“My life was gangs, drugs and prison,” Brian says. “A lot of my friends have been shot. A lot of friends are doing life for murder.” One of the times he wasn’t in prison, Brian met Isis. When the couple married after the birth of their first son, Brian tried to go straight. But change wasn’t easy.
“Every time we had another child, he was sent back to prison,” Isis remembers. “I had three babies by myself.” After yet another spell behind bars, Brian knew he had to do right by his kids. The family moved into Isis’ mother’s house and tried to begin a new life. But his old life wasn’t ready to let go.
“Her mom’s house is in a rival gang’s neighborhood,” Brian explains. “I went downstairs and found eight guys outside. My ruthless past had now caught up with me. One spit in my face, then another pulled a gun and started shooting. I felt a bullet graze my skull,” Brian says. “One went through my jaw and into my chest. One hit my arm, and one hit my leg.” Incredibly, though weak from loss of blood, Brian made it to a hospital. “That was my birthday,” Brian says.
“After that, I couldn’t go back to my mom’s house,” Isis says. “I stayed with friends while Brian and the kids stayed at his mom’s. Finally, I went to the sheriff’s office and said, ‘I need help. I have no place to go.’ They told me about the Mission.” Before long, there was room for them at the Village of Hope.
Since then, the change in their life has been dramatic. Brian’s working for a company in Downey. Isis is working toward a paralegal degree. “We want our kids to go in the right direction,” Brian explains. “Not like I did. I wasted all those years before. Now we are getting a real start. God is opening doors, our families are proud of us … there is no turning back for us now.”