Saturday, June 28, 2008

Gangster Witnessing

Our usual Friday night evangelism event was unbelievable. While there is more to talk about than in just this post I will give everyone a hint of what is to come.

Jason and I met up a little later than usual and he wanted to go into Tulsa and witness off the Arkansas River. It was a fishing hole we had never tried before. As we stepped off a bridge to walk along the river we were hoping to find the usual groups of people that tend to gather there along the weekend evenings. It was an unusual nice night this time of the summer with a cool breeze blowing.

Almost immediately, I saw a group of 30-40 young people gathered at the water's edge and from a distance it looked like they were conducting a church service. It was a great witnessing and fellowship opportunity and both of us without hesitation left the walking trail and headed down there. It was dark and as I got within 50 feet of the crowd my law enforcement background took over.

I stopped short of walking up to the gathering and sat on a bench behind the crowd. Several of the individuals immediately took their attention off of the event and began looking back at us. I noticed a few gang signs being pointed at the vigil and at least one person turned to us with the sign so we would know exactly where we were. By that time, I had already figured it out. Jason and I were looking at a Gang conducting a vigil for a fallen gang member. I took a quick look around at my surroundings and saw no one other than Jason, me and 30 or so gang members that had the look of experience. I don't make these allegations without knowledge. As a current 15 year veteran of law enforcement and a former gang investigator, I have had some of the best training available in the field of gang identification and enforcement including attending the Los Angeles County Gang School in 1999.

The law enforcement in me told me to leave. Jason gave me "the look". It wasn't exactly the look of fear but it was a look of being uncomfortable. We were also making the gang uncomfortable by just being there. As an investigator I had spent time around gang funerals and the vigils before and after the funeral are even more private. We were not welcome and in our defense we had walked up not knowing. At this point it didn't matter. The Gospel was going to be preached and with the boldness of a Lion, Jason looked at me and I knew what it meant. We were going to preach or be injured or killed trying.

As a law enforcement officer and before I was saved, I had encountered numerous gang members and with a gun, vest and some excellent tactical training, I felt as comfortable as I could in those encounters. This was different. There was no gun, no vest and no backup. It was Jason, me and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We had nothing to worry about.

The vigil was over and as the group broke up I noticed a few circling behind us. I kept an eye on my back as Jason engaged some of them. I held up a pack of million dollar bills and announced who wanted some free money. I then quickly realized that may not have been be the best approach. I was mobbed by the entire group and gave out the tracts as quick as I could. We had them coming back for more so they could give them to their family. Approximately 100 tracts were distributed and as the group was leaving we were able to get several to stay and listen to us as we took them through the Good Person Test.

Jason did a great job of talking to one of the members about his Catholic Background and why just going to church and confessing did not get him into Heaven. We moved on from the encounter in awe of what God had done. As awesome as that was, the night wasn't over. More to come on another day.

1 comment:

For The People said...

That was a nice deal! Keep up the good work. And drop by my place and see what you find! Hope you have a great new week.