Archive for the ‘Personal Stories’ Category

Please pray for Miquel Huerta who has been in Cook County jail since 2008.  Miquel (aka Sappo) is a MLD from Rockwell and North Avenue. God has plans for Miguel so please pray that God’s dreams for him will be realized

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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/

Here is an old article that still makes you think (and cringe). It’s a hard read but read it carefully and before you think about prison being “cool,” think how this story might apply to your own life.

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

Another story about hard times on the streets: Go to :

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

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/

 

today’s Dear Abby

HOMEBOY IN JAIL SAYS GANG

IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR FAMILY

 

 

DEAR ABBY: I’m a 16-year-old gangbanger looking at spending the rest of my life isolated in a little bird cage. Every day I ask myself the same question. Was it really worth throwing my life away? All I did was help a “homeboy” from getting hurt. I got caught and was convicted on eight charges that led to more than four consecutive life sentences. That ain’t no joke! The sad part of it is that the so-called homeboy turned his back on me when I needed him most. I should’ve pulled away when I could’ve.

The main reason for this letter is to help parents and teens like myself who are choosing the wrong path to realize what you’re getting into while there is still time. Tell parents out there, if you see your kid is messing up in school, using drugs, hanging with the wrong crowd, anything that would lead to gang affiliation, reach out and help them while you still can before they’re in too deep. They (teens) turn toward gang life in search of the love they need from their family. Or they want to fit in and be cool.

To all the gangbangers who think you’re cool and being a gangster, get away from it while you still can. It may be fun at the moment, but it’s not when you get caught and you have to spend the rest of your life behind bars. There’s better things to do in life than hang around all day frying your brain from all the drugs and alcohol. Trust me, when you’re behind bars thinking about what you did, you’ll be missing your family the most. You think your homeboys are going to be there for you? Well, let me tell you this … they’re not! I guarantee you that the only people who are actually willing to change places with you are your parents. Your real family. Do you think your homeboys want to do time for you? Hell, no!

I hope this letter helps some people out there. I just want to make a contribution to society before I get locked up in the dungeon forever. This is to show you not all gangbangers are evil and cruel. Life is short. Live it smart, not stupid. Now I can finally answer the question I ask myself, “Was it all worth it?” The money, the girls and all the material things go faster than you think and could all be taken away with the snap of a finger from the split second of a decision you make. It’s not worth your life. — HOMESICK HOMEBOY

* * *

DEAR HOMESICK: You write well and your letter contains a powerful message. I’m printing it without editing. Let your experience be a warning to others. I hope from the sad circumstances of your life some other young person will realize that a gang is a poor substitute for a family and the path to success does not stop at the street corner.

If a troubled young person is in school, he or she should talk to a counselor. If there is a church nearby, talk to a priest or minister. There are alternatives to joining a gang, but you need to reach out.


May the joy and peace that surpasses all understanding, that comes from faith in the resurrected Christ, touch and fill you.  Remember YOU may be the only contact the people in YOUR life will have with the Love of our Lord Jesus this day.

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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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.

Fresh from the release of a new album, Lecrae sits down for a heartfelt interview. See what this well-known rap artist has to say about self, love, and God at:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/music/interviews/2011/rapperrehab-march15.html

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

An interesting site where prisoners answer questions posed by individuals both in and out of gangs. Read the questions and answers at:

http://gangsandkids.com/gquestion.html

Website by Lisa Taylor-Austin who is a gang expert witness, psychotherapist and trainer on the topic of street gangs. Find out more at:

http://www.gangcolors.com/?page_id=3

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

This is a brief talk by Nicky Cruz who was the leader of the infamous Puerto Rican Mau Mau street gang in New York City. Nicky’s story is portrayed in books such as The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and in his own book, Run, Baby Run.  It was through reading those two books that my own life changed and because of what happened to Nicky, I went to Chicago to work for Teen Challenge. That’s when I got involved with the Latin kings and all the other sets I got to know at that time. I even had Nicky come to Chicago back in the early 70s where he had an open meeting for north side street gangs in Humboldt Park. Nicky is just one of many examples of how Christ CAN change a life, even in the worst of circumstances.  jesus can do the same thing for you that he did for Nicky. Think about it. See what Nicky has to say about his life in the Mau Mau street gang and what happened to him when he met Jesus.

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/street_gangs/video/gangs-god-nicky-cruz-testimony/

For more on Nicky Cruz Outreach, go to:

http://nickycruz.org/