WHEN THE BLOOD DON'T STOP
I hope that this article on the ministry of peace mediations with gangs would be informative and educational to every pastor or church leader who wants to learn more about this difficult ministry. You may experience gang violence in your own community, but you don’t know how to approach these gang leaders then I pray that this short article might assist you in your ministry. There are some secrets that I could not share on-line and I invite you to contact me if you should need any assistance.
I have been involved in peace negotiations between warring gangs for quite some time now. I am a peace negotiator that has been mandated by the Church to resist and pull down altars of blood that has gained so much power and “legal authority” to operate against prophetic words that were released over Cape Town!
My purpose for being involved in the peace process in Bonteheuwel is not only about getting the guns to cease firing, but it’s also about cutting-edge prophetic evangelism and it’s about closing spiritual portals. So many rituals of blood and so many rituals of death have been performed in South Africa and in the world. According to a police source there are, on average, fifty murders per year in my area alone. Which means out of fifty-two weeks in a year, there are almost one murder per week, and let me tell you that is really a modest statistic in Cape Town. One Billion abortions have already been performed across the world, millions of people have perished on the continent of Africa in conflict zones like Angola, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and other regions.
The drug wars and gang warfare has also offered its blood sacrifices to Satan in massive quantities. Many years ago hundreds of women were drowned and killed in the Yellow River from North Korea’s side; North Korea created a “barrier of death” to prevent the influx of the Gospel of Jesus Christ from South Korea and China into North Korea. Ceremonial killings are a very powerful tool that the Kingdom of Darkness uses to activate the curse of Genesis 4 by flooding the soil of the earth with blood and thereby opening up doorways in the spirit realm.
Up until now we’ve had numerous peace meetings and negotiations with a number of gangs and gang leaders and in one month we have had four prayer meetings at the homes of gangsters and we are still continuing with prayer meetings at different gangsters’ homes. The LORD Jesus is making the crooked paths straight and giving us favour to go into dark territorial places. Every gang has a spiritual principality that is overseer and taskmaster over them. Every gang territory is fortified with established blood altars and sexual altars in heavenly places which grant that particular group “legal ground” and power to operate there. The Church must understand that we have a much higher Authority that gives US legal ground according to the Book of Joshua chapter one:
(Jos 1:3 ASV) Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, to you have I given it, as I spake unto Moses.
(Jos 1:5 ASV) There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee; I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Believe me when I say, it really is very difficult and extremely dangerous if you don’t have a calling and a specific mantle for a specific ministry. When GOD promises that no man will be able to stand before me all the days of my life then I am definitely assured that I am empowered to expel and destroy demonic strongholds. I have graciously been endowed with a prophetic anointing to boldly utter decrees that will annul evil Babylonian decrees over our cities and over our nation! When you go into gang territories you are treading on defiled ground, because blood were spilled and semen were spilled on those grounds. These men made a covenant with those grounds and the ground will co-operate with them, but you must enforce Joshua chapter 1:3 with righteous authority!
So far our organization has had much success with the peace process, but there is an area about less than a quarter of Bonteheuwel where shootings are still prevalent. I have extended a number of invitations to the two rival gang leaders involved in that conflict, but they refuse to come and sit down at the negotiating table, however, I have asked and the LORD GOD has given me another strategy to approach that particular matter. We have spoken to eight gangs already that were involved in gang violence and they have agreed to a peace agreement. Therefore I am confident that soon we will enjoy the fruits of peace in this particular matter.
(Jas 3:18 KJV) And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
Back in the year of 2000 I formed a group consisting of ex-gangsters who came to the LORD Jesus Christ, a group of men that had different gang affiliations, but now redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. Our vision was to do ministry work towards gangsters, because our desire was to see all gangsters touched by the grace of GOD and restored as new men back unto their families.
I spoke to a preacher of the main pastors fraternal in Bonteheuwel, the Bonteheuwel Churches In Action (BCIA) and subsequently we received an invitation from the BCIA to come and share our vision with them. I knew that a new ministry like ours, still in its infancy stages, needed to work under the authority and covering of an established ministry organization and these were the elders sitting at the gates of the city of Bonteheuwel. After our first visit to the BCIA meeting where I shared our group’s vision the pastors requested that we collaborate with them on the planning of a major Prayer Walk through the streets of Bonteheuwel, which I may add, turned out to be a very successful inter-church event.
