Danny’s Story and Birthday Request
Well… I’m getting old. It’s official. And I have a few thoughts to share today as I turn 44 and I have a birthday favor to ask of our friends and family. But first let me tell you a story from a few weeks ago…
I followed the trail of blood up the steps into the hallway and looked at the dying gunshot victim lying there. 5 minutes earlier our worship team had been setting up sound gear in the parking lot of a local extended stay where we are doing ministry and launching an after school program. This hotel has 149 rooms that are always filled with families and many individuals in dire need. We have been serving in this place for over a year. Food, clothing, prayer and helping people get stable housing. On this day, as the burgers and hotdog smoked in the grill and the band sound checked, multiple gun shots rang out and we all took cover.
The Holy Spirit made it clear to me someone was about to die after this shooting and I needed to be with them and pray over them as they left this life. My partner Nosakhere (217) went with me, and we entered the area where the gun shots were and saw the blood trail down the hall. One victim was sitting up being held by his girlfriend who had a shirt on his chest stopping the bleeding, and we both started praying for him. The ambulance had been called and was on the way. Down the hall another man lay on the ground and people were yelling “Pastor, come pray for him…” I rushed over to him, a 35 year old resident of the hotel named KG who was lying there bleeding out from multiple wounds. As I wept over him and prayed and spoke to him of the glorious hope found in Christ even in the midst of such a death in this fallen broken world, his eye lids fluttered and for a brief moment I looked into his eyes. I got a sense he was with the LORD… That somehow the God of all mercy who brings eternal life and resurrection was there in that hallway, even in the midst of all the poverty and violence and pain the residents of this hotel are experiencing. Jesus was there… weeping with us and calling for redemption and ultimate healing… KG had stopped breathing…
He was gone from this world. I didn’t need a confirmation. I already felt it. The back of his head had a gaping gunshot wound and he had lost more blood than I have ever witnessed. A cop who had just arrived asked me to step away, and I did, as they attempted CPR. But he was gone from this life of pain… Life is indeed but a midst, and before my eyes another life had just passed from this one and into the next… my heart was full of all types of emotions as I wiped my tears and looked up at the many neighbors gathered around. Many of them knew KG and were weeping uncontrollably. The officers there put a white sheet over him as wails echoed through the hallways from those watching who loved him… More police arrived and cleared everyone away from the crime scene. I went back down to the parking lot and our outreach team of about 12 people gathered together and we prayed… That was all we could do.
As we prayed, The Spirit made it clear we were supposed to be there that day… and faith in God’s plan and mission drove out any fear and everyone stayed to be a part of ministering to this community of people we have come to love as we have shared life and served.
Chris and Natalie, our worship leaders, started singing worship, and as the piano played and our son DJ played his drums, and the soft melodies and harmonies of lament, peace and hope resounded over the chaos of the violence that had just occurred, we invited people to come down to the parking lot to pray. Many did… Lashone continued his work on the grill and had the food ready in no time… and before we knew it almost everyone in the hotel was fed as we continued to pray and sing over the place for about an hour. KG’s parents had arrived and were at the bottom of the stairs waiting for the coroner to bring his body down to the awaiting transport… The music continued and in the midst of the tears, pockets of prayer and conversation continued in the parking lot.
After they drove off with KG, I prayed and spoke with his Father. He told me that KG did indeed know the LORD… I saw hope in the tear stained eyes of a father who had just lost his son.
The owners of the hotel have given us three connected rooms on site (free of charge) in the back of the hotel and we are launching The Safe Haven Program. We are finishing up the renovations now and will have a food pantry for the community, a gathering room for after school tutoring, counseling, bibles studies and prayer groups… and of course… we are building another studio to expand the music/art mentorship programs we have always done the last 18 years of doing this type of ministry.
We are hopeful for revival and longing for Jesus to show his power and presence and bring peace in this place and rescue these precious people, our fellow image bearers of God, out of the oppression of the enemy over their lives. As Safe Haven launches it’s pilot program today (S.H.A.C), my prayer is that you will consider joining us as we join Jesus in shining light and hope into this place and seeking shalom… We can’t do this alone. We need your prayers and support. There are 4 other extended stay hotels along memorial avenue filled with families displaced by gentrification of the city and homeless. (Many I have met are from the Bankhead community where we moved from)
You can read the vision document I developed for this new program Here and my birthday wish is that you would consider supporting this program or our family.
I’d love for friends and family to take advantage of the 100 Fold Blessing matching donations for recurring donors and sign up to support our family on its mission or support the new Safe Haven Program we are launching. A lot has been going on as we expand the ministry into Stone Mountain… We need your prayers and support.
As many of you know, I am Tri-Vocaitional. I am Restore Life’s CEO, Grace Shalom’s lead pastor, and a few years ago I started a small consulting/construction company called “Ivertech” to help supplement our family’s income and not be a burden to the ministry. It’s a great side hustle but it takes a lot of time away from the ministry, and I feel it is time to really focus on getting this new program up and running in 2022.
We have been raising support from family and friends who believe in our mission, to help support our family’s living expenses so resources from grants and ministry fundraisers can go toward the various ministries of mercy and justice and pay our local staff. Our support account is in need of some revival right now…
We are so grateful for all our supporters! Some of you have been supporting this expanding family on mission for nearly 17 years, and we have been blown away by God’s faithfulness in providing for our family needs. During the pandemic we have understandably lost some monthly supporters as hard times fell on many, but we are hoping through this generous matching donation to be able to grow our monthly support giving up to par for 2022.
Here’s how it works. Every recurring donor who signs up between now and the end of the year to support our family or any of the ministries of Restore Life will get their gift matched for the year until the matching grant of $100,000 is matched. Current supporters can up their giving and get that portion matched as well. We have about a $2,000/month shortfall in monthly gifts right now, so if we added $1000/month from various friends and family members supporting us monthly ($500, $200, $100, $50/month), we can tap into the matching funds and see our support account get back on track for 2022.
I’d love to go into 2022 with our family finances/needs secure and the resources for launching The Safe Haven Program in place.
Will you help us?
We are praying for a total of $2000/month in recurring donations for our family support. Support our family here
We are praying and hoping to raise $100,000 to go toward the Safe Haven Program pilot (November and December) and operations for 2022. Go here to learn more and give. Remember it is matched! your gift doubles.
Please pray about joining in one or both of these giving opportunities. Feel free to email or call me if you want to learn more.