as I turned back to look at her,
15:16 I tried to turn back to see where he was at.
15:19 And he hits me right over the face
15:21 with the bottle.
15:23 So when he hits me over the face with the bottle,
15:25 I turn around and I catch him with the hard right.
15:27 So, he falls back. He falls back.
15:29 So, I jumped on top of him.
15:31 And I just went to, I just went to work.
15:33 You know, I went to hit him
15:35 and as they are trying to pull me off of him
15:37 at no success.
15:38 I was gonna beat him until he just stopped breathing
15:40 because that's just the way it is in the streets.
15:42 Oh yeah, that's exactly how it is.
15:43 We don't fight to fight later, we fight and end it now.
15:47 So, I wasn't coming off of him.
15:49 I was gonna beat him until he stops.
15:50 So as would stop, as he begin to stop moving,
15:54 I heard some say, "Move, move, move, move."
15:56 So someone hits me over the head with a bar stool.
15:59 So, I roll over,
16:01 after being hit with a bar stool,
16:02 and I get up and that's when everything breaks loose.
16:05 Now, everyone's fighting for their life.
16:07 So as we, as we fighting, I'm fighting like
16:10 with like six or seven people on me.
16:14 The group that was there, they had a lot of people
16:16 that was on their side.
16:18 So, six or seven people on me, and we are fighting,
16:21 I'm fighting for my life.
16:23 In a fight, I always--
16:25 By being in the street so long,
16:26 I knew that you have to get your back against the wall.
16:29 Because you don't know,
16:30 you don't want somebody coming behind you.
16:32 So, I'm trying to find,
16:33 I'm trying to get my back to the wall.
16:35 So, as I get my back into the wall,
16:37 we're just fighting, you know,
16:39 it's really, really getting intense.
16:41 So it's just mayhem in a club? It's mayhem.
16:43 It's crazy. Wow.
16:44 Chairs are being throne, bottles are being--
16:47 So, a long time into this fight,
16:51 you know, it's just more and more people
16:53 are building up on me.
16:54 So, I started to lose energy.
16:58 I started to get exhausted from all of that fighting,
17:00 all of that fist war.
17:02 So, I was starting to give up. Okay.
17:06 So, one of my homeboys from Top 6,
17:07 he jumped in and he helped me out,
17:09 you know, he got a couple of 'em off from me.
17:11 So, he basically saved my life.
17:14 He gave me the opportunity to get away.
17:16 So, I came outside, and as soon as I came outside,
17:20 more of 'em was outside than they was inside.
17:22 So, they got back on me again,
17:24 and they just started really, really starting to work me.
17:27 They started to really beating me,
17:29 beating the life out of me.
17:30 So, at that time, I couldn't fight 'em.
17:32 Where I was tired. Okay.
17:34 I had no more strength left in me.
17:35 Okay, now at that point, were you on any type
17:37 of narcotic or alcohol or anything like that?
17:39 Interesting, I've never drunk, I've never did narcotics
17:44 or drugs and nothing like that.
17:45 Okay, and that is very interesting
17:47 'cause most people that have been in streets,
17:50 they get high, they drink, you know, it's just,
17:52 it's almost like it comes with the lifestyle,
17:53 the territorial almost.
17:55 Well, yeah, those people, we were more smart.
17:59 We usually look at those people as people that didn't really--
18:01 Because you can't use what you are selling.
18:03 Once you start using what you are selling,
18:04 you become addicted
18:06 to what you are selling, and now--
18:07 There is less profit in your pocket.
18:08 Now, less profit in your pocket.
18:10 So, I wasn't on narcotics, I was pretty aware.
18:13 That's why I remember it so good.
18:14 So as I'm fighting and the girls,
18:18 and I heard this girl saying, "It's Annex, it's Annex."
18:21 So after that, I'm pretty much helpless.
18:24 I'm on my knees, defenseless. And they just working me.
18:27 So, I heard three shots fire, pop-pop-pop.
18:31 So, that stopped, that stopped. I won't be hitting no more.
18:35 I don't know if, I think they helped me out.
18:38 So, I was just lying there in the puddle of blood
18:41 actually fighting for my life.
18:43 And this girl comes up to me and she grabs me
18:45 and she says, "You will be okay,
18:47 you will be okay."
18:48 So, I said, "I'm thirsty, give me something to drink."
18:50 And she says, "Okay". So she gives me some water.
18:54 So after I get the water,
18:55 I told, "I'm tired, I feel sleepy."
18:58 So automatically, she says,
19:00 "No, no, no, no, no, no, don't go to sleep."
19:01 "Don't go to sleep, don't go to sleep,
19:03 stay awake, stay awake."
19:04 I'm covered in blood.
19:05 We don't know where the blood is coming from.
19:07 Okay. So, I said, "I couldn't."
19:09 Because at that time, it was easier to go to sleep
19:11 than it was easier to fight.
