Saturday, May 23, 2009


It was a good week in Hollywood. I'd missed the previous week due to being sick, so it was nice to be back out and seeing people I hadn't seen in a while. The cops were out and about, and several of them were hanging out by donut time (not sure what they were giving tickets for). Which means that people were happy to hang out with us and chat. Because they know that the police won't bother them if they're with us.

A couple of us chatted with Keeva, who has been coming to the bible study weekly. We talked about her nursing job and recent work drama, and I found out more about her tattoos, some of which I'd never noticed before. One on each eyelid that she had done in 8th grade. And a few matching tattoos from a "clique" she was in. At least that's what she called it. Otherwise known as a gang...

During that conversation, our friend 'Alex' walked out of the donut shop, so we began catching up right away. It's always good to see him, and it had been a few weeks. He was with Star, who several people on our team know well. I hadn't met him before, but we got along quickly. I'd actually heard various rumors about him being killed, beat up, etc before. (I believe he'd been beat up pretty bad a few months back.) Again, they wanted to hang out with me since the cops were there, and then we hung out until bible study. Despite some hesitation to come and stay, they hung out for a bit although Star was clearly uncomfortable being there and didn't feel like he belonged. He made a bit of a scene and couldn't keep too quiet. But he kept trying to leave, and Alex was wanting to stay, but feeling pressured to go and hang out with his friend. Interestingly, about the time Alex was ready to go, Star kind of hung around and kept listening.

Antquan noted at the end of the night that he had seen them on the fence, being pulled both ways - lightness or darkness? - as they hovered around, unaware of the spiritual battle they were in the midst of. Eventually, darkness won out and they left early in the bible study. But it was one of those situations where, had they stayed, they wouldn't have listened well and probably would have caused major distractions...or been frustrated by us trying to 'make' them stay. So we let them head off with a wave and smile. The Refuge, however, was still full of people listening attentively.

One of them, Jose, talked with Antquan after about how he'd just left a program and was starting to drink again. But he knew he needed to get back on track, and made plans to have Antquan take him back to a program or a place he could get help. He's a Christian, but struggling a bit at the moment.

A friend of mine, Marcus, was also there with his boyfriend. I hadn't seen him in a while, and the last few times I'd seen him he'd been hesitant to talk much. So when we split up into discussion groups afterwards, I was in his group and got to spend most of the evening talking to them. We talked about things we need to surrender to God. They assured us that they'd both already surrended everything to Jesus because he died on the cross for them. But their lifestyles don't exactly reflect it. That disconnect is a tricky one for me to know how to address. Call them out, when I've done some of that before? Or just keep chatting and build on the relationship in order to build trust to eventually address it again? It didn't seem the time to call it out...I'm not sure if that was my call or God's, but I will continue to pray for the Holy Spirit to mold them and hope to see them again soon.

The conversations of the evening left me with a bitter taste in my mouth - glad to see people I hadn't seen in a while and chat with them. But frustrated that they say with their mouths they love God, while their lives deny it. Yet it left me with more passion for an actual building in the area to be able to build these relationships day-in and day-out, because one day a week just isn't enough to combat all that their souls war against during the week.

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