Archive for the ‘Gangs and God’ Category

This is a very cool story about how one female G literally saw the light when she tried to commit suicide. It’s yet another example of how God still intervenes in the lives of people today. This young woman is now in school preparing for the rest of her life and working to help other Gs get out of the gang life and find a more meaningful life. Read it. I think you’ll be amazed! And don’t forget, God has a dream for you too! Ask Him about it.

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/street_gangs/street-gang-articles/yall-gang/

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Some of you may be wondering the same thing, How do I get out of a gang? If you didn’t know who to ask or were to scared to ask, here is an answer that might help. Find it at:

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/street_gangs/street-gang-articles/gang-2/

Want to know more about the Church in the Hood and the Gsus Nation? Do you or your set have questions about how Jesus interfaces with gang life? I’m available to come talk with you, one-on-one or to a group of 5 or 10 (or 100!). I can also come and start a Bible Study for your set. Let me know. Call or e-mail me at rlg2@uchicago.edu and we’ll arrange a time to talk about who Jesus is and what he means to the Gs of Chicago.

Ron

Last week I shared a post about how gang life affects a Gs family. This is another post with the same message. If you think that your gangbanging doesn’t impact your family, think again. For more on how gangbanging affects a family, look at this:

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/street_gangs/street-gang-articles/leaving-family-gang/

Please pray for Minnie, her brother, and her entire family. God has a plan here. I will fill you in with more details if the opportunity should present itself.

 

Ron

Check out this story by a former associate of the Mexican Mafia.

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/street_gangs/editorials/tour-life-death-street-lamps-city/

OK, this is how I want you to think about responding to this post. Think about the world and all the goals you’ve set for yourself. What do you want to be? What do you want to accomplish). Where would you like to be and what would you like to be doing in five years?  Write it down. Do you think that the goals, hopes, and/or dreams you’ve just jotted down are possible?  Want to have a car, home, job, wife, or kids? Do you want to have a chance to get a better education or do some travelling? Want to help some other people who are down and out too?  Well, let me tell you this, God puts those dreams in your head, and if God puts those dreams there, it’s because he wants to fulfil those dreams. Not only that, he is able to fulfill them, and much more. If you are a Christian, you worship a God is bigger than anything you can imagine. He is the God “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” (Ephesians 3:20). OK, here’s the kicker. Remember all those goals and dreams you just jotted down? Well God wants to do a lot more than you thought about just then.

A few years ago, I met Anthony.  He was a Spanish Lord from Humboldt Park that I had written to while he was incarcerated in Logan Correctional Center.  Those letters led to us getting together to talk after his release. When we first met, Anthony was sleeping on a backroom floor in another Gs apartment. He didn’t have a whole lot to look forward to at that moment in time.  I remember in one of our first talks, I asked him about what he wanted out of  life. He mentioned that he’d like to have an apartment of his own some day, maybe get his driver’s licence and eventually buy a car. That way, he could drive around the hood and help people he saw in need of help. Well, that was a nice vision, but way too small. Anthony eventually committed his life to Jesus and good things began to happen. Anthony now has an apartment he shares with Amanda and his son Vincent. A second child, a little girl, is on the way! Anthony works 50-60 hours a week and not only has a car, but also has use of a company car. He certainly helps old friends from the hood, but has also traveled to Turkey and Nicaragua. In Turkey he helped on an archaeological excavation and in Nicaragua he worked with the poor and destitute.  God has given Anthony way more than he imagined just two years ago as we sat and talked. On top of that, he’s only 22, so can you imagine what God has in store for him the next 60 years of his life? Way more than he or I can begin to image right now. That prospect is very exciting.

Now translate Anthony’s experience into your life. Go ahead, think about it. God wants to do the same thing for you that he did for Anthony. If you think about the dreams you wrote down and think about how God has expanded Anthony’s vision, you might be able to get an idea of what God will do in YOUR life. The message I want to leave you with here is to think big and never underestimate what God can do in your life. He is the creator of the universe and in control of all things. His ability to do more than you can think or imagine is beyond doubt and displayed in the lives of believers all over the world! So sit down, write down, kneel down, and look up. Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God just waiting to expand your horizons and do more in your life than you can ever imagine. Are you game?

