Once a notorious gang leader, Rene “Level” Martinez now dedicates his life to sharing the Gospel. | (Photo: Rene “Level” Martinez)

A former gang leader-turned-pastor who was once possessed by demons has shared how God spared his life multiple times — and why his mission today is to save others from the life that nearly destroyed him.

Rene Martinez, also known as “Level,” was exposed to Satanism at a young age. Raised in a single-parent home in Leisure City, Florida, Martinez remembers his mother sacrificing animals over him as part of her religion.

“It’s just demonic,” he told Fox News. “I started seeing demons when I was a kid. They haunted me my whole life.”

At the age of 12, Martinez turned to a life of crime, which included drug abuse, stealing guns, breaking into homes, and getting involved in drive-by shootings. In 1990, he started the Latin Syndicate, which would later be recognized as one of Miami’s most dangerous and powerful gangs. By the time he was 14-years-old, he’d been imprisoned for attempted murder and had endured several near-death experiences.

“I remember the time the gun jammed in my face,” he told CBN. “I remember the time the bullet grazed my head. The other time the bullet whistled by my ear. The times I was running through the backyard and they were shooting at me. All the times I got shot at. All the times I was half-dead, but I was still alive.”

After becoming a father, Martinez decided to transition from the streets to professional bare-knuckle fighting, eventually signing a pro MMA contract. He soon gained international recognition, defeating three-time world champion, Ricardo Mayorga, in Nicaragua.

Still, he felt something was missing: “I had the money. I had the fame. I was doing the gangster music. But I was empty inside,” he said.

In 2013, Martinez had a supernatural experience with God that completely changed his life. He shared how, 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.”

“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.”

After Martinez was baptized in 2016, he heard God tell him to “gather up the fragments.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett