Hector Ginez started selling drugs because he wanted money. "I thought it was 'cool' to be a drug dealer, to have money, to live that lifestyle," he said.
But deep down, he longed to be loved and be seen.
A MATERIALISTIC RELATIONSHIP
Growing up in San Antonio, Texas, Hector attended the church where his dad worked as a custodian. Though Hector knew all the Bible stories, he didn't know God personally. By age 17, he was getting in so much trouble that he no longer felt welcome at church. "I felt like God didn't love me," says Hector.
Hector started drinking alcohol, experimenting with marijuana, and eventually selling the drug. By age 25, he managed the money for a barbershop chain that was a front for selling drugs. Then, he became a father and supported several children. And though Hector felt he had a good relationship with his kids, he admits it was a materialistic one.
"I always thought that because they had clothes, because they had food, because they had a place to stay, because they had the iPads, they had the Game Boys ... that was [being a good] dad. That's what I was supposed to do. I was supposed to provide," says Hector.
Back then, Hector wanted to give his kids the material things he never had growing up. But he overlooked what really mattered. "They needed me to be there," he says. "They needed me to spend time with them."
Even while he was dealing drugs, Hector continued going to church. He was even tithing on the money he was making from his drug deals. He thought, "Because I gave my 10%, because I gave God what I was supposed to, He was going to look out for me," says Hector. But God wanted more from Hector than his money.
'Because I gave my 10%, because I gave God what I was supposed to, He was going to look out for me.' But God wanted more from Hector than his money.
A PRISONER'S BARGAIN
In 2015, Hector was incarcerated on a federal charge for intent to distribute heroin. He ended up facing three years behind bars in Bastrop, Texas.
Hector began his prison sentence thinking he would return to his old lifestyle selling drugs after his release. But the struggles of prison and separation from his family brought Hector to his knees.
Hector got troubling news about what was happening to his family in his absence. Apart from his children and being unable to help them in their struggles, Hector realized for the first time the true cost of his lifestyle. In anguish, he asked God to help them. "I'll give everything up," Hector promised. "Help me get through this."
Hector was so serious, he even wrote up a contract with God, which he keeps to this day.
In anguish, he asked God to help his family. 'I'll give everything up. Help me get through this.'
Within days, Hector learned that his family was doing better, and he knew he needed to make good on his promise. Hector met Christians behind bars who showed him the way to hope. Someone gave him a Bible, and instead of leaving it on the shelf, Hector started reading it and encountered Christ like never before.
Soon, Hector started playing drums at the Christian church services, reading his Bible more, and growing deeper in his knowledge of God alongside Christian men. He found copies of Inside Journal®, the newspaper for prisoners published by Prison Fellowship®, to read for hope and inspiration. And Hector even reached out to his children through Prison Fellowship Angel Tree™, a program that gives children a Christmas gift, the Gospel message, and a personal note on behalf of their incarcerated parent.
"To me, that was just amazing, to know that there was somebody out [there] looking out for us," says Hector.
'To me, that was just amazing, to know that there was somebody out there looking out for us.'
Hector completed drug classes in prison that shortened his sentence, but when he was released, Hector struggled during his transition to a halfway house. His new freedom was a gift, but it came with the temptation to return to old habits. For so long, he depended on the money he made selling drugs—and on whatever persona he crafted to impress others and fit in. Now that he had walked free and left prison behind, Hector had to figure out who he was. Or else he risked going back.
Hector needed a mentor to help him stay focused on his commitment to God. A local pastor named Chris made it his mission to walk alongside Hector. "He never gave up on me," says Hector. Chris introduced Hector to a men’s small group, which gave him the accountability he needed.
Hector got a job with a roofing company and even started his own clothing company called 412 Threads. The clothing company makes T-shirts with biblical messages and uses a portion of the proceeds to buy Bibles for people behind bars. He couldn’t forget the impact God’s Word had in his own life, in prison and out. "I wanted to give back to a community that I was once a part of," said Hector.
He couldn't forget the impact God's Word had in his own life, in prison and out. 'I wanted to give back to a community that I was once a part of.'
THE LOVE OF A FATHER
"A lot of times we ask God for something, and God has something much more planned for us than we expect," says Hector.
Hector learned that God doesn't want his money—God wants a relationship with him. He invests serious time in his role as a father, too, instead of trying to address every need with material things.
Hector is passionate about using his story and his new company to influence the next generation. Through his experience in prison, he says he realized, "It doesn't matter how much money you have. It doesn't matter how much drugs you sell. It doesn't matter who you know. If your relationship with God is not there, if you don't know what grace is, you'll never know what peace is."
'A lot of times we ask God for something, and God has something much more planned for us than we expect.'