Waddup my names G im from queens in new York city. I peeped ya website nd I could relate to a bunch of shit on there. I been gangbangin since I was 14 years old…I’m 21 now.

My situations a Lil complicated tho. I joined la familia nation when I was 14 nd I banged everyday basically, mostly on Latin kings…..in my hood they brainwash you into thinkin they ya enemy nd I fell for it. I was willing to do anything for my gang. Then one day the big homie sent out a T.O.S (terminate on site) on me over some byullshit gang politics. You would think at this point I walked away from gang life, I walked away from one gang and joined another one, a big no no in my hood. So since about 2 years ago and ive had a price on my head ever since…me nd my moms had to move out our big apartment to some bullshit basement just to stay alive. Everytime I walk out my front door I gotta look over my shoulder nd pray I don’t catch a bullet. I got stabbed up pretty bad like 4 months ago by some Latin king niggas out in Brooklyn. I was laid up in the ICU for 2 weeks wit a whole bunch of tubes in me. That made me take a good look at what my life has become nd after I got out the hospital I decided to walk away from all this bullshit.

I don’t chill wit any of my boys no more they all brainwashed by the gang. I basically chill wit my family most of the time. I been goin to church alot too. This is the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life, but ima try my hardest to walk away from that gang life. I know my beef and all my enemies won’t just disappear but I think my faith in god gonna keep me alive nd breathing. Thanks for listenin

Find this story and more at:

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/street_gangs/gang-testimonies/change/

 

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Gangs: This is not a way of life

I came from a very close knit family.I am an only child,so it was always just me, my mom and my dad.My father was an alcoholic or another term a functioning drunk.I grew up in a neighborhood that was low class and was known as gang territory.My grandparents were Pachuco’s, so I grew up knowing about the life.My father was mexican and my mother is white.

In school I gained alot of popularity because I had blond hair and blue eyes,but I’m Latin and speak spanish.I started “just hanging” around gang members when I was 8 years old.I quickly started feeling like a little family,which I was not feeling at home,so that felt real good.By the age of 10 I went to my first party with gang members.I liked how much fun I was having hanging out with my new “family” and in the mean while telling my parents I was with friends from school.

At the age of 11 I got jumped into the gang.I was jumped for 2 minutes by four 16 year old guys from my gang.At the age of 11,I took one hell of a beating.I told my mom that I got in a fight at school.So now I was in the gang.”What does that really mean?” I thought that night.All fun and parties all the time?Feeling accepted and wanted all the time?People not hurting me anymore because I now have new respect?

Boy was I WRONG!At the age of 12 I did my first drive by.Here I am as scared as can be in a car full of gang members (like me)going to do a drive by.That same year I had 5 homeboys die.Thats when my grades in school started going down.My mom would ask what was going on with me.I kept explaining nothing.I was an undercover gang member to my parents.I blinded them with this good girlie act.My mom would say that I was dressing and looking like a “chola.”I kept reassuring her that I was just dressing like one,cause I like the style.My parents didn’t want to admit that there little girl could be in a gang.

When I was 14 years old I was stabbed in the leg by a rival gang.So I thought thats all right because I “took one” for my neighborhood…(yeah right!)I used to kick back in my neighborhood drinking 40′s of beer and smoking weed.Thought that was the life.All my friends were getting pregnant and having kids at 11,12,13 etc…By the time I was 18 years old I had 7 miscarriages.I can’t tell you how many time I heard the words “Oh baby I love you,Its me and you forever.” I swear I thought every guy I was with was the one and it was going to last forever.I learned real quick Guys will tell you ANYTHING to get what they want.I had my closest homegirls sleep with my man behind my back.(Good friends huh?)

By the time I was 18 I had lost 46 friends to gang violence.Thats one hell of alot of funerals to go to and alot of innocent families to look into there eyes and say sorry,when down deep inside they are cussing you out because they feel that you are just some gang member that helped him get in that casket.As the the casket is lowered in the ground all your homies are talking about revenge.When I was 19 I was cruising with my homies.There was six of us in the car.Four guys and two girls.I was sitting in the front in between two guys.We were at a stop light.A rival gang drove up on us and shot at us.The guy that was driving was hit in the head and the bullet came out the other side of his head and ricocheted of my head.His brains were splattered all over me.Knowing that one of my closest friends had just died and I had his brains on me I was rushed to the hospital.Thank GOD I was alright.That was another funeral and another loss.

