Pastor Lalo Torres, of the Chosen Generation ministry, rides his way around Los Angeles taking the gospel into dark places, like skid rows, prisons and detention centers. Torres is no stranger to dark places, having been there for a large portion of his life.
Pastor Lalo Torres, of the Chosen Generation ministry, rides his way around Los Angeles taking the gospel into dark places, like skid row, prisons and detention centers.
Torres is no stranger to dark places, having been there for a large portion of his life. Although he was raised in a hardworking, loving, Mexican-American home in Los Angeles, he found his way into trouble at a young age.
It all started when he was bullied for not being able to speak English. After a couple of years of harassment, he finally snapped and stood up to the bully, earning the respect he desired among his classmates. Unfortunately, he eventually became a bully himself.
“It’s probably one of the worst things that happened because I’d seen that, and began to use it as a tool to get through life,” he told Fox News Latino.
He found security in his territory, which involved gangs, doing drugs and partying. Rebellious and hardened, Torres left home at 17 and joined the U.S. Marines. He wanted to see combat but missed his opportunity because the Vietnam War was beginning to wind down. Near the end of his four-year enlistment, Torres went out on a weekend pass and got into trouble with the law. Drugs were once again ruling his life, so when he got out of the Marines, although he was honorably discharged, it was only a few days before he served his first prison term for strong-arm robbery and attempted murder.
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Heroin became his way of life for 20 years. He thought he would eventually die in prison or in an alley somewhere. The next 16 years he spent in and out of the prison system and made it through two divorces. His own children were afraid of him.
During one of his prison sentences he had a breakthrough. He realized nothing would fill the void he had inside. He recalls the emptiness he felt, a deep pain, and crying out to God for help.
“A lot of times we think it’s the prison cell, but I had imprisoned myself within my own soul because of all the stupid things I had done in my life,” he said.
Over time, Christian brothers would visit the jail and minister to him. He found peace in the Lord but he was not easily changed.
“I remember that I had a peace that had come over me, but it didn’t last because I was hard-headed, I tried bending things to work for me,” Torres said.
He would pray but then end up compromising and taking drugs. The addiction had a hold of him and it nearly cost him his life. Torres ended up in the ICU with cirrhosis of the liver, Hepatitis B and C and the doctors were giving him major blood transfusions to try and keep him alive.
He wanted to ask God for forgiveness one more time but he couldn’t utter the words. Terrified in his deathbed, he started fading and having an out-of-body experience.
He was not heading to heaven, he said, he was heading to hell.
He went into darkness, a separation from God, fear filled him and he saw demons, tormented souls, crying and screaming. The next thing he remembered was waking up and it had been three days. God had given him another chance.
Torres left the hospital a changed man and today is a pastor for the Chosen Generation. This is a ministry that consists of pastors from different churches who ride together, going into prisons, detention centers and skid rows.
Today, instead of riding his motorcycle wearing gang colors and promoting evil, Pastor Lalo Torres wears the Chosen Generation colors, rides for life and the message of salvation through Jesus.
You can see more about the ministry at: chosengeneration1stpeter29.com
GiGi Erneta is a Fox News Latino Contributor, a Radio Host of Standing Freedom, and freelance writer.