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Posts Tagged ‘broken hearts ministry’

Shut Up and Listen [*]

June 4, 2010 Leave a comment

7-11 SidewalkFor those that don’t already know, I had to experience another one of those really rough patches of life these past two weeks. It was one of those “If it doesn’t kill you, it only makes you stronger” kinds of experiences. So, during that time, I took a two-week break from serving with the Broken Hearts Ministry team to focus on my “rough patch”, focus on God, and rest.

My “rough patch” came to a formal close, at least for now, last Wednesday. Since then, I have been processing my feelings and considering my options for life moving forward. My feelings have mostly been a mix of sadness, frustration, anger, and joy. My options have focused around my kids and ministry. Even as I write this, I have many things pending a resolution. It was a little bit of a surprise then that I received an email yesterday morning from Antquan Washington, the leader of Broken Hearts, encouraging me to deliver the sermon that night on the streets of Hollywood. He specifically suggested that I share something about what I have been experiencing these past few weeks. It wasn’t long before God and I had worked out a rough outline including scriptural references for the sermon I would give.

The title for the sermon we came up with was “The Voice of God: Shut Up and Listen”. One key verse came from the book of Psalms:

“Be still, and know that I am God;” (Psalm 46:10a NIV)

I was the first member of our team to arrive at the intersection of Santa Monica and Highland last night and was joined a few minutes later by Antquan. Apparently, the remaining members of the team were either not coming or were running late so Antquan and I prayed briefly and then headed across the street to the Donut Shop to mingle. I didn’t recognize many people and most people we met were stoned and/or drunk. I wasn’t sure how to initiate a conversation or with whom (yup! even after all these years, I still lose my tongue sometimes), so I prayed, repeatedly, “God help me. What should I say? Who should I talk to?”

While praying, I observed the comings and goings around me. Among other things, I watched one man sell $5 worth of “medicinal” marijuana to another fellow who immediately stepped outside to smoke it. At one point, I took a break from praying to ask no one in particular how the Lakers game had went. I got several replies but that also instigated a minor scuffle between two Celtics fans and everyone else. Right in the middle of it all, one man pulled out his pocket knife, waived it around, and said something like “We’ll see who’s really boss around here.” At that, I went back to praying. Read more…

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Passion

April 9, 2010 Leave a comment
Jorge Angulo

Jorge Angulo

The first time I ventured out on the streets of Hollywood with Broken Hearts Ministry, I was nervous, terrified, and excited all at the same time. In many ways I can liken my emotions on that night to many of my experiences on those big roller coasters at Six Flags. They call them “thrill rides” for a reason. The second night out with Broken Hearts, I sat with several others on a sidewalk outside a laundromat as we listened to Antquan Washington preach a 15 minute sermon. In many ways I thought it all to be totally absurd. “Preaching to addicts, prostitutes, dealers… waste of time but bold nonetheless.” It didn’t take long though for me to see positive results from Antquan’s preaching and the rest of what the Broken Hearts team was doing.

The more I witnessed positive results from the street preaching, the more I admired Antquan. Since he stood and we sat as he preached, I looked up to him more and more in both senses. Antquan had and continues to have a passion to bring the healing truth of the Gospel of Jesus to the broken and hurting. You could say he was and is on fire. Likewise, you could say that his fire spread onto me too. It wasn’t long before I began considering preaching too. My gut reaction though was “Shu! …Right! …As if! …Like THAT will ever happen!” I can’t remember the specifics of how it came to be but after some time I gave my first street sermon, then another, and another… I’d like to think that I am pretty good at it now.

I got a gentle reminder a few months ago about how I basically sucked when I first started preaching. Antquan saw that I had a passion to preach even if I lacked the skills and natural talent. So he continued to allow me to preach despite my flaws. Unbeknownst to me at that time several people loathed my preaching. More than one person approached Antquan privately and pleaded that he would stop permitting me to preach. One person said once, with a tone that was less than enthusiastic, “What?! Jeremiah is speaking again?!”. I think if I had known what was being said about me in private back then I would have been crushed and would never have spoken in public again, anywhere, ever. Knowing what I know now, I am forever grateful to Antquan for seeing what many others couldn’t see. Read more…

Natasha – The Search for Something…

November 9, 2009 Leave a comment

This week I was paired up with Jen to go out on the street and share the love of Jesus. After a few minutes of walking up and down our stretch of Santa Monica Blvd, we found a prostitute wearing a miniskirt and high heels standing alone in the cold waiting for his next customer to drive up. Jen and her bubbly personality got the conversation rolling quickly and so it took mere moments to learn that his name is “Natasha” and that it was his birthday. We also learned that he is writing an autobiography detailing the various hardships in his life and how he has overcome them. He volunteered to us that he has spent a lot of time alone lately just reflecting on his life and considering ways to improve it. Very early on in the conversation, Jen asked Natasha what he would like prayer for. Natasha quickly suggested that we pray for God to help him with his book. Well… we spoke with Natasha for roughly thirty minutes and most of that time was focused on empathizing with Natasha’s pain and frustration with things like the self-perpetuating prison system and parents who abuse and neglect their children instead of loving them. Natasha had lots of things to say and we were there to listen… and agree. At the end of the conversation, we asked again what he would like prayer for. This time, he was too choked up to give a proper answer. With tears in his eyes, he said, “Just that God would give me…” But Natasha couldn’t finish his own sentence because even he wasn’t sure what it is exactly he is searching for.