After that I was shot at about a dozen times more.Then when I was 20 I was arrested for homicide.I had no idea what the police were talking about.I sat in a cell thinking after all these years of doing bad that I was getting busted for something I really had no idea about.By the Grace of God,they found out that they had the wrong person.I was never so scared in my life.I thought being stabbed and shot that was bad.I even thought having all these tatoo’s all over my body was bad or the fact that I could have died,but going to jail for something I didn’t do for the rest of my life.So I prayed and prayed.The Lord heard my prayers.After that I thought I owe this to God that I am alive.I owe it to myself and my loved ones to stay alive.

At 21 I decided that I had enough.So one night I was kicking back in my neighborhood.There was about 50 of us that night.I told them I wanted out.I said if you want to jump me out then thats fine,but I want out.I went and talk to one of the Veteranos (older homeboys).They said “You did yours for the neighborhood and you can just walk out with respect because we have repsect for you.”As I was getting ready to leave and saying bye to everyone,knowing that I was still going to see everyone here and there just not kick it anymore.The police rolled up and I thought “I guess one last time.”So there I was on the floor, on my knees, hands behind my head and an officer behind me with a 12 gauge shot gun to the back of my head.After checking everything out they were letting us all go.

These cops who ran the gang unit knew be by name.That night I told them that I was out of the scene.They congratulated and even gave me hugs.Then asked if I needed a ride home.That was the first time I was in a police car without hand cuffs on.My father died that year.I have since became close with my mother and told her all about my undercover life that her and my father only feared but didn’t know about.I think of all the sleepless nights I kept my mother awake wondering if I was dead or alive.I think of all the years I probably took off my mothers life stressing over me.I think HOW could I have done this to her.My mother,my real family.

I saw alot of friends die for my neighborhood,but what does a neighborhood do for you?

You claim a street or hood that you will NEVER own.You pay rent for a neighborhood that will NEVER be yours.I think now about all the funerals where everyone said they would die for there homie,but you know I never seen anyone jump on the casket and go in the ditch with them.When you take a life or have one taken from you,it affects more then just you.There are people that love and will miss and grieve too.Its affects EVERYONE around you.What people don’t understand is that once a life is gone…thats it! NO second chance! Life is only one time.

If you are a gang member PLEASE take it from me there is a REAL life out there.You just have to be strong enough to take a chance and walk away before it is too late.Life is too short anyways…then to let be even shortened by doing time in prison or being dead.If you live a real Gangsters life that is the only two ways out, prison or death.There are so many other things out there in life for you.

If you don’t care enough about yourselves to get out STOP being SELFISH and think about all the loved ones you will leave behind.How will they handle life without a husband, wife, brother, sister, daughter, son, mother, father. Pictures, memories and a cemetary is all they will have left. PLEASE think about it!!!

You can find this article and more at:

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/street_gangs/street-gang-articles/gangs-life/

When I was a kid we learned this little poem in Sunday School that was accented by hand movements.  One’s hands would be locked together with the interlocked fingers facing the speaker and the two index fingers pushed together pointing skyward like a church steeple. The poem goes:

Here’s the church,

this is the steeple;

open the doors

and see all the people!

As we said the last verse we would fling open our hands and wiggle all the fingers, a representation of all the lively people in the church. Cute, but i’m not sure just how lively the church is these days.

I just came home from driving through the South Side of Chicago this evening.  It was only 8:30 and the streets were filled with Gs, everywhere.  A perfectly refreshing night to be out and about. The sights, however, were not so perfect. The police were rousting out a big group of Gs  (maybe Blue Fin Black Disciples, but I couldn’t be sure) gathered at the southeastern corner of Washington Park. A little further on there was a fist fight going on between two 9-10 year old kids with 30 people egging them on. There were prostitutes on one corner and guys slinging drugs on the other. Oh, and there were lots of people who appeared to have already had too much to drink. Everywhere I looked there were people who were headed into eternity without Christ. I tried to do my thing but it was so little and so weak in contrast to the forces gathering out in the streets for the summer. It all seemed a little surreal and I wasn’t quite sure why I was feeling so sad.  Then, I passed a group of guys gathered in front of a church and it struck me.  Where’s all the people, the church people, that is!!!

