Life on Skid Row

John, Gary, Me, Dillian, Jane and Robert…The Team having lunch at Paul’s Kitchen

I have in the past mentioned our friend Carlos, who is a staple on Skid Row. Carlos has been and will always be our ally. As soon as I exited the vehicle there were signs that our friend had fallen hard off the wagon. Carlos was reaching two years of sobriety, but it was evident that he was not in good shape. As the friendly, loving Carlos was swallowed up by a negative alcoholic spirit, it was heartbreaking to witness his suffering. According to the statistics from the Centers of Disease Control, the probability  of a relapse is 40 to 90%. I would image that the numbers on Skid Row are closer to the latter.

Our service to the homeless was powerful. As we arrived the rain was gently falling, thus creating a slippery, muddy, messy sidewalk. I never realized how poorly the streets on Skid Row are maintained. Part of the problem is that the permanent tents in the area impede any upkeep that the city can provide.

We have a positive rapport on Skid Row so many of the regulars recognize us and are receptive of our ministry. Some of the homeless keep their area tidy but others are not as considerate thus breeding an epidemic of flies. Once you get through all the obstacles and start praying for people, all these outside distractions and bad scents disappear.

We met Yolanda, an attractive young lady in her mid-twenties; she explained that she was just released from prison. She was honest, and received prayer in a humble and loving manner. Good looking women are always surrounded by men and she had three men bidding for her attention. I prayed for her to find her way out of this situation and for her to find housing.

We made our way to the Cuban section and the people were as usual, kind and receptive to prayer. The Cubans are homeless due to their excessive drinking and smoking pot, but they do not get into meth or other hardcore drugs. They seem to be less violent, and stick to each other for protection.

We came across about seven sweet teenage girls standing in a tight row and handing out water. Some of them seemed displaced, but the fact that they were there to minister was a testament to their bravery. As we passed the girls, we met and prayed for many, with one man very excited to announce the birth of two kittens. His face beamed with great joy as he held out a one week-old-kitten. This new life gave him a sense of purpose and responsibility.

Jane, Robert and John’s praying circle
Skid Row tents and street debris

In front of the Midnight Mission I came across a young girl, whose beautiful black eyes spoke of deep hurt and pain. She did not want prayer, and could not even verbalize the response. She simply shook her head with a no. Whatever she was harboring was more than her spirit could bear. She broke my heart. As we walked ahead, part of the team stayed to pray for others. The Spirit of the Lord was moving so powerfully on Jane, Robert and John that from a distance I knew they were touching the hearts of many. Gary and I waited for the team at the corner while witnessing to our youngest volunteer, Dillian. Earlier Dillian had mentioned that he needed scientific proof of God’s existence. He got a view of both God and Satan in a few hours for good and evil manifested on Skid Row. Dillian has a special calling to the poor, and God will continue to tug at his heart until he is yielded to the call.

Whatever the homeless do not use it ends up on the street. It is a monumental task for the city to keep up with the debris of the homeless. The task force of volunteers work tirelessly cleaning up the mess.

We had lunch at Paul’s Kitchen, which our family has frequented it for over 35 years. This restaurant has the best Chinese food in L.A. and is located a stone’s away from Skid Row.


My Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, every person we encountered on Skid Row has a purpose in life. Lord, as we plant the small seed of love, I ask that you would cultivate and nurture your people. Let them hear your still, small voice in this chaos. Move mightily and speedily in their lives, give them dreams, and allow them to experience the presence of angels. Dear Lord, protect them from the elements, the cold, the rain, and the sun, and always provide food and water for them. Put it on the hearts of their loved ones to intercede on their behalf and offer them tangible help. Open the floodgates from heaven for those who are looking for housing. For those who have lost all hope, Dear God, I pray for restoration of their spirits. Please Lord, be with them, especially when they cry out to you. For Carlos, Lord, you know his heart’s intention; help him to dust himself off, and lead him to the road of recovery. Thank you for using us this day, Father, and allowing us to serve you. Amen


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