Elder Darin McAllister (Courtesy photo)

With a loud shout of “Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord,” Elder Darin McAllister along with a dedicated team of volunteers, ministers, and student leaders; boldly spoke words of life over the intersection of San Pedro and 5th Street East in the heart of Skid Row

On Friday, June 17, Darin McAllister, Sr., vice president of Christian Ministries & Community Development for the Los Angeles Mission, and the Boots on the Ground group of volunteers, ministers, and prayer warriors; prayed over, encouraged, and provided hope to the men and women who live deep in the heart of Skid Row’s “Hot Zone,” declaring, “This is going to be a safe place, and this corner will be a place of transformation.”

The group provided water bottles, hygiene kits, and prayer for anyone who wanted it.  “Most of the men you see out here volunteering today have been in this position before.”, said McAllister. For example, Gustavo (Gus) Torres, and other student leaders who were once homeless, hopeless, and addicted to drugs, have now transformed their lives with the help of the Missions programs, to the point of helping others to get from where they once were, to where they are now.

“Everyone here at the Mission has a powerful testimony of transformation, even our president and CEO, Pastor Troy Vaughn,” said McAllister.  It is often said of Pastor Troy, that he has come from being a resident to the president.

One young man that McAllister and his team ministered to said, “I don’t know how to get off this.”  McAllister encouraged the young man, and asked the group of about five men that were with him, “How many of you have been in his situation before?”   All five guys that were with McAllister raised their hands.  McAllister said to the young man, “You see how these men are clean now?  You can be clean, too.  We are here to help you,” continued McAllister.

That young man’s name is Dell.  So, anyone that is reading this article, now that you have the name of one person that can benefit from your prayers, please pray for Dell.  “When you mention someone’s name, you’re not just arbitrarily praying, but you are giving someone an identity when you call their name,” said McAllister.

He explained, “People with good intentions often think, ‘I’ve got to just get them off of the streets, and things will be better.’ Although that is a noble idea, and it should be the goal, the problem is much deeper than that.

“Homelessness is not just a social issue.  It is not just about housing – but it’s a spiritual issue, and it takes an embracement and undergirding of the entire person to transform the heart, mind, and spirit of individuals.”

LA Missions Boots on the Ground Team Praying over 5th St. and San Pedro St., after the prayer walk (Denise Gibbs photo)

McAllister went on to say, “People on the streets often connect with those on the streets out here because of what they have in common – ‘I like crack, you like crack, he’s okay with me, he’s not going to judge me, I’ll share mine with him, he’ll share with me sometimes too.  We’ve got each other’s back in that area.’

“From that perspective, at the Mission, when we get them into a program, now individuals will begin to grab a hold of another sense of community. – ‘He loves God, I love God, I go to church, he goes to church, he supports me, I’m encouraging him, she’s encouraging me, girl, we’re going to make it together.’  Now they can process and love and have a sense of community that is healthy for them,” said McAllister.

On Friday, July 8, the Los Angeles Mission Ministry Team will engage the Skid Row community through prayer, offering words of encouragement, hygiene kits, fellowship, and the love of Christ. Volunteers with a heart for the homeless, and who have the strength and energy to walk four-six blocks, are invited to sign up to help as they get their boots on the ground to reclaim Skid Row for the kingdom of God.

Anyone who desires to volunteer must show proof of vaccination and sign up in advance by the QRC code on the flyer, or by visiting www.lamissions.org  Volunteers will meet for a brief orientation in the newly renovated Holsinger Chapel, at 8:30 a.m., where they will receive instructions before going out to bless the people of Skid Row.

Darin McAllister is also an ordained minister, and a member of West Angeles Church of God in Christ, led by Presiding Bishop Emeritus Charles E. Blake, Sr., First Lady Mae L. Blake, Co-Pastor Charles E. Blake, II, and his wife, Lady DeAndra Blake.

Watch the video of Elder Darin and the LA Missions Boots on the Ground ministry in action at the June 17, 2022, prayer walk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfBKYW8Prkc