19:13 Death seemed a lot more easier
19:14 than to try to fight to stay alive.
19:16 Yeah, exactly. So, I went to sleep.
19:20 So, and I remember waking up in a ambulance.
19:24 And the guy in ambulance is telling me, "Stay awake,
19:26 stay awake, stay awake.
19:28 What's your name? What's your name?"
19:29 And I don't remember if I answered him
19:31 or told him my name but they were able
19:33 to stabilize me in the hospital.
19:35 I had major head trauma.
19:37 I lost my hearing in one side of my--
19:40 On this side, I can't really hear
19:43 that well in this side.
19:45 I came three inches away from being completely blind.
19:48 From after when he hit me over the face with the bottle.
19:50 Yeah, okay. So, the Lord spared my life.
19:54 Praise the Lord.
19:55 But I really didn't look at it that way.
19:57 I was so corrupt, that I didn't see it that way.
20:00 The way I looked at it is like,
20:02 "These guys was going to kill me."
20:05 So now, Aaron, I lost complete control.
20:07 The devil had full sway. I would--
20:10 Up until that time, I had sympathy for people.
20:13 You know, sometimes my friends would do something,
20:15 "Nah, nah, nah, just leave that alone."
20:17 You know I would, I would tell him not to do it,
20:19 because I had sympathy towards people.
20:22 At that point-- But after that incident--
20:23 I understand that these guys was gonna kill me
20:25 if they had the chance.
20:27 Yeah. If they didn't get--
20:28 If those shots wasn't fired, if they didn't get shot,
20:31 they was gonna literally make sure that I was dead.
20:33 Yeah, okay.
20:34 So at that point, I, my life completely turned around.
20:36 I was gonna kill, or I was gonna be killed.
20:38 Yeah. So, the devil had full control.
20:40 So, the people that your beating in the club,
20:43 did you know them or was it just some kind of random?
20:45 Well, we always knew each other.
20:47 We always knew the group
20:49 that you don't want to get caught in their territory,
20:51 or they don't want to be caught in your territory.
20:53 And if you are caught in their territory,
20:54 you better make sure you have strap.
20:57 You strap.
20:58 Because when they come, they come in
21:01 and if you get caught alone in their place,
21:05 they would take care of you.
21:06 And I mean by taking care of you
21:07 that they would make sure that you don't make it out alive.
21:10 Because if you make it out alive,
21:11 you will come back and you'll make sure that
21:12 they don't make it out alive.
21:14 Now, let me ask you this.
21:15 How much of an influence do you think that music had on,
21:18 a secular hip-hop music had on your life at the time?
21:20 Let me tell you something. I'm gonna tell you a story.
21:23 We couldn't perform an act without music.
21:26 We couldn't go to war without music.
21:30 We needed to listen to music.
21:32 We needed to listen to Master P,
21:33 we needed to listen to Trick Daddy,
21:35 we needed that mental build up to get us to do something.
21:39 Without the music, we couldn't really, really do nothing.
21:41 So, when we did music, we did the music
21:44 pertaining to what we are doing.
21:46 Oh, yeah. How we are living.
21:47 So when we listened to our song,
21:49 we're more ready to attack.
21:52 Yeah, I understand, I know for myself,
21:55 times when I become really angry,
21:56 I would listen to Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
21:59 And it was like that the evil inside of the music
22:02 would just speak to me,
22:04 and make that aggression even worse.
22:06 So, I can very much relate with you, Annex,
22:08 in terms of that.
22:10 But you began to make a transition in your life
22:12 out of the gang.
22:13 You didn't change your life at that point.
22:15 And start coming closer to Jesus,
22:17 but you did make a transition out of the gang.
22:19 How did that inspired?
22:21 Well, as I was in the streets, I always had a day job.
22:25 I had a day job during the day time.
22:27 And on that day job, I used to work at a warehouse.
22:30 And I got my CDO.
22:32 So, I started to drive trucks.
22:34 And driving trucks, I went to truck driving school.
22:38 And as I was coming back home from the truck driving school,
22:40 I was at a train station, waiting to catch a train
22:42 to go back to West Palm.
22:44 And I was sitting at the train station,
22:45 and that's when the spirit of God
22:47 started to strive with me.
22:48 You know, I had a little bit of Mormon background,
22:50 so I had to form of godliness but denied the power thereof.
22:55 You know, so I knew
22:57 that my past was covered with blood.
23:01 I had no future.
23:02 So at that point of time, I got down on my knees and I prayed.
23:06 It was very simple.
23:08 I said, "Lord, Jesus, if there is a God out there,
23:12 please, I have done everything that there is to do.
23:15 I have broken all Your commandments,
23:17 I have done everything that You said not to do."
23:21 There is two things that I have not done
23:23 and I promise you.
23:24 If You watch my back,
23:26 I will never do those two things.
23:28 I will never drink a day in my life,
23:29 and I will never smoke.
