Los Angeles Gang Family To Family Of God: Testimony Of New Life

gang, Los Angeles, El Salvador, juvenile facility, prison, release
For Mark Dubon, the place of ultimate belonging and peace were found safe in the family of God.
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I was born and raised in the City of Los Angeles. My Parents migrated from El Salvador with the American dream to have a prosperous life. However, my father was killed, and my Mom ended up having to fill both roles. I did not have a family environment at home, so I sought a family in the streets.

I grew up during a time when the gang lifestyle was part of my environment. As a result, I ended up joining a Los Angeles street gang. I went from carrying my school bag and books to carrying guns and knives. My life as a gang member eventually led me to using drugs, and tattooing the gang’s name on my body proving my loyalty. Juvenile hall and camp facilities became my second home, and sleeping on a concrete slab did not feel like such a big deal anymore. By the age of 15 I had been shot, and was heavily addicted to drugs. Nevertheless, God’s mercy was with me.

I was arrested for strong- armed robbery, and the same judge who had been dealing with me since I was 12 saw me for the last time. He sentenced me to 5½ years with the California Youth Authority.

While watching the time roll by I became bitter, angry, and confused with no sense of purpose in life. The unavoidable law of nature became true for me. What I contemplated, I became. I fed my mind with corruption until my character bore the likeness of Satan/the devil. Sin took its toll on me, and my heart became hardened. At age 19, and soon to finish my sentence, I got into trouble again. I caught a new case inside the correctional facility, was tried as an adult and required to serve four more years in the California State Prison. Taking into account prior time served, I was finally released at the age of 21.

I had lost my teenage years to prison. Since I went in as a child and came out as an adult I didn’t know how to act in the outside world, so I went back to the streets. When I got I arrested and sentenced to a rehabilitation center this time, God, through a counselor, began speaking to my heart. I successfully completed the program and began working at a restaurant.

In the process of trying to better my life, my past came back to haunt me, I was surrounded by Sheriffs, re-arrested, and taken to the Los Angeles County Jail. I was facing consequences that were literally going to end my life: the death penalty. Tired and broken I just wanted peace in my life. God saw the turmoil of my soul and sent His Word, and healed me. Another inmate in my jail cell gave me a small New Testament Bible and I began to read it:

Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
Bound in affliction and irons—
11 Because they rebelled against the words of God,
And despised the counsel of the Most High,
12 Therefore He brought down their heart with labor;
They fell down, and there was none to help.
13 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
And broke their chains in pieces.
15 Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
16 For He has broken the gates of bronze,
And cut the bars of iron in two.

17 Fools, because of their transgression,
And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.
18 Their soul abhorred all manner of food,
And they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
20 He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.
21 Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
22 Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And declare His works with rejoicing.

(Psalm 107:10-22, NKJV).

As I read that small Bible, I fell in love with Jesus! I was changed by God’s Word! I fell on Jesus the Rock and was broken. The more I read that Bible, the more I surrendered my life to Jesus in repentance and confession of all my sins. The power of His saving grace began taking away the filthy language, the anger, the pain, and the bitterness. Christ took over my heart and gave me the joy of His salvation! He gave me peace! God began using me to hold Bible studies and prayer circles with other inmates.

cuffed defendantI prayed that God’s will would be done in my case. Whether I should spend the rest of my life in prison or be released, I purposed in my heart that I would serve Him. My lawyer visited me, and told me that the District Attorney was dropping the death penalty, but was still pushing for a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. After two years of fighting my case, once more the District Attorney wanted to cut me a deal of 20 years if I pled guilty. I said, “no, let’s fight to the end!” Eventually, after three years, and three months, my case was coming to a close. The judge came back with a verdict: Not Guilty.

I can imagine Satan standing in the courtroom accusing me before God the Father, and Jesus Christ standing next to me interceding for me saying, “This is my son. Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? I have redeemed him with My blood. I have washed away his guilty stains, I have paid the ransom” (Zechariah 3:1-4).

I was released on October 24, 2006 in an all-white jumpsuit (imagine that).   A day prior to my release, I committed a fast to the Lord, and I wanted to keep my commitment to Him so I fasted for three days and three nights. During that time, the Lord was convicting me about the Sabbath Truth. So on the first Saturday of my release, I decided to go to a Seventh-day Adventist church some of my relatives attended. I began taking Bible studies with an elder there, and was baptized on February 10, 2007. I had the privilege of going back, and sharing with those in the streets of Los Angeles about the good news of God’s love, and forgiveness of sin, and now God has blessed me with a beautiful family.

I never graduated from Junior High, High School, or College, but by God’s grace, I was finally able to get a G.E.D. Now I attend Ouachita Hills College, and will soon be graduating with a B.A. in Theology.

The moment that I was truly free was not when I was physically released by the authorities from prison, it was when I accepted the peace of Christ that flooded my soul because I knew I was forgiven!

There are many today that live behind prison walls, who have accepted Jesus, who are freer than many of those on the outside. The truth of the matter is, we all stand guilty before a Holy God. (Romans 3:23.) We are all facing the death penalty. No one is exempt. At one point or another, you have to recognize you are alone on Death Row. Let Jesus be your advocate. He will plead on your behalf. Time is running short, Friend! The Bible says, that one day, all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:10.) How will you stand on that great day? Will Jesus declare of you “Not Guilty”, or will you be weighed in the balance and found wanting? Surrender your life to Jesus, today. Let Him be your Savior and friend that you may be found wearing the wedding garment of His righteousness.

Jesus is a living Savior! He lives today! The same Jesus does miracles today!

 

 

 

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