Early the following year, 2001, the BCIA graciously extended an invitation to our group to join their executive committee. During that period of time gang warfare between the Junior Cisco Yakkies (JCY) and their big brother, the Junkie Funkie Kids (JFK) against the Ugly Americans had taken momentum in our little city. I call the JFKs the big brother of the JCYs because at the beginning stages when the JCY gang began to operate in Bonteheuwel most of them were younger brothers or nephews that spawned from the JFKs. However, this does not apply to the original JCYs that operated in Kewtown and Athlone in the early 1980s; they actually gave birth to the Young Dixie Boys (YDB).
My assignment in the BCIA is to contact the relevant gang leaders and present my case for peace informing them that I represent the Church and the community. In the beginning stages I be would accompanied by another ex-gangster and go in my wheelchair into the gang’s territory, but I will never meet in a shebeen or a drug house, because it is too dangerous and there are just too much human traffic at these types of residences. After initial contact has been established then only will I invite them to the church for a meeting. The pastors under whose authority I work are always kept up to date with my progress. The pastors always allow me to facilitate the peace meetings because there are just so much diverse and intricate dynamics involved in engaging gangsters. Remember these men live a lifestyle of evil and the spirit of deception operates with them daily. You sit around a table with men who suffers from Multiple Personality Disorders, men who carries with them pain and a lot of trauma from their past and men whose consciences has been seared with a hot iron (1 Tim 4:2).
Anyway, GOD extended His favour upon us and we managed to sit down with the Yakkies and the Americans four or five times.
I remember the last meeting we facilitated between the ‘American’ gang and the ‘Junior Cisco Yakkies’ that a journalist with a television camera approached me accompanied by an old acquaintance and informed me that they are busy filming footage for a documentary program that would later be aired on television. Well, they requested permission to film the meeting with the objective of maybe including the footage of the peace meeting to the end product of their documentary on Bonteheuwel. I told the journalist that I have no problem with his request, but I informed him that I first needed to consult with the pastors and the gang members as well to seek their approval. As an ex-gangster I was quite aware that because of their criminal lifestyle some gangsters might be hesitant to appear on camera so I had no desire to surprise them with a cameraman making an unscheduled stop because I realized that on that particular day there was a great possibility that we would reach an agreement of peace.
I left the visitors at the foyer and went inside and put their request to the meeting. The pastors agreed to the presence of a camera, because it meant positive public exposure to our ministry, but on the other hand some of the gangsters were not as comfortable with these new developments and only conceded if the cameraman would give an assurance that certain men’s faces would be digitally disguised when appearing on screen. I went to the front of the church again and conveyed the different sentiments of the meeting to the journalist and his companion. In response the journalist agreed and we then welcomed their participation in the peace mediations. Well, by GOD’s grace the meeting ended successfully even though in the middle of the meeting, we nearly experienced a total breakdown in communication, which caused some members of one gang nearly walking out of the meeting. One of the pastors asked the gang members of both groups whether they agreed to an implementation of immediate peace and requested that all those in agreement to please indicate by standing up out of their seats. Well, all the members of both gangs enthusiastically and willingly stood to their feet…all except one!
And can you believe that the one who did not stand up to indicate that he agreed was actually my own dear son, Taswell Junior, who was a member of the Americans. Even though I was caught off guard and startled and surprised, I had to act swiftly! I knew that everyone would be watching my reaction. I then proceeded to handle the issue myself and I spoke to him harshly and after I reprimanded him, and only then did he stand up on his feet to indicate that he also agreed to peace.
Unfortunately after the conclusion of the peace mediations and at a time when Bonteheuwel enjoyed a period of relative quietness and peace, we experienced a major setback. One particular leader of one of the gangs were released from prison and because he was not present at any of the peace negotiations he made it very clear to his friends and his enemies that he did not support the peace agreement between his gang and the rival gang. He then subsequently broke the peace in Bonteheuwel by sending someone to shoot one of the rival gang members. That incident was a lesson to be learned by us as facilitators. So this time around those of us who are involved in this ministry of reconciliation needs to take heed that we do not forget the lessons of the past and by taking extra precautions to avoid those drawbacks, then we may enjoy a greater degree of success and effectiveness.
Sadly I must inform you that eleven young men that participated in the initial Peace Mediations were shot dead in the second wave of violence when one man decided to break the Peace Agreement! It truly broke my heart into pieces, because I spent a lot of time with these men during negotiations and there were many of them that were really tired and weary of the killings.
