By Alexia Hess –
When his cellmate overdosed and chaplain Gina arrived at their cell praying and weeping, Isaiah Blancas was floored.
“It really blew my mind because I never had seen love like that,” Isaiah says on a 700 Club video. “Gina showed up. She was hugging this guy, crying, praying. It was a genuine love.”
There are solid reasons why Isaiah never knew love. His father abandoned the El Paso family for another woman in 1991. Then Mom kicked out Isaiah when he was only nine.
He had nowhere to go. He had to fend for himself, sleeping in abandoned buildings and scavenging food from trash cans. He steered clear of gangs until one day they confronted him and beat him severely with a baseball bat. The gangsters dumped him bleeding and broken at a hospital.
That’s when Isaiah, then 14, resolved to become the most violent and feared gangster in El Paso.
Ironically, he joined the same gang that beat him. He worked his way up by fighting and spearheading robberies and drug sales.
“Even though there was treachery among our own homeboys, we still considered each other family and would die for each other,” Isaiah explains.
His hood name was “The Stabber.” He served time for stabbing six rival gang members. In 2001, he broke probation and was arrested for robbery.
“I didn’t care about myself, if I died,” he says.
He wound up back in jail, where he continued the lifestyle of violence. He broke ribs and incited riots. His misbehavior earned him solitary confinement for a year.
Solitary confinement is a harrowing existence, with only one hour a day allowed outside the tiny cell.
So he jumped at the chance to go to prison church services available every fortnight. He wasn’t interested in God. It was simply a chance to change his surroundings and interact with people.
“I didn’t believe in God. Period,” Isaiah says. “If there was a loving God, how could he let all this happen to me?”
At chapel, he met Gina, the chaplain who surprised him. Before becoming a chaplain, Gina was a product of wild street life herself.
She got right up in Isaiah’s face. “You’re going to die for what you believe in güero?” she challenged him defiantly, using the Mexican word for a lighter complexioned person. “Well, I’m willing to die too – but for God’s gang.”
Gina’s confrontational approach got Isaiah’s attention.
“I left that day thinking, she’s different,” he recounts.
A few weeks later, an inmate overdosed in Isaiah’s cell, who was temporarily out of solitary confinement.
Once back in solitary confinement, he kept thinking. “I was a horrible person, someone that didn’t deserve grace, someone that didn’t deserve love, after all the wrong I’d done,” he thought. “Could God really use someone like me that was really this broken?”
The question reverberated through his brain.
At the next chance to attend chapel, Isaiah asked Gina.
“Yes, he will use you for his glory,” Gina told Isaiah. “He came for people like you, for the worst of the worst.”
In that moment, The Stabber’s soul was cut open by the sword of the Spirit.
“This God you’re talking about that loves me,” Isaiah said tentatively. “Here I am.”
Isaiah prayed to receive Jesus in his heart right there.
Love brought total transformation. He got out of jail. He forgave his parents. He married and had four children. He started a ministry to people in the street.
“I want them to know how great my God is,” Isaiah says, “and that there is hope in Jesus Christ.”
If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here
About the writer of this article: Alexia Hess studies at Lighthouse Christian Academy near Westchester in Los Angeles.