Ron Zaucha was your all American California boy. By all appearances, his life looked normal. Behind closed doors his life was anything but.
“I experienced abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse. Smacked us around a lot,” Ron tells The 700 Club.
The abuser was Ron’s father. “I hated him for it, and I became spiteful to show him. I can do life without him."
At 13, Ron started using drugs. By 15, he was dealing.
“In the 12th grade, I became involved with some people dealing cocaine and got involved in the cocaine industry.”
Barely out of high school, Ron had become a top dealer in Los Angeles.
“They had the money. I had the drugs," Ron explains. "So I used that to get what I wanted from them. I became violent. I carried weapons, guns everywhere I went. I used to say I had two best friends, Smith & Wesson, and wherever I went, they were with me."
Ron had become a big player in the drug game, but as the years passed, he could see his life slipping out from under him.
“I drove fancy cars and had cash in my pocket, never worried about where I want to go, what I want to spend for a long time. But very empty inside. Eventually it just starts wearing on you. I just couldn’t seem to get out of it.”
He needed some kind of miracle to get him out of the game alive and sane. His grandmother, a devout Christian, would talk to him about God, but Ron wasn’t about to go to a God he felt wouldn’t understand him… even reject him.
“So God to me was someone to fear and intimidate me and not really want to be with. I felt he would condemn me, judge me and not want me.”
He picked up the Bible his grandmother had given him almost 10 years earlier as a Christmas gift.
“I would put it down, pick it back up probably six, eight months at a time. Then one night I was sitting in my house and said, 'God, if You’re really real, help me. I can’t get out of this life. I’m stuck. I hate it. I don’t want to life anymore.' The following night I was arrested.”
As Ron sat in the county jail waiting for his court date, something amazing happened.
“I had a vision there in jail of Jesus Christ. He appeared to me as real as you are and finally spoke. I said, ‘What do You want?' And He said, ‘You.' I says, 'You can’t want someone like me. I’ve done all these things. Hurt all these people. Done all this stuff in my life.' And He said, 'I came for people like you.' When that happened, I knew I needed to change my life."
That night Ron called his mother and grandmother who bailed him out of jail. The first thing he asked for was to be taken to church. It was Easter Sunday.
“I dropped to my knees and started crying 'cause I was just such a mess.I just felt this total warm, hot sensation in my body, and I feel this peace come over me like you can’t explain. I prayed a prayer to receive Jesus Christ into my heart as my Savior. At that very moment I was delivered from drugs immediately as well.”
Ron had made a decision to turn his life around, but he still had to face the consequences and serve time in prison for his crime.
“I met a guy in prison who was doing a prayer group in my dorm. So I got involved with him, and I saw the power of prayer being answered through many men’s lives in prison.”
When Ron finally got out of prison… “I called an old buddy of mine I used to deal drugs with who was a Christian.” He invited Ron to a men’s prayer group. There he would meet men who become his mentor.
“So seven men came into my life, not five, but seven and began to disciple me into things of the Word, prayers, the Holy Spirit. God was teaching me humility and trust. What I learned during early on was who God is. God is my provider. God is my sustenance. He says He’ll meet all my need and He does, He had and He is.”
Today Ron is an ordained minister who says his purpose is right behind these prison walls. He shares the love and hope of Jesus Christ to both men and women incarcerated. His goal is to disciple them in the ways of God so that when they’re released from prison they can live a life of true freedom in Jesus Christ.
“Whatever you’re experiencing, God is greater. Whatever you’re going through, God is bigger. So how do they find their hope? I tell them that my hope was in Jesus and how He came into my life and gave me a new beginning, a new life, and they can have the same thing.”