"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

The 10th Anniversary of Forgotten Ministries, Enid

Ten years ago, I made a request of Jeremiah and Sarah Herrian.

"Come to Enid, Oklahoma," I said, "And help us do our county what you've been doing in Los Angeles."

At first this young couple was confused. Jeremiah and Sarah were operating their base of ministry on Skid Row in Los Angeles. The homeless man portrayed by Jamie Foxx in the film The Soloist, was a product of their ministry.

"Surely," they said, "there can't be the kind of poverty, homelessness, drug addiction, and ministry that we see on a daily basis in Los Angeles in Oklahoma."

Jeremiah Herrian speaking at Forgotten Ministries banquet
Jeremiah and Sarah led people from our church and our city on a "Walk Across Oklahoma" that summer, with Jeremiah carrying a cross. When that summer walk was finished, Jeremiah told me he was shocked at what he saw. "The same issues we face in Los Angeles are present in Enid and throughout Oklahoma. They're just underneath the surface and hidden from public view."

That was 10 years ago. Jeremiah and Sarah moved to Enid.

Dedication of Women's Shelter, Refuge at the Well
Forgotten Ministries was born.

Over the course of these past 10 years, Forgotten Ministries has opened a homeless shelter (Mercy House), a men's transitional house (Oasis), the 580 Coffee House (downtown), a women's transitional house (Refuge at the Well), a garden where men and women work to provide food for the shelter, various ministries to the Pacific Islanders in our county (especially children), a massive clothes closet for those in need, and has sponsored neighborhood clean-ups throughout the city.  The people mostly "forgotten" in the city of Enid have been ministered to by Forgotten Ministries on a daily basis. It's been fascinating to see all that God is doing through FM. Mission teams from all over the nation come for training and ministry under the leadership of Jeremiah and Sarah Herrian and their amazing staff.

Pacific Island ministry at Forgotten Ministres
Sunday night Jeremiah told a story that I think epitomizes the Lord's blessings on the Herrians’ ministry to the Forgotten in Los Angeles and Enid.

Francis Chan, a Los Angeles pastor, would often come and minister with Jeremiah on Skid Row. Jeremiah would often preach the gospel on the streets while offering food, clothing, and ministry to the poor and homeless.

"Every day, as I proclaimed Jesus, a fierce looking, clean-cut body builder would stare at me. He was the major drug dealer on Skid Row, watching to make sure that all the dealers under him weren't cheating him as they made deals. I'd be preaching and seeing drug deals occurring all around me. The drug dealer in charge never took his eyes off me. It was very intimidating."

Becca and the PI kids at FM
Francis Chan observed Jeremiah at work in Los Angeles on many occasions. One day, he called Jeremiah and said, "Listen, Jeremiah, the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers are friends of mine. They want to go down to Skid Row and help you minister to people today."

Jeremiah, having never met the two men, told Francis that they needed to be warned that it wasn't always safe on Skid Row. Francis said he would tell them and that they would meet Jeremiah at a time and place they designated.

On the appointed occasion, Jeremiah met the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Clippers and reiterated what he'd said to Francis as the men walked to Skid Row. "Listen guys," Jeremiah said, "we're going down to Skid Row to do some ministry. You'll see drug deals, assaults, and other crimes. It can get scary, but we are here to preach Jesus."

At that moment, a drug addict who'd heard Jeremiah preach in the days preceding, stepped in front of the men and said to Jeremiah, "If you preach that *&%* today I'll break this beer bottle and slit your " *&%* throat."

After the threatening man walked away, Jeremiah said he turned to face the owners of the Dodgers and the Clippers. "Their faces were drained of blood and their eyes were wide open. I told them that we came to preach Jesus and Jesus would protect us."

Work of Forgotten Ministries on Pacific Island Building
When they arrived at the designated place on Skid Row, after ministering to the people, handing out food and clothes, Jeremiah stood up on a box to begin preaching Christ. True to his word, the drug addict walked up to Jeremiah, broke the beer bottle in his hand, and made his move to cut Jeremiah's throat.

"I thought to myself," Jeremiah said, "Lord, I guess it's time for me to come home to You."

All of the sudden, that clean-cut body builder in charge of Skid Row drug deals, the man who'd been staring down Jeremiah every day that Jeremiah preached the Gospel, suddenly appeared. He looked the drug addict with the broken bottle in the eye and menacingly said, "If you touch Jeremiah, you're a dead man." The man dropped the bottle and walked away.

"I looked over at the owners of the Clippers and the Dodgers and their mouths were open. On their first day on Skid Row, they saw both the danger and the deliverance. Jesus cares for His own."

That story illustrates to me the hand of God on Forgotten Ministries.


Jesus is taking care of His own.

Happy 10th Anniversary, Jeremiah and Sarah. We look forward to the next decade of ministry in Enid!

6 comments:

Victorious said...

The homeless man portrayed by Jamie Fox in the film The Soloist, was a product of their ministry.

I saw "The Soloist" on HBO in Oct. 2017 and it blessed me so that I wrote a short synopsis of it in my "journal."

(from my notes)... At the end of the movie, Steve Lopez makes a profound statement that I loved. He said he realized that...

"A simple act like being someone's friend can change the chemistry in the brain and improve his functioning in the world" (according to mental health experts)

God bless you, Jeremiah and Sarah, and the work you do in your ministry!

Mary Ann

Victorious said...

P.S. Just remembered that while I was impressed with the "movie" I saw, I didn't realize it was based on a true story until I did a little research. That's when I was so amazed that I had to write about it for future reference and inspiration.

Again, blessings to Jeremiah and Sarah!

Wade Burleson said...

That's cool, Victorious! Thank you for sharing!

Christiane said...

"Jesus cares for His own"

AMEN, AMEN, AMEN

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

GREAT STORY

“I thought to myself,” Jeremiah said, “Lord, I guess it’s time for me to come home to You.”

That reminds me when my uncle, Rex Ray and about six others had been captured by bandits in China. After many weeks and no ransom came, one of the captives overheard the bandits talking. He told my uncle, “I think tomorrow we’ll be with Jesus.”

RB Kuter said...

Praise God for His church! I believe that we, the church, will be called on more and more to minister to the broken world surrounding us as never before imagined.