OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – From prison to preaching, ex-gang members find new life spreading the gospel.
Former felons are now using their story as a tool to stop gang violence in Oklahoma.
“Here in Oklahoma City, there [are] still Hispanic gangs,” said Luis Perez. “We did have rival gang members.”
The violence led Luis Perez and his best friend David Medina behind bars for decades. They were caught up in the fast life of drugs, gangs, and poverty on the city’s southwest side.
The two men were convicted on felony charges, ranging from shooting with intent to kill, racketeering, and possession of drugs.
“My whole life, I’ve been in gangs,” said David Medina. “I’ve been incarcerated my whole juvenile years. I was locked up.”
The street life was all Medina knew, and he showed no signs of slowing down until he got a call no father wanted to hear.
“I just dropped to my knees when I was incarcerated and my daughter passed away,” said Medina. “That was a time of pain I’ve never experienced in my life.”
“I gave my life to Christ, and God just started putting all the pieces together.”
Medina turned his heartache into a mission of love. He created the non-profit ‘Bangin 4 Jesus.’
“Back in the days, we used to say we used to bang for the streets,” said Perez. “You know, we used to bang for our gang. Now we bang for Jesus.”
Perez, Medina, and the other non-profit members are using their troubled past as a tool to help transform the next generation.
“Our mission is to reach the lost souls,” said Medina.
Bangin’ 4 Jesus donates resources and goes door to door in the same neighborhoods they grew up in.
They hope one act of kindness can prevent the next young person from repeating their mistakes.
“At the end of the day, we want families to come together,” said Perez. “Together, we’re stronger; divided, we fall.”
The non-profit is hosting a revival at Wiley Post Park Saturday at 1 p.m. They are asking for community support.