Dr. Jo Anne Lyon
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Fire at Midnight in Los Angeles
I have never preached at a service that began at 10 p.m. but Saturday night Jan. 17 was my first. We drove through the winding streets and into a parking lot/alley that led to the back stairs of a warehouse type building. Opening the door we were greeted with hundreds of people (400+) praising God and wonderful smiles of welcome. The room was light, airy and smelled of fresh paint. Why such a late service? This is the only time the Tabernacle of God ( Wesleyan Church) can rent this facility. I literally became unaware of the time and reveled in the presence of God. The service concluded at 1:30 a.m. Pastor Julio Llarena leads this congregation in the midst of immigration issues, hunger, displaced families, homelessness, etc. and is seeing lives and communities transformed.
At the end of the service a woman came up to me to share about the work she was doing with the street prostitutes of Los Angeles. She said, "They are lonely. I take them coffee and am trying to become their friend. We now have several people working in this area." I realized she was not a woman of much means at all, but out of her own poverty she was giving.
La Habre Heights is another area of Los Angeles where a fire is going as well. Pastor Dong Suk Chung is from Korea and has a great teaching ministry that goes beyond his congregation of the Na Sung Church (Wesleyan) of 800. The state of art technical center in the church assists in the broader ministry. They do a regular distribution of his sermons via Internet, radio and other outlets and also send some 1300 tapes to restaurants, banks, barber shops and the list goes on. The response particularly in the Korean/American community has been overwhelming and life transforming.
In West Lost Angeles, the Tabernacle of Power (Wesleyan Church) has a lovely building but no available parking. However, they solved this problem by renting the parking lot from a local supermarket in the next block. Not only do they have all night prayer vigils but on Saturday and Sunday afternoons they walk through the neighborhood and pray. There are hundreds in the church who do this. They are reaching youth who would otherwise be in gangs. These young people are finding the family they so desperately need not on the street but in the church.
In Chino Hills, a beautiful and wonderfully functional building is being erected to reach the people of this community—Crossroads Community of Chino Hills (Wesleyan). Pastor Gil Jun—with already a congregation of over 200—gave us a tour and then asked us to write a Scripture verse on the platform before the carpet goes down. There was the sense that these promises were sealed by the Holy Spirit.
The name of the church is Prince of Peace (Wesleyan) and truly that is what was sensed that evening. Located in an area where security is necessary, yet this is where Peace is needed and found.
El Monte Wesleyan Christian Church is bilingual and a wide variety of ages. I was deeply moved as one of the original members of this church made her way to the piano now age 94 and beautifully accompanied the congregation as they sang, "When We All Get to Heaven."
Somehow this fire in L.A. is increasing the numbers of people seeing Jesus and shouting Victory!
- The Blessing of Presence
- Called to Reconciliation in All Forms
- Fire at Midnight in Los Angeles
- What Else but Joy...Is Strength?
- Looking for Light in the Darkness
- Creative Generosity
- Mustard Seed Living
- God's Math
- Interlude to Africa
- Creativity of the Holy Spirit
- Vision and Courage Continue
- More Vision and Courage
- Vision and Courage