23:31 And that was all that I haven't done.
23:33 Everything else, I have done it."
23:34 So I was like, "If You can just watch my back,
23:38 I will not do these things."
23:39 And before I can finish praying,
23:41 a lady tapped me on my shoulder,
23:42 and she said, "Do you believe in God?"
23:43 I said, "Yeah, I believe in God."
23:45 And she gave me a tract
23:47 and she gave me her phone number,
23:49 she was a Jehovah's Witnesses.
23:51 So, I went back home
23:52 and that's when the transformation
23:53 started to happen getting out of streets.
23:55 Okay, but, you got out of streets,
23:57 but you still didn't make a change,
23:59 and actually we are gonna have a part two of you
24:02 and find out what happened after the gang life.
24:05 But let me ask you this.
24:07 You know most people, they say they can't leave the gang,
24:10 or if they do, the only way they will
24:12 is in a body bag pretty much.
24:14 So how were you able to pull away from the gang
24:17 without the repercussions of leaving the gang?
24:19 Well, it was pretty difficult. Okay.
24:21 The street life, you never get away from it.
24:24 You know, it's hard to get away from it.
24:26 You can never get away from it.
24:27 Only Christ can pull you away from it.
24:29 And the transition started happening
24:33 as I started to move towards Atlanta.
24:36 But as I started to move towards Atlanta,
24:39 the streets kept coming with me.
24:40 Yeah. Oh, yeah.
24:41 You know, the streets kept coming with me.
24:43 So it was, it was very difficult
24:45 to leave that type of stuff alone.
24:48 What really helped me out
24:49 was the more and more violent it got,
24:53 the more and more the friends
24:54 that really know me starting to die off.
24:56 You know, they would get murdered,
24:58 they would end up in jail.
25:00 And so other people would fill in their slot
25:03 that didn't know me that well,
25:05 that really helped me out as well.
25:06 But it was still a hard, it was still hard
25:10 to be able to completely pull yourself away.
25:12 To walk away, yeah.
25:13 Now, the ones that you walked away,
25:15 they were like these brothers to you.
25:18 Are you still in communication with them today?
25:21 Have you tried to reach out to them or how was that going?
25:24 Well, some of 'em are on my Facebook page.
25:29 So, yeah, I do try to reach out to some of them,
25:31 but you have to be careful with these guys.
25:33 Oh, yeah, yeah.
25:34 Because when you look at it,
25:37 they are still in the same things
25:39 that they was in before.
25:42 So, it's very difficult as the type of wrap
25:45 that I have to easily try to reach out to.
25:48 But I always try to be an example
25:52 for the next person.
25:53 You know, if I can make it out,
25:55 it's possible for them to make it out as well.
25:56 Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
25:58 So, your life is pretty much
26:00 what helps other people to come out of that transition.
26:03 Okay, now, as I stated,
26:04 we are gonna do a part two, Annex.
26:06 But some people may not see part two.
26:08 Some young man that is in your situation
26:11 right now that you were years ago in gangs.
26:14 What word can you say to that young person
26:17 to turn him away from that street life?
26:19 Well, what I can say is, brothers and sisters,
26:24 Jesus still save.
26:26 Up until this day He still save.
26:28 He brought me out of the streets,
26:29 so He can bring anyone else out of streets."
26:32 Like John 3:16 say, "For God so loved..."
26:34 So loved the world. You, not the world.
26:38 "For God so loved you
26:39 that He gave His only begotten Son."
26:41 Jesus is the only way.
26:43 Yes, He is the only way.
26:44 He is the way.
26:45 Everything else is a counterfeit.
26:48 Nothing else will save you except for Jesus.
26:50 Because, it's hard, Aaron, it's very, very hard
26:54 to sit and to watch your friends die.
26:56 I had the cars, I had the clothes,
26:58 I had the money.
26:59 I ran the streets. I lived the fast life.
27:01 All of that is vanity. Yeah.
27:03 There is nothing in that to gain.
27:06 There is nothing in that
27:07 that you can take with you to the afterlife.
27:09 Only thing you can take is that Lord Jesus Christ,
27:11 Lord and Savior.
27:12 So, my appeal would be to the young people is,
27:16 all of that stuff means nothing.
27:18 Hold on to Jesus, grab hold on to Jesus,
27:21 and don't let Him go.
27:22 You don't want to go through what I went through.
27:25 You gonna--
27:27 Someone's mother is gonna cry at the end of the day.
27:29 Someone's mother is gonna be in black and white.
27:32 You don't want your mother to be
27:34 coming to see you at a funeral nor in jail.
27:37 So, you have to really, really do it for your mother sake.
27:40 If not for your mother sake, for your God sake.
27:43 And the thing about it is really, really interesting
27:45 is that I came from this part.
27:48 Annex, I would like to thank you
27:49 for being on the program.
27:51 Please tune in next week for part two.