As we said our goodbyes, I gave him a hug and wished him a happy birthday. We invited him to the Refuge church service and he said he would join us shortly. Later, he did actually come by for a few minutes but he left shortly after getting a plate of pizza.

Please pray that Natasha keeps searching for and eventually finds God.

The Woman Who Asked “Am I Good Enough?”

October 2, 2009 Leave a comment

I have another story to share about my time on the streets of Hollywood last night. To anyone who is thinking, “didn’t you just share a story about last night?” the answer is yes. My other story entitled “Enthusiasm for a Parking Lot Church” was about a woman named Essence. If you haven’t read that story yet, you should. It’s a good one. 🙂

Well, while our small group which included Essence was having discussions about the sermon last night, I would occasionally look around to see what else was going on around us. (There is always lots of crazy activity going on out there. Last night, some young drunken clubbers who were all friends got in a *fist fight* over who got to sit in the front seat of their car! It all took place just a few feet away from us!) Almost every time I looked up, one of the other ladies from the street was looking at me. This is odd for (at least) two reasons. First, we don’t encounter a lot of real women on these streets and last night we had at least four in our church service. Second, it wasn’t just one of them. Three ladies were like taking turns. And it wasn’t coincidence either. They had to turn their shoulders to see me. So, anyway, after our little discussion group broke up, one of the ladies approached me and I finally got to learn why she kept looking. (The other two will remain a mystery.)
Read more…

Enthusiasm for a Parking Lot Church

October 2, 2009 Leave a comment

Parking Lot ChurchLast week, while hanging out on the streets of Hollywood with Broken Hearts, I met a real woman who calls herself Essence. (Many of the “women” we meet on the street are actually transgenders and transvestites.) I had just invited Jamal, a very familiar face, to our church service when Essence overheard and, with an attitude, exclaimed “You aren’t going to church!” Jamal and a few others from the street walked to the church service with us. Essence stayed behind. Apart from the power of the Holy Spirit, I can’t explain why Essence actually came to the parking lot where we meet for church service a few minutes later, on her own. She looked very out of place and bewildered as we passed out pizza and welcomed people into conversation. She reluctantly accepted a slice of pizza and then stayed for the message about “Playing the Victim” (the story of the man healed at the Pool of Bethesda and the story of Paul, Silas and the Jailor in Macedonia).

Last night, I spotted Essence in the Del Taco right after I arrived. When we made eye contact, she didn’t recognize me immediately and had a look of disinterest. Then her face exploded into a smile as she figured out who I was and exclaimed, “Is there church tonight?!” When I told her that there was and that I was telling another story, she turned to the four or five friends who were with her and announced with enthusiasm, “I’m going to church tonight!”
Read more…

Pit of Despair

August 25, 2009 Leave a comment

The following is a true and very sad story about a young man who was thrust into a bad situation without his consent but is now quickly approaching death through his own choices and actions.

This last Friday night, I was at one of my favorite places to be, the streets of Hollywood. The beginning of my night was spent introducing roughly 20 first-timers to our street ministry. After prayer as a large group, we separated into groups of twos and threes and headed out onto the sidewalks to strike up conversations with addicts, prostitutes, security guards, merchants, and the like. This Friday, I was grouped with a man and his young daughter. Since there were a lot of first-timers out that night and because my two partners were a bit shy, I spent a lot of time just showing them around. We also spent a lot of time in prayer. We prayed for the men going in and out of the adult book store, the security guards, police officers, and more. Read more…

Can’t Let Go [**]

July 20, 2009 Leave a comment
Cant Let GoFor those that don’t already know, I spend most Thursdays on the streets of Hollywood from 11pm until roughly 2am. I am a member of a group of young people from all over L.A. and Orange counties who have a passion for helping mend the hurting and broken lives all around us. The particular area that we focus on probably has several nicknames but the one I heard when I was first introduced to the ministry was “Boy Town”. It’s called this because this is one of many areas in L.A. where runaway boys (as young as 12, perhaps younger) seem to make their way to. Here they find other young (and old) men who have nowhere else to call home. They sleep on the sidewalks, in 24-hour donut shops, behind and in trash cans, in other people’s homes, and in hotels. 

These last two places (homes and hotels) are interesting because these boys, most of them anyway, have never learned a trade. Very few have finished high school. Some haven’t even finished elementary school. They are victims of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse. They have been through foster homes, group homes, prisons, and more. They have not only seen the dark side of America, they have lived and are still living in it. …So what do most of them do in order to afford food and lodging? They prostitute themselves. Furthermore, over time, these “boys” become more and more like “girls”. They cover all areas of the spectrum, from wearing a little mascara or walking a certain way all the way to having body parts added and removed. The bulk of our team’s ministry is simply being (hanging out) with these people and letting them know that they are loved, by the creator of the Universe and our small group of, relatively speaking, wealthy young people. We do pray with them, feed and clothe them, discuss the Bible, and even have church services in a parking lot near a 7-11. But if all we do on a given night is listen to and sympathize with someone as they share a heartbreaking story about how their parents kicked them out of the family because they were gay, then we have had a fruitful night. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is just be with them. Read more…