I feel another area that we failed to pay attention to was the field of unemployment, because when the killings decreased, robberies and stealing increased at a very unhealthy and unwelcome rate. We were still overjoyed with finally reaching a long awaited peace agreement that we totally forgot about “post-war” conditions in Bonteheuwel. You see, we have created a vacuum and now we needed to fill that vacuum. The Bible speaks of “feet that are quick to a run after evil”, we in effect, were leaving many gangsters with idle hands.
One more factor that I need to emphasize again is that in the years of 2000 to 2001 a lot of prayer, intercession and fasting was involved in the preparation of the Church’s interaction with the street gangs. I only moved when I received guidance from GOD’s Holy Spirit and therefore we enjoyed a relative measure of success, all to the glory and honour of GOD. I know perfectly well that when you embark on pulling down demonic strongholds then it is utterly impossible to lean on your own understanding. As a former gangster I had some insights into the mechanisms and mindsets of how gangsters think and many might think that my previous experiences may give me an advantage over my peers when mediating with the different groups. I will admit that it might have given me a slight edge because of my background, however human wisdom was low on the list when it came to important issues like these. Intercession and fasting, faith and total dependence on Jesus, the Prince of Peace brings positive results when Light meets Darkness.
I do not like to invite gang members for a lunch without already having met with them on one or more previous occasions before for serious discussion. I prefer first to meet with each group to establish a basis of trust and afterwards invite the rival groups to meet together with the ministers so that when we invite both gangs later to a luncheon, then they would at least have had some time previously communicating with their rivals in a controlled setting.
We do go and meet with one gang at a time, even in places that they perceive to be their ‘strongholds’, but usually during the initial stages. After that we will invite them to a church where the ministers will usually try to set the tone for the meeting; we never hold peace mediations at night or on school grounds…it’s too risky! At night-time there are far too much opportunities presented to gangsters to plot and plan ambushes against their opposition. This is one of many reasons why we deem it is wiser to facilitate peace meetings with groups during the day to counter these types of pitfalls.
When we meet seriously with gang members we do not invite the community, especially the mothers of those involved in the violence, because there are too many emotions that usually come to the fore and a lot of accusations and counter-accusations results in the meeting becoming unmanageable and chaotic.
Now in 2013 and after thirteen years I can safely say that I have gained some valuable experience in this ministry; this beautiful ministry towards gangsters, whose souls are so lost and the LORD Jesus has given me so much grace and also given me wisdom and insight into the mechanisms of the gangster lifestyle. So when I converse with these young men the Holy Spirit usually brings up all those things that have been hidden under the surface because these men will sometimes try to deceive you. In my experience I have learnt over the years that when you go to the one group they will always attempt to shift the blame on the other group and when you go to the second group they also will try to blame the first group, but I thank the LORD Jesus Christ for giving me a spirit that can discern between good and bad, right and wrong. I usually try to listen closely and I [TA1] try to “read” between the lines.
I never allow them to sabella (use prison language) in the presence of the pastors when we are in a meeting, but I gently guide them back to our mother tongue, because when they use their deceptive prison language they can easily release and activate demonic decrees. I also do not agree with pastors who use prison language or gangster slang just to attempt to “get down to their level”. I believe it is unwise and pure ignorance! When gangsters hear a pastor use their language they will very quickly jump at the opportunity to try and exploit you and they will try to divert your attention from the serious issues at hand. Even I as an ex-gangster who knows the language will not use it when I communicate with gangsters.
We mostly use churches for the peace talks, but also do use other buildings as venues. We use different locations to accommodate different gangs, because some groups feel uncomfortable to come to a venue where their rivals might be operating. We do have incidents where men were willing to come into rival territory for peace meetings, but then I would inform the leaders of the resident group to keep their members away from the immediate vicinity. This happens only in the initial stages when we are still meeting with one gang at a time.
When we do call a meeting I always advise the pastors to be very patient when waiting for them to arrive. I always remind the pastors that these gangsters do not operate on church time, but on underworld time. You could easily wait for 30—45 minutes before they saunter in like nothing is wrong. Sometimes you would set up a meeting and something might happen on the streets and nobody would pitch up. All you can do afterwards is just to contact the men again and reschedule the meeting.
This is an ongoing ministry because the guns are not silent yet and blood is still being spilled on the soil of South Africa.