I started looking past the gathering crowds and what I saw astounded me. Every block had a church building or two safely ensconced on the block, but they were all closed and not a light to be seen.  How ironic, I thought, that if Christians are the light of the world and the local church is the hope of the world, that each church was dark as the night, and whatever hope the building might claim to possess on Sunday was locked away for the night, just when those in the hood needed it most. How sad it seemed that in nearly every case, there were groups of men and women gathering in front of those churches who were without Christ and without hope. I guess they knew that after the Sunday services,  the church took Monday off. maybe the rest of the week too. Sin could sit at the doorstep of the church without even being challenged.

What struck me was that Christians are supposed to be the hands and feet of Jesus, but they were nowhere to be seen. What I saw, however, were the hands and feet of another, a more sinister and demanding master who was sending his cohorts out to enlist even more people to his cause. And everywhere, he was unchallenged! How can that be with Christians inhabiting every one of those blocks. How can it be with buildings everywhere that are dedicated to taking the Gospel (i.e. Good News) to the lost? I’m not trying to be overly critical and I am speaking to myself just as much as I am to all of you, but its time to open the doors of those buildings and start a procession of people going both in and out. There should be people going in who have questions about God and problems He can solve. There should be people going out to proclaim that there is a place where Gs can go to find real life and that there is a person who can give them  a living water that will refresh them and give them hope for the future. That living water will not dry up nor will it run out. If tonight seemed like a perfectly refreshing night, think what it will be like for that G who finds God because someone brought him that living water.

Let me close by saying that the pastors of my church have begun a series of messages where the theme is to “Go Outside,” sort of like the old Nike theme, “Just Do It.” That’s what we all need to do. Go outside, each day of the week, all summer long, and address those kids sitting on your steps with love, hope, and the gospel of  Jesus Christ. What if every church in every Chicago neighborhood found a way to turn the lights of their churches on at night and have people sitting on the steps of their church with a smile, a handshake, and maybe some fresh apple pie. What if every church in every neighborhood took up the challenge to Go Outside for these kids each day of  the summer. One need not go farther than the block your church was built on. In doing that, you’ll probably cross paths with Christians on the next block doing the same thing as you are. Link arms, love each other and pray for the kids you’ve both gone outside to help. Then let the Holy Spirit do his thing and watch what God does this summer. Just “Go Outside” and watch God work. Who knows what stories that will spawned, what ministries will be born, and what lives will be changed…forever. Well, God knows, so when it happens, write to us here at Crossfire. Let us know the miracles you see so that God’s work in one neighborhood will inspire His people in another neighborhood. Just “Go outside.” God will do the rest. Then, maybe some of you will write back something like:

We opened the church.

We turned on the light.

We went outside 

and God lit up the night.

You’ll probably do better with the verse, so don’t hesitate to outdo me on that! In the meantime,

JUST GO OUTSIDE!

There is this kid I’ve become friends with up in Rodgers Park. His name is Nicholas. He’s 16 and already been involved in the gang life for several years. Each day he seems to be getting deeper into the street life, just a step away from real trouble. Last Saturday I went up there to find him, so I had the opportunity to drive up and down Devon Avenue several times while looking for Nick. I was struck by the multitudes of people from different religious and ethnic backgrounds and became almost  despondent thinking about all those people going into eternity without Christ. The need was so overwhelming that my paltry efforts on behalf of this single young man seemed inconsequential, bordering on absurd, when balanced against this unsaved mass of humanity. Then, in the midst of that near-depression, God spoke to me saying, “Leave them to me. I’ve put one person on your plate right now, so deal with what I’ve asked YOU to deal with. You have one task right now, Nicholas. I’ve given you responsibility for Nicholas’ life so don’t worry about what I haven’t asked you to do. Be responsible for the one  person I’ve asked you to love.”

