For most of his life, when Rene Martinez woke up, he went to war with the world by brawling, selling drugs and turning to any form of violence that paid the bills.
Now, he spends his days telling others who follow the road he once walked that there is a better way — with God.
“I lived a very crazy life, I did some horrible things in my life that I know it’s only by the grace of God and His mercy that I’m alive and free,” Martinez told Fox News. “I was gang-affiliated from the ’80s to 2012, I’ve seen a lot of people die in front of me and I’ve been through a lot.”
Martinez, who calls himself a “radical soldier for God,” preaches a simple message that God is always ready to help any person change his or her life.
“No matter what situation you’re going through, no matter how hard you think life is, there’s a way out,” Level said, “because there’s a lot of people that didn’t wake up today, that are dying right now, and you have a chance to come out of the darkness right now and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“I go in the projects. I preach to the gang bangers, prostitutes, drug dealers,” he said. “I’ve gone places where people shoot up heroin in front of you and I go inside the prisons. I go in the juvenile prisons as well. This is what God told me to do. He said go. Go make disciples of all nations.”
“That’s why I do what I do now, to show everybody that God can deliver you from anything,” Martinez told WTVJ-TV.
Martinez helped found the Latin Syndicate gang as a teenager, and spent time in jail on a charge of attempted murder. Life changed when he became a parent, he told CBN.
“So my daughter was born and I was like man I gotta really like get my life together because all I ever did was rob drug dealers, that’s all I ever did and sold drugs,” he said. “I was like man what am I going to do for my daughter? How am I going to provide for her?”
Martinez found fame and profit as a bare-knuckle and Mixed Martial Arts fighter.
Then in 2013, he had his personal encounter with Christ.
“I saw my whole life flash before my eyes — when a gun was jammed in my face, when a bullet whistled by my ear — I almost died five or six times — and all my friends that died. God set me free for a reason. I repented right there,” he said.
A change did not fully take place until he was baptized, he said.
“When I went in the water, this was April 10, 2016, that day shifted my life,” Martinez said. “I ain’t never been the same. Something incredible in my life happened that I can’t explain. It was Jesus, only Jesus can do it.”
Martinez has produced a documentary, “The Warrior Level,” that tells the story of his life and ministry.
“People used to call me the Notorious Level. No, I’m the Warrior Level. I’m a warrior Level for Christ,” he said. “I was on the road to Damascus and Jesus showed up — Saul to Paul — that was me.”
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