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Nicky Cruz

Nicky Cruz's story is a remarkable one:

Born one of 18 children to Puerto Rican parents, Nicky suffered severe physical and mental abuse as a child. When he was 15, his father sent him to visit an older brother in New York. But Nicky didn't stay with his brother long, instead choosing to make it on his own.

By age 16 he had become a member of the notorious Brooklyn street gang known as the Mau Maus. Within six months he became their president and fearlessly ruled the streets as warlord of one of the gangs most dreaded by rivals and police. Lost in a cycle of drugs, alcohol, and brutal violence, his life took a tragic turn for the worse after a friend and fellow gang member was horribly stabbed and beaten and died in Nicky's arms.

As Cruz' reputation grew, so did his haunting nightmares. Arrested countless times, a court-ordered psychiatrist pronounced Nicky's fate as "headed to prison, the electric chair, and hell."

No authority figure could reach Cruz - until he met a skinny street-preacher named David Wilkerson. He disarmed Nicky - showing him something he'd never known before: relentless love. His interest in the young thug was persistent. Nicky beat him up, spit on him and, on one occasion, seriously threatened his life, yet the love of God remained - stronger than any adversary Nicky had ever encountered.

Finally, Wilkerson's presentation of the gospel message and the love of Jesus melted the thick walls of Nicky's heart. He received the forgiveness, love and new life that can only come through Jesus. Since then, he has dedicated that life to helping others find the same freedom.

In the forty years that have passed since coming to Christ, Nicky Cruz has ministered around the world, speaking to hurting people in all walks of life. He has reached thousands of inner-city gang members as he speaks to their need from his own experience.

His most famous book is Run Baby Run.