I’ve been mulling over that conversation with the LORD all week. Then, this morning, I attended the monthly Willow Creek Prison and Incarceration Ministry meeting where the Holy Spirit affirmed the LORD’s word to me when Anne Rand read a devotional about one, one, one… by Mother Teresa. In it the words of Mother Teresa came through loud and clear:

“I never look at the masses as my responsibility. I look only at the individual. I can love only one person at a time. I can feed only one person at a time. Just one, one, one.  As Jesus said “Whatever you do for the least of my brethern, you do it to me.” So you begin…I begin. I picked up one person…The whole work is only a drop in the ocean. But if we don’t put the drops in, the ocean would be one drop less. Same thing for you. Same thing in your family. Same thing in the church where you go. Just begin One. One. One.

At the end of our lives we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, or how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry and you gave me to eat. I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in (Matthew 25:34-36, 40). Hungry not only for bread but for love…naked not only for clothing but naked of human dignity and respect. Homeless not only for want of bricks, but homeless because of rejection.”

                                                                                                     Mother Teresa (1910-1997)

Please help me to be faithful to my calling of one by praying with me for Nicholas.

Prayer: LORD, I am often overwhelmed by the needs of the world around me, by the immense size of the need. Thank you that you are responsible for the world and that I am not. Help me see the individual today – the one, the one, the one – that the words and actions that flow from my life reflect your love. In Jesus name, amen.

A new movie is coming out in the near future about the intertwined lives of Nicky Cruz and David Wilkerson. The movie is called Thousand Pieces and is based on the book  Run, Baby, Run, the official biography of Nicky Cruz.  Information on the movie can be found at the following two websites:

http://www.runbabyrunmovie.com/main.php

http://thousandpiecesmovie.com/

There is an earlier “sanitized” film called The Cross and the Switchblade based on the book of the same name by David Wilkerson. The film is actually inspiring and worth a screening.  It’s a 70’s film that stars Pat Boone as David Wilkerson and Erik Estrada as Nicky Cruz , so it’s more on the “cute” side and not as” gritty” or realistic as a current movie on the same topic might be. Nonetheless, the film is worth watching to get a visual presentation of the story. See it at:

http://www.ovguide.com/movies_tv/the_cross_and_the_switchblade.htm

David Wilkerson impacted the life of Nicky Cruz and the gangs of New York, but he did much more, all because he was obedient to God’s whisper. If you want to change the world for the better, you might want to read this story about David Wilkerson’s journey of faith:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/aprilweb-only/rememberingdavidwilkerson.html

See what Nicky Cruz has to say about David Wilkerson, the man who led him out of the Mau Mau street gang in NYC.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/aprilweb-only/nickycruz.html

Gang Outreach Education Strategies and Training.

Joseph “Pepe” Montenegro
M.S., Founder

Pepe came from a life of adolescent drug use, gang membership and eventually dropped out of high school. When a terrible turn of events took place he entered a drug rehabilitation program and after 9 months graduated from the program. While in the program he heard the message of hope in Jesus Christ. Upon accepting Christ, he left the gang and drug lifestyle and dropped back in to high school. He graduated from high school and went on to earn his Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from Vanguard University of Southern California. He is an at-risk youth counselor, parent educator and mentor program coordinator for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District as well as a volunteer for both the Orange County Juvenile Hall and the California Youth Authority in Chino. Find more at:

http://www.goest.org/Home.html

David Wilkerson, the man who impacted the life of Nicky Cruz so heavily, was killed yesterday in a car crash in Texas. The story of David and Nicky is told in both the Cross and the Switchblade and Run, Baby, Run. Lest you think that Nicky Cruz was the only person helped by this man of God, open the following link and read about what many many gang members, addicts, and average everyday people have to say about how God changed their lives through this man. These short tributes are proof that God is still in the business of changing lives, so if you’ve been looking for proof of that fact, just start reading! Dave Wilkerson has always been one of my heroes and now he’s with the LORD. We remain, however, and are asked to carry on the work he started at Teen Challenge. Read more at this site:

http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2011/04/david_wilkerson.html