Though we prayed about the parking lot that had become a mass dumping ground we hadn’t yet mobilized to speak with the park bureau or city commissioner, but then one day the city came and took away all of the dumpsters and masses of garbage all around them.
East Side Playboys gang members congregate at South Park just a stone’s throw from where we have our Sunday outreaches. We are believing God for the peace and prosperity of this area.
Taking care of their own. Gathered at the west parking lot of South Park (the old dump site) East Side Playboy members came together in the largest public gathering we’ve ever seen to raise money for the slain members’ family. There were 50-100 members congregated throughout the day…stopping traffic to ask for money, washing cars and selling food. It was a peaceful day.
I was a bit intimidated at first, but God showed us something powerful in our obedience to cross the street and enter into their world. We enjoyed our time and were able to introduce ourselves as their neighbors and let them know that we were here to bring peace in the community. They were polite, respectful, humble, well organized and unified. Our kids played with their kids and made the stone- hard stares of the ladies melt into laughs. We joked with the guys and felt honored to have our car washed by God’s future leaders. Please pray that we’d make a connection with key members and be able to see a breakthrough as they become part of the Church. Much of what we saw that day helped us get a glimpse of how the early church in Acts functioned—yet missing such an essential element, the reason, motivator and enabler: Jesus. Wouldn’t it be beautiful to see these heavily tattooed and battered-by-life children of God worshiping unabandonedly their creator out in the middle of South Park—their ‘hood, their community!
Building relationships, trust and being part of the community. Local gang members wash our car (our house is the brownish two-story house in the background)—they did a great job!
The Playboys (PBS) were started in Los Angeles in the early 1960s that started as a car club and then became a full-fledged gang. Out of all the South Central gangs, the East Side Playboys have the third largest territory and the fourth largest membership. The Playboys are one of the most active gangs in Los Angeles and are known for many murders of their rivals in past decades; currently they are ranked number twenty on the top twenty list of most dangerous gangs.
Article from the Los Angeles Times:
South Park: Mauricio Jimenez, 22
Mauricio Jimenez, a 22-year-old Latino, was shot several times in
his chest, abdomen and extremities and died Aug. 15. Jimenez was shot in the 400 block of East 52nd Street in South Park, officials said.
Los Angeles Police Department Officer Rosario Herrera said Jimenez was a gang member who was standing in an alley about 3:55 a.m. with a female acquaintance when two men, also believed to be gang members, approached and started firing.
The victim suffered wounds to his upper and lower torso and was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
This map shows the location of the shooting of Mauricio (the red dot), our house is located on the west end of the park at 50th Street, just a few blocks NW from the murder.
Not everybody has been happy about the clean up or the presence of the ES Playboys en masse. Rival gang activity has been on an increase. I also overheard one homeless man mumble to himself colorful complaints against the city that took his vast source of ‘resources’ away from him. The arrival of God’s peace and prosperity in the city does not come through a city clean up, nor in providing financial assistance and jobs for the poor. Peace isn’t even a lack of street or domestic violence. The issue is much deeper, one requiring God’s sovereign move and God’s instrument the Church to see a restoration of health on all levels—mental health, family/relational health, physical and emotional health and of course spiritual health. Believe with us this month for healing, for health…for continued peace, cleanliness and provision for the people here in South Central.
For His treasures locked in bondage,
Chad, Fabiola, Rebecca and Justice Wolyn
Marked Territory. South Park and surrounding businesses.
(We’re taking this territory for Jesus!)