‘I’m A Radical Soldier For Christ’: Notorious Gang Leader Now Preaches Jesus

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People used to call me the Notorious Level but now I’m a warrior Level for Christ, I was on the road to Damascus and Jesus showed up – Saul to Paul – that was me.
Rene "Level" Martinez spent most of his life in a notorious criminal gang but today he is preaching, teaching, and baptizing people on the streets for Jesus.
Rene “Level” Martinez spent most of his life in a notorious criminal gang but today he is preaching, teaching, and baptizing people on the streets for Jesus.

Rene “Level” Martinez spent most of his life in a notorious criminal gang but today he is preaching, teaching, and baptizing people on the streets for Jesus.

Rene Martinez spent the majority of his life in and out of jail, breaking into homes, stealing guns, dealing drugs, and getting into fights.

But today, the 44 year old former gang leader, better known as “Level” found a new calling, preaching, praying, and baptizing others in the name of Jesus as he seeks to save them from the life he once knew all too well. 

“I lived a very crazy life, I did some horrible things in my life that I know it’s only by the grace of God and His mercy that I’m alive and free,” Level told Fox News. “I was gang affiliated from the 80’s to 2012, I’ve seen a lot of people die in front of me and I’ve been through a lot.”

Rene "Level" Martinez walking through the streets in Nicaragua before defeating Ricardo Mayorga in a fight.
Rene “Level” Martinez walking through the streets in Nicaragua before defeating Ricardo Mayorga in a fight.

From early on, Level was plagued by demons. His mom was part of a religion that sacrificed an animal over him. “It’s just demonic. I started seeing demons when I was a kid. They haunted me my whole life.”

And at one point, he found his mom trying to commit suicide one night, but after she went to the hospital and got better, she accepted Jesus at a church retreat. She stopped drinking alcohol, smoking weed and she started praying for Level but he just thought she was crazy.

As a young teenager, Level joined a gang, and on Halloween night 1989 he started what became a notorious gang known as the Latin Syndicate that grew to 300 members.

At 14, he was in a coma and almost died. Two years later he was in jail for attempted murder.

When he had his daughter, he wanted to be a good father but didn’t know how, so he started fighting to provide for his family.

He turned to bare-knuckle fighting and became a professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter, which is how he earned the name “Level,” and he defeated three-time world champion, Ricardo Mayorga, in Nicaragua.

He’s faced death numerous times, and he said in 2013, when he was recording gangster music in his garage, he heard Jesus speak to him, saying: “I spared you for such a time as this.”

Rene "Level" Martinez baptizing his friend, Corey, who used to be in the gang Latin Syndicate with him.
Rene “Level” Martinez baptizing his friend, Corey, who used to be in the gang Latin Syndicate with him.

“I saw my whole life flash before my eyes – when a gun was jammed in my face, when a bullet whistled by my ear – I almost died five or six times – and all my friends that died. God set me free for a reason. I repented right there.”

But it wasn’t until he was baptized that everything changed in an instant.

“When I went in the water, this was April 10, 2016, that day shifted my life,” Level said. “I ain’t never been the same. Something incredible in my life happened that I can’t explain. It was Jesus, only Jesus can do it.”

And he’s been doing street ministry ever since.

He had the opportunity to lead one of his friends, Corey, out of gang life in Latin Syndicate to the Lord.

“I gave him the Word and he got baptized and I started discipling him. He’s on fire for God right now. He grew up in the projects, but now he’s in Washington State praising God in the mountains.”

Now Level has a documentary, “The Warrior Level,” on his life and ministry.

Rene "Level" Martinez praying with others on the streets of Los Angeles with his ministry "One Accord."
Rene “Level” Martinez praying with others on the streets of Los Angeles with his ministry “One Accord.”

“People used to call me the Notorious Level. No, I’m the Warrior Level. I’m a warrior Level for Christ,” he added. “I was on the road to Damascus and Jesus showed up – Saul to Paul – that was me.”

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