of Garay, one of the most dangerous districts in Guayaquil, Ecuador. He grew up in an emotionally unstable family. His father, Fausto Flores Ruiz, was alcoholic and violent with his family. Because of the beatings and fights, his mother thought about leaving more than once , but she never did that because she did not want to leave her children with a halved family. “I was surrounded by alcohol and violence since I was a child,” recalls 48-year-old Paco. Paco stopped going to the evangelical church and started hanging out with the troublemakers at school. The 16-year-old teenager joined one of the gangs in his neighborhood and started to use drugs. The cheerful child who wanted to become a soccer player was gone. He was now just playing with his life. Raúl, also known as “Colorado,” and other youngsters went to the streets to kill or get killed. Being part of such group meant to be willing to put one’s life on the line. Paco became an expe-
rienced gangster and became the leader of his gang in no time. His reputation went bad as fast as his gang went after new members. Rivalry between gangs was deadly, as they would fight with guns and knives. The streets of Guayaquil were battlefields with both wounded and dead. In the meantime, Paco turned drugs into his “food.” His mother prayed for him every day, trusting that she would see him one day in the house of the Lord. The advices and tears of her mother sometimes touched his heart, but he could not leave the evil ways. He was aware that he was wrong, and used drugs as a way to appease his pain. He was 17 and was wasting his youth away. He wanted to leave that underworld but he did not know how. He came to the conclusion that the best he could do was to join the army. He thought that the military service would help him change his life, but things only got worse.
november 2017 / Impacto evangelistic
Magazine Evangelistic Impact Edition November 2017 English language