Sunday, April 6, 2008

Gangs, Prisons, and God

Last week, the local newspaper released the below warning concerning gang initiations and the potential danger to innocent victims. Some condemned the local police for "scaring" everyone and say the threat is a joke. I can't say if the threat is serious or not, but I do know our town is riddled with violent gangs. The town sits on the county line that divides the Nortenos (northerners) from the Surenos (southerners) gangs and this is the meeting place to stage wars. (Here's a link that talks of Delano being the dividing line: My husband and I taught a class at a local continuation high school and dealt with the issue of gangs frequently. Just as one must commit some monstrous crime to be accepted into a gang, if one chooses to leave the gang he must subject himself to a beating. The gang will beat the person nearly to death and leave them to die. (To learn more about gangs visit One of the boys in our class was convinced to leave his gang after his brother went to jail for a murder they both committed but the one brother did not get caught. His beating nearly killed him, but he was willing to take the beating to leave gang life. Shortly after he was "out," we were talking to him at school when suddenly a car stopped in the middle of the road, three gangsters jumped out and attacked this boy's best friend. This boy stood there with clenched jaw, tight fists, and watched as his friend's head was pounded into the concrete curb. The gangsters did their damage, jumped back in their car and took off. I looked at this young man who had recently gave up gang life, held his arm and said, "I'm proud of you." He looked me in the eye and responded, "That was the hardest thing I ever had to do, but I knew if I helped my friend I would be back in." This was nearly 12 years ago and this young man is now the on-campus security guard for the school. Gang life is real, it's hard, and often deadly. Since the addition of several prisons to our little town, gang activity has increased. We have six prisons within a seven mile radius with one of those being a federal prison. One of the state prisons here in Delano, is a level four with San Quentin and Pelican Bay being the only two with higher security in the state. It houses approximately 5,000 prisoners. Overbooked, and understaffed. Even so, God dwells with us in this town and His angels keep guard around us.

Delano Warns of Potential Gang Attacks
On 03-27-08, the Delano Police Department Gang Unit received information that a California Criminal Street Gang is going to be holding gang initiations in the cities of Delano and McFarland. Prospective members are to collide their vehicles into random vehicles from behind. As the driver of the victim vehicle exits, the prospective members will open fire.

As always, the Delano Police Department is concerned with the safety of all Delano residents and therefore, we are strongly suggesting that everyone use extreme caution if they are involved in a rear end collision. If citizens are involved in a similar type vehicle collision they should drive directly to the Delano Police Department to report motor vehicle collisions until further notice. The Delano Police Department is located at 1022 12th Avenue.


  1. This is a sad but true post! I am seeing more and more tributes on the back windows of cars in the area of young people who have died either by gangs or drugs.

    We must reach them with Jesus before it is too late for another young person.

  2. Brian - you are right. It is so sad that so many kids are becoming trapped in the gang and drug lifestyle. It is a deadly path.

  3. Your harvest field is a dangerous one but at the same time can be such a fruitful one. It is devastating to hear the god that these young men and women serve, and what it does to their lives. May safety be yours, and may your ministry save many of these wayward souls.

  4. Where sin does abound, grace does much more abound. May God use you and the church in Delano to reach these young people. I remember when a gang banger walked into the church we were a part of when my daughter was a baby. This guy looked scary, but he was really hungry for God. You'd never guess his past life today looking at him, and he is the home Bible study coordinator in his church. Thank God that He sees what we can become through His grace.

  5. Sis. Allard,

    How sad this is but how true. My sister and her husband pastor in a city riddled by gang warfare. She drives a school bus and has to go through trainings each year regarding gang activities and initiation rites, etc.

    It is sad that so many young people in our society desire to belong to the point that they will subject themselves and their loved ones to such a violent, controlling lifestyle. A lifestyle that hold's nothing for them but a dead-end future. How desperately our world needs Jesus.

    You all are in my prayers.

  6. They desire to "BELONG" to something. We must pray and work to show them the place where they can "belong" and be at peace - the church.
    God be with you, guide you and use you mightily!

  7. I weep as I read your post. I know that God can break the chains that the enemy is trying to wrap around those young people. We will continue to pray for you. I have prayed at the schools in many cities including several there in California. Prayer can break those chains!

  8. I'll echo Sister Connell, "Where sin does abound..."
    Pastor just yesterday mentioned "gang bangers" and other society's derelicts as the harvest coming in. You will reach them ! In Jesus Name!
    God is with you and protects you. He has equipped you and Brother Allard to do His work and choose you to be where you are.

  9. God is able to do exceeding, abundantly, above all than we can ask or think. NOTHING is impossible with Him. I believe we will soon hear reports of revival break-through in this part of your city.

  10. scary but true stuff! There were 2 drivebys on the same street where my dad lives. He wont even let the kids outside alone anymore for awhile. Delano has a place in my heart--its where I was raised and where I 1st got into church. Delano's always in my close thoughts and prayers. LOVE YOU ALL.

  11. You are so right: gang violence is a sad reality. Just the other day, there was a lock-down at one of the local high schools in our area due to the threat of a "drive-by." Thankully, it ended up being an empty threat.
    We will be praying for you and the church of Delano. May our light shine bright in this dark world.

  12. Karen - thanks for your prayers.

    Carol - we have many in our church who were gangsters at one time, but they are now pillars in the church. God is so good!

    Moi - thanks for dropping by my blog and your prayers. It is sad that so many young people are so desperate to "belong" they will give themselves to gang life.

    Tena - we want them to "belong" to God.

  13. Kevin - I appreciate your compassionate heart. We do work in an area that is infested with gangs, drugs, and destruction but we have witnessed God's delivering power many times. Violence has increased since the level four prison opened but, once again, God's power is stronger. Thanks for your continued prayers as we continue to reach and rescue.

    Catherine - you said the key word, "In Jesus' name."

    Ronda - Yes, all things are possible.

    Carissa - you do know this town well and, for all its faults, it still has many benefits. The cost of living is still less than other areas, our central location allows to be at the beach in 2 hours, snow skiing in an hour, L.A. in two hours, and San Francisco in four hours. I think I will stay right here where God placed me and keep something good in this town. :~)

    Steven - thanks for dropping by and commenting on my blog. "Lock-down" has become "normal" in this little town. Your prayers help keep us safe, thank you.

  14. Wow, I just read this! Very scary, can't believe there's so much gang crime. It's unreal! I wish there was a way for the common citizen to stand up to the fear and control these gangs exert.
    I'll be praying for your safety, and like everyone else said, I will also pray for you guys to have revival! Love you!

  15. Janell - thanks for dropping by. You know, we have a great church with many converted gangsters and druggies. You would never believe it to see them now, but God is good. I don't feel scared for two reasons. One, I grew up here and it is home. Most gangsters look for rivals, not just an ordinary citizen. Second, I know God is with me.