Ernesto – Pay it forward

Ashly Ernesto "Christian teacher"

Ernesto and Buddhism:

I was in the hole when I got ahold of a Buddhist book called “Zen”. Studying Buddhism within the confines of solitary confinement in my early 20s was a real eye-opener for me. It put into perspective illusionary perception of the worlds we got lost within … Our self-image, or ego, or human nature, our artificial emotions, our status …

Buddhism provided me with the key to unlock my past and understand what kind of information I picked up that influenced my decision making process. Why was I angry? Why was I here? Why did I have abandonment issues? Why I responded violently when adversity and intruded my life? The whys of my mind.


Ernesto and Christianity

“…place Christ at the center of our recovery and rehabilitation because we have been powerless to change on our own in the past. Christ is the way toward forgiveness, redemption, and serving his will by revealing our purpose in life, with Christ in the driver’s seat to our lives….

We are all worthy of redemption. Christ’s crucifixion is the ultimate love story on how God, our creator, sacrificed his only begotten son, so that we may have an avenue to be forgiven for our sins – if only we believe in Christ, and make the decision to turn our will and lives over to the care of God. If we repent and spend the rest of our lives to humbly dedicate our lives to the restoration of our defects of character, we can find forgiveness within ourselves by living in Christ’s love….


Ernesto on his crimes:

What was the impact of my crimes? Even though I did not seriously injure anyone, my crimes were very serious. Attempted murder on a police officer, car hijacking, and assault with a firearm. … I failed as a father. I failed as a son. I failed as a human being in a world where we build societies to help humankind prosper and pursue happiness.

What if God wanted to use the experiences in my life to help other people? These are things I began to ask myself. How? I had a 37-year sentence with 13 years into it. I still had a lifetime within this prison life. What if I went to college and began to work towards meeting all of the educational requirements to become a youth counselor when I was released in the year 2036? What if I could use my life experiences to correct my past?

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