Women’s Ministries Provide Healing Touch in Los Angeles
Gangs, Poverty, Violence Reveal Barrio Needs
Each Saturday, 20-plus members of the Los Angeles Central Corps provide a wonderful ministry to eight barrios situated in the midst of troubled downtown Los Angeles. For many who live there, life is a constant battle against poverty, gangs, drugs and violence.
On a recent Saturday morning, we stood outside as people began gathering for the program. The sky threatened rain, and because of the heavy rains the day before, many of the families were trying to catch up on their chores. Some people were pulling large loads of dirty laundry to be washed at a nearby laundromat, others had large carts of groceries, but many stopped what they were doing to join the Army group. Several ladies said they just couldn’t miss this wonderful meeting, even if it meant getting caught in another rain storm. Women, men, boys and girls of all ages responded to the voice on the megaphone inviting them to worship, each excited, anticipating a great morning.
One apartment manager had, in desperation, asked the Army to come to her complex and pray for the people. The complex was a haven for gang members, with drug deals conducted all day long.
The Army did come–the soldiers of the Los Angeles Central Corps began praying faithfully for the people living there. Miracles began happening, and then a transformation occurred. Today, no gang members live in the complex! There are no drugs! Women have taken an interest in their children. The children are clean and experiencing genuine love.
People are taking charge of their neighborhood in a most positive way.
How did this happen? Home League members and Women’s Outreach Ministries members began loving these women in the barrios and sharing with them the love of Jesus. They helped teach them about God’s forgiveness and the change he provides. Women found Jesus, and shared him with their families. Bona Brea Barrio on Third Street has had a face lift. The yards are clean, the sidewalks are swept, and the children look healthy and clean. They are now playing in a safe, gated and fenced yard with mothers’ supervision.
The Barrio ministry had been Claudia Carrion’s dream. (Claudia was the 1996 Territorial Women’s contest winner for Women’s Outreach Ministries.) Claudia has great compassion for the women in the barrio and she, along with Captain Elizabeth Delgado, have taken action.
This particular Saturday morning, Claudia began with a challenge to each lady present — Psalm 90 :12 “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
“Women, ask God to teach you how to make your days count so that you will experience his wisdom,” she exclaimed. “Last year is over, we can’t change what was–but this is a new year. You have an opportunity to set new goals, new plans. TODAY…now…is the day to make changes. We need to do our best. We need to be better than last year and even better than yesterday. Today set a goal–be the best for God. God will help you. He will hear your prayer and your promise to him.”
“Philippians 4:13 says ‘I can do all things through Christ…’ This afternoon you need to promise God that you will be a better Christian – a better mother – a good wife. Starting today – trust the Lord and he will not fail. His wisdom is perfect.”
One of the soldiers of Los Angeles Central Corps has opened her home each Thursday at noon to minister to 16-20 women. They are teaching them how to be the kind of women God wants them to be. Each Saturday night at 7:00 another outreach ministry group meets training women how to love their children, how to care for their children, how to budget, how to clean, how to shop, how to cook healthy, and how to be Godly women.
Yes, Captain Elizabeth Delgado and Claudia Carrion, with their husbands, children, and corps family have a dream and God is using that dream to cause positive change in the lives of people in the barrios.