Hardened Guatemala gang member transformed by Christ
By Mark Ellis and Michael Ashcraft, Special to ASSIST News Service
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (ANS -- April 20, 2015) -- His fellow gang member thrust a pistol into his hand. Go ahead and kill the kid, he was instructed.
Wedged between the dangerous Mara Salvatrucha and the Dieciocho gangs
in a neighborhood where even police feared to go, Mario Ajcip’s gang
had successfully fended off rivals to keep their turf in one of the most
violent neighborhoods in Guatemala City.
When a rival dared to make incursion into Mario’s neighborhood, there
was only one gang-inflicted punishment — death. This time it was
Mario´s turn to execute the cornered kid on the dark dirt alley.
Never shy to physically beat up a rival, Mario balked at murder. A
leader himself among the 100 gang members, he began talking about
teaching the guy a lesson and letting him go.
“There was something in me that I can’t explain why I couldn’t do it.
Now I understand that the prayers of my mother had effect,” Mario says.
His downward slide into gangs and violence marked him for inevitable
tragedy – until Jesus broke into his life and changed its course.
One of eight brothers and sisters, Mario grew up with dirt floors,
corrugated metal roofs and an environment of alcohol and drugs. His dad
was addicted to both.
When a wave of gangs came to Guatemala in 1980s, Mario was present
when leaders deported from the United States brought street kids to a
night meeting to initiate them into the gang.
He learned to fight young and defend his honor. With his older and
younger brother, he would sometimes leave rivals unconscious from the
Amid the chaos, his older sister and mother got saved and started praying for him.
By the work of the Holy Spirit, he passed up the chance to go really hardcore by shooting the invading rival.
When Mario visited a painter friend, brothers from the Door Church in
Zone 1 showed up looking for the painter because he had recently
attended a service.
Mario, with long hair and no shirt on, answered the door because the painter had gone out to run an errand.
He barked at the two strangers at the door brusquely, but Alex Delgado wasn’t intimidated by Mario’s appearance or manner.
Delgado, known as a fast-talker who can whip out Bible verses
speedier than hand-slappers playing Uno, started sharing the gospel with
the surprised gang member.
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