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Breaking the Chains of Depression – A Journey to Wholeness

Pastor Gabriel Villalobos is the Los Angeles campus pastor of The Way World Outreach. Growing up in an environment dominated by hardcore gangs for generations, finding Christ brought about a complete life change for him. After experiencing depression and struggling with drug addiction, and being known for his extreme violence and involvement in frequent fights, he reached a breaking point. Following his brother’s incarceration for murder, he found himself living in Vegas, trying to numb his emptiness with drugs and alcohol.

One day, after attending a church service that a friend had invited him to, his heart underwent a significant shift towards the light. God continued to work on his heart until he fully surrendered to Jesus and dedicated his life to serving the Lord. Reflecting on how different his life is today astonishes him. He now has two precious boys and a beautiful wife, Abriana, who pastors the Los Angeles campus alongside him.

Reflecting on the importance of seeking the Kingdom of God, Pastor Gabriel shares, “In a world filled with distractions and competing priorities, it’s crucial to remember that our ultimate goal should be to seek God above all else. Matthew 6:33 reminds us of this truth, and when we align our hearts with His kingdom, everything else falls into place.”

Speaking about the significance of utilizing time wisely, he adds, “Time is a precious gift from God, and how we choose to use it matters greatly. I encourage individuals to invest their time in deepening their relationship with God and meeting the needs of others. Each moment counts, so let’s make them count for something extraordinary.”

Goal setting and belief in God’s guidance are the foundation of Gabriel’s outlook on life, he advises, “As I reflect on my own journey, I realize the importance of dreaming, envisioning my desired future, and setting clear goals to achieve it. I would emphasize the importance of believing that God can help me reach those goals and encourage myself to work hard.”

He doesn’t take lightly the responsibility he has as a pastor and is aware of the weight it carries in the lives of others, he shares, “In the context of my ministry and social platforms, this responsibility manifests in mentoring and guiding individuals in their journey with Jesus. I am aware that what I post and how I live can have a profound impact on others, shaping their lives and choices.”

Recently Gabriel released a book titled, “Breaking the Chains of Depression – A Journey to Wholeness,” Pastor Gabriel expresses gratitude, stating, “I had the opportunity to teach from this book to a couple thousand people, and the response has been incredible. Many individuals have found help and freedom from depression through the insights shared in the book. I strongly believe it is a must-read for anyone who is fighting against depression. I’m grateful to see how this project is making a positive impact on people’s lives, and I’m excited for the continued journey ahead.”

Pastor Gabriel and Abriana Villalobos emphasize the importance of seeking the Kingdom of God, utilizing time wisely, and investing in relationships with God and others. They encourage goal setting and the belief that God can help individuals achieve their aspirations. As pastors, they acknowledge their responsibility to lead and guide others, recognizing the impact they can have on people’s lives. His recent released book on depression is a testament to their commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of others. 


This article feature is from our annual special edition issue, the L.A. STYLE Magazine Most Influential of 2023.

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