The labors of our brother and his wife are briefly detailed here. God has graciously blessed, and the life changing message of the gospel has wrought its unique work.
We have been having Gospel meetings in the city of Pomona since the beginning of November. The work began about four years ago with a couple of families. Before moving to Pomona, the families lived in the city of Lynwood, where we have another inner city outreach work. A few of them professed through the Lynwood work. When they moved to Pomona, they asked if we would have meetings, one night a week in their home. The Lord has richly blessed the effort there, with the salvation of several precious souls. Many of them were involved in gang activities to a greater or lesser degree. The Lord has worked a mighty work in their lives, not only in saving their souls but also transforming their lives.
Late Saturday night, Nov. 2nd, we received a phone call telling us that a young man of 15, whom we have known for a long time, was stabbed to death in a gang fight. He is a younger brother to the young man in whose home we are having the meetings. Both in Lynwood and Pomona, at times he would come with us on Lord’s day. He was at the meeting in Pomona a week before his death.
After receiving the phone call, we immediately went to be with the family. As you can imagine, they were filled with shock and grief. We spent the better part of the night with them and then went home to get ready for going to meetings on Lord’s day. After the meetings, we went back to the home. By this time a large number of family relatives and friends had gathered. I was asked to speak a Word in the Gospel.
There was one young man there who was from an opposing gang. On other occasions he had fought the young man who died. He came on the scene when they were stabbing the young man. With his car, he drove at the men who were doing the stabbing, as if he were going to hit them. It was enough to cause the men from the other gang to run away. But, they had already done their deed. He tried to get him into his car to take him to the hospital, and then he realized that he was too badly hurt. He called for someone to call the police and held the young man in his hands, until he died. As, he was recounting what had happened, he kept saying, “He fought hard because you could tell, he did not want to die.” We had a long talk with him. He was very open to the Gospel.
Friday night was the viewing service. The gang that had killed the boy had threatened to do a drive by shooting. The detective who was handling the case came to the funeral home. He told us that there were seven plain clothes detectives in the audience, plus twenty-four heavily armed policemen outside to protect us. We appreciated it, as these threats are often real. There were over three hundred people at the watch night service and the funeral the next day. We figured about 250 of them were young people from different gangs and schools. This again gave us a great opportunity to preach the Gospel. We were able to speak three times, including the grave side service. It was touching to see the reverence shown to the Word of God and watch those young people file pass the coffin, many with tears in their eyes.
We started the meetings the next day after the funeral. They were most encouraging. From the beginning, our two sons, Kenny and Glen, shared the meetings with me. Recently, we changed our format. Glen has a class for the children, while Kenny speaks a word in the Gospel, and I follow with a Word in ministry. We average between 30 to 50 each night. We have a meal for everyone after the meeting.
The father and mother of the young man who died came to the meetings. For years we longed to see them come. Now we long to see them saved. Also a large number of teenagers attended. They are all from the same gang. Before the young man died, he talked to his friends about the Bible. He also taught them John 3:16. Several of them have professed.
We will mention the story of two young men. One came to the first night of the meetings. He showed himself to be very hard and indifferent. Most of the nights he slept in someone’s car. Later he told us that he spent almost as much time in a police car as the policemen did. The only difference is that he spent time in the back seat handcuffed.
As he left that night I hugged him and asked him to give God a chance. He told me he would think about it. It was a pleasant surprise to see him out the next day. He has continued to come hardly missing a night. After coming for a couple of weeks, he told someone that since he had been coming to the meetings he had found out that he is a sinner on his way to Hell. Then he said, ” I am going to keep coming until I find out how to be saved from my sins.” We are thankful to say that he has professed and is showing signs of life. The night he professed he told me he did not want to tell any of his friends. But before he left the house he was going around telling them how he was saved. It’s nice to see when they cannot contain themselves and tell others. Since being saved he has gone back to school and home which is at least a half hour away from Pomona.
A 20-year-old man recently professed to be saved. We have known him since he was a young teenager when he came to our work in Lynwood. For a number of months he came to our meetings in Pomona even before we started the series back in November. About a month ago he was incarcerated. It seemed that the Lord used it to break him down. It so happened that his cellmate claimed to be a Christian and talked to him about being saved. One night after talking for awhile, the inmate asked him if he knew another Christian whom he could call as he felt he had helped him as much as he could. He called the house just when we were having our meetings. It so happened that our son Kenny had just finished speaking a message in the Gospel on Noah and the ark. So the young brother of the house basically repeated Kenny’s message as he spoke to the young man. The young man said, “I know God is speaking to me because that is just what the inmate and I were talking about before I called.” Later on that night he professed to be saved.
Four of our people from the Pomona work were baptized during the Long Beach Conference in January. It was a most touching experience when we think of where these people have come from and the struggles they have encountered. As we baptized them we gave a short review of how they were saved. One young man was a leader in his gang before God saved him. On one occasion he was shot three times in the head. By all rights he should have died, but the Lord graciously spared him. We did not know it at the time we were baptizing them, but we were told afterward that there was not a dry eye in the place. We ourselves had to do our best to hold back the tears. That night three souls professed to be saved. One was a brother to the young man who was baptized. He was released from jail two months ago. Since then he has been coming faithfully to the meetings both in Pomona and on the Lord’s day.
During the time we have been having our meetings in Pomona, someone broke into the hall in Lynwood where we have another outreach work. They stole everything of value including the refrigerator and some bathroom fixtures. Of course they left the place a total mess.