The incredible true story of how a powerful drug dealer was saved by Christ.
Dimas Salaberrios began selling drugs when he was eleven years old, and by sixteen he had served his first stint at the notorious Rikers Island prison. Dimas saw only one way to survive: by reigning over the streets. He would be the richest, most powerful ruler in the hood . . . or die trying. The excerpt below is taken from his new book, Street God, which tells the incredible true story of how God turned his life around.
By Dimas Salaberrios.
A few days after I’d shut down my drug business, I woke early and began reading my Bible. A few minutes later I startled at the sound of someone pounding on the front door. I felt a familiar internal yanking at my gut: the instinctive awareness that someone meant to harm me.
My heart contracted, and my first inclination was to run. But I was desperate, and so I turned to Jesus. I grabbed my Bible and looked for a message that might apply to this perilous situation. Red-printed text seemed to pop up from the page: Why are you fearful, O you of little faith? (Matthew 8:26, NKJV).
A surge of courage flowed through me, and I spoke aloud: “I have faith in you, God.” Then I shut my Bible and dressed. Meanwhile, I heard three more hard bangs. I went downstairs and opened the door a crack.
My mouth went dry when I saw who waited outside. "Mental", one of my former dealers, stood on the front steps with fire in his eyes. With a well-deserved reputation as a fighter, he was big, strong, and quick. He had robbed major drug suppliers in New York. He didn’t have the business acumen to be a drug boss, but no one in his right mind wanted to have problems with Mental. Now he was at my door, and he had a good reason to be upset.
His little brother had been murdered in New York. Days earlier I had received word about his death. I put Mental on a plane so he wouldn’t get worked up and kill someone in Winston-Salem. I didn’t tell him about his brother’s murder. I suspected Mental was livid that I hadn’t given him the tragic news before putting him on that plane.
Looking at his features, contorted with rage and sorrow, I figured he’d come to kill me. This would be a robbery and a hit, and Mental probably thought I’d be an easy target because I’d become a Christian.
Mental looked at me and said, “Let’s talk on the side of the house.”
“Okay.” I pulled the door closed behind me.
My thoughts kept returning to the Bible verse I’d read a few moments earlier: Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?
I had no idea what to expect, but I knew I had to trust Jesus. Holding on to my little verse, I turned to face Mental. He pulled out what looked like a black .380 pistol and pointed it at my head. He’d shown his weapon, so Mental knew he’d have to kill me. The honor code on the streets dictated that if he backed down now, I would hunt him down.
He began to talk, working himself up into a lather about how I once disrespected him at a party. The story was contrived, but in order for a man to kill, he has to believe he has a good reason, even if he has to fabricate a story.
Jesus, you have to get me through this one. With surprising calm, I met Mental’s narrowed gaze. “You don’t have to come at me like this; if you want something from me, just ask.”
Only God deserves credit for my ability to even form words in that moment.
The situation shifted from bad to worse as a single tear streamed down Mental’s cheek. “My brother is dead, and that is that.”
I knew the next moment would be my last. At point-blank range, with the gun aimed at my head, Mental pulled the trigger. I heard the click, but nothing else. Mental pulled the trigger again and again, but each time the gun refused to fire.
Mental gaped at the gun. He hurried toward his getaway car and then sped off.
I stood at the side of the house, overwhelmed by the power and faithfulness of God. “Hallelujah!”
Then I dropped into a crouch and prayed. “Anything, God. Anything you want me to do, I will do it. Since you went all-out like this for me, I’m going all-out for you. I am totally yours. If you comb the whole world over and you need somebody to go somewhere or do something and you make it clear that you’re the one asking, I will go and do anything you ask.”
That simple prayer changed my life forever.
Find out more about Dimas Salaberrios and get the first chapter of his book Street God free at www.streetgodbook.com.