There Must be Blood to Enter
Dear Family and friends,
My heart is heavy right now as I write this. Its 3:19 am and I can’t sleep because I can’t stop thinking about the 100 plus young men 2 blocks away gathered for the Crips (Main Gang in our area) initiation. Last night a highschool junior who lives in those projects and has come into the family of Jesus here at Safe Haven came to my door begging to spend the night. “At least two people are going to be getting killed tonight” he said, “and I don’t want to be one of them.” He is one of the few young men from those projects (Dubbed Cript head quarters here in Newark) who has not fallen into the gang and has no desire to be