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Citizens pray for end to gang activity in Rowan

By Kathy Chaffin
kchaffin@salisburypost.comSaving youth from gangs was a common theme in many of the prayers lifted up at Saturday’s Citywide Youth Prayer event at the Rowan County Courthouse.
“For anybody that’s in a gang, you need to get out,” said 14-year-old Latisha Christopher of the Fight for Christ Youth Organization of OutReach Christian Ministries in her prayer. “It’s not about that. It’s about God.”
Christopher said life is tough for teens today. “Lord, it’s a struggle,” she prayed. “Nobody understands what we teens go through.”
Twenty-year-old Ricky McCoy, who is also part of Fight for Christ, prayed for God to touch every youth’s heart and “help us to go out and minister to show them your love.”
McCoy prayed for wisdom for youths to stay away from gangs. “Let them know that you are there for them, God,” he said.
Evangelist Deneice Edmonds, director of the youth organization, welcomed more than 100 people of all ages who turned out for the event.
“As you know, we have teenagers and youths that are dying by the truckloads,” she said. “We take a blink, and one of our children is going out of here.
“God has called on us all to come together, link together and to pray on behalf of our youths because whatever affects our youths affects our neighborhoods. Whatever affects our neighborhoods affects our communities and whatever affects our communities will affect this city.”
Twenty-year-old Prophet Justin Dorest of Charlotte was the keynote speaker, sharing his experiences as a gang member. “The first gang I was introduced to was the Kings,” he said. “They told me what I had to do to get in was shoot a police officer …”
Dorest encouraged parents to talk to their children and warned them of signs they might be involved with a gang.
“When they start wearing these crazy clothes,” he said, “one color all the time. That’s one sign.”
Markings on their bodies is another. “When you see this stuff, beware of that,” he said.
Dorest warned youths at the event not to “interact with foolishness” and encouraged them to minister to gang members by inviting them to church. Being saved is a job that requires much effort, he said.
“What do I mean by that?” Dorest asked. “When you go to school, you are supposed to be living examples.”
The Remnants Praise Team from OutReach Christian Ministries performed at the event along with the Kujimani Creative Arts Community Praise Dance Ministry of East Spencer.
Beverly Kerr, project director for the town of East Spencer’s Success Program and Gang Prevention Project, said Kujimani is a partnering organization.
Youths in the dance ministry also participate in the Success Program and Gang Prevention Project.
Kerr said the Success Program received a $538,000 grant from the Governor’s Crime Commission to expand its scope to include gang prevention.
“We were excited that the OutReach organization wanted to pray for the city and to bring awareness to the plight of the teens in the community needing more programs,” Kerr said.
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 704-797-7249.

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