When I asked a pastor visiting from an urban youth ministry to speak to the youth in my country church, he smiled and asked me if he could bring a friend. “Sure!” I answered, “Who are you planning to bring?”
“Oh, one of the kids from my youth group, he’s a new Christian and I want him to give his testimony.” He answered.
“That’d be great!” I said excitedly.
The day came several weeks later, I had told my youth group excitedly all about it, but none of us were quite prepared for what happened. The visiting pastor entered with a tall, thin African-American youth dressed all in blue and black. The kid was nervous, eyeing us all up and down as he sauntered over to his seat with a theatrical limp.
“What is up with him?” One of my students asked. I shrugged.
“Well,” The pastor began as soon as the music was over, “What about if we begin by going around the circle and telling what was the most challenging thing that happened this week.”
As it went around, some students mentioned a fight with a parent, or their boyfriend breaking up with them – one mentioned that he had totaled the family car. About halfway through, it got to our visitor. The pastor turned to the youth by his side, “What about you, DJ?”
“Last Monday,” The boy started huskily. “I was standin’ just inside the doorway of my buildin’, just hangin’ out. It wuz rainin’ real hard outside. I wuz rappin’ –“
“Talking.” The pastor translated.
“—with my best friend, Krazy K. Then he step outside and start running in the rain to another buildin’ across the way. I suddenly hear shots and go to look out. There be my friend on the ground.” He pauses for a moment. “I ran out and threw my coat over him. They was still shootin’ – aimin’ for a group of my homeys behind me. My homey’s shoot back, it was all one big mess.”
When he stops, the Pastor asks, “What happened to Krazy K?”
“The ambulance came and took him, but he wuz DOA.”
“Why did they shoot him?”
“He wuz wearin’ blue, the Crip colors. That’s our gang, the posse we down for. But, I down for Jesus now, when Krazy K died I realized this life is getting’ me nowhere, so I flipped. Tomorrow I gonna tell my gang, you can all be prayin’ they don’t kill me.” The boy smiled slightly and looked around, “That was my hardest day this week.” He looked at the next student. “It’s your turn.”
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