Survivors: From the prison to the pulpit

Survivors: From the prison to the pulpit
Source: Richard Ramirez
Source: Richard Ramirez

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - From the prison to the pulpit ; though Richard Ramirez is seen leading a congregation in worship, his life has been anything but joyful.

"Fighting pretty much every day, I grew up around a lot of crime, people getting shot, gangs," said Richard Ramirez, who survived stints in prison.

Growing up on Houston's southeast side with a working-class father, Ramirez was often left home alone and that's when trouble came knocking.

"I actually got a hold of a pistol and this probably was the worst mistake of my life. I started robbing people at gunpoint. Convenience stores, people, breaking into houses," Ramirez said.

In and out of jail, until one night…

"I had been thinking about robbing this store for quite some time. I had the pistol in my hand," Ramirez said.

No one was hurt, but Ramirez was arrested and charged with aggravated robbery. The crime sprees continued and he eventually found himself behind bars…prison bars.

It was during one stint that he had a revelation.

"I was just looking for a love that I never received before, a love that honestly I felt like didn't exist," Ramirez said.

A love he says he found in God.

"This person that they always talked about and told me about; I felt like I needed to give him everything, my whole entire life, everything," Ramirez said.

In 2013, he joined Clawson Assembly of God and is on the road to becoming an ordained minister.

"If you had told me that two years ago that I was going to be a pastor one day, I would have looked at you and told you, you were crazy," Ramirez said.

Ramirez says he plans to be officially done with the process to become an ordained minister by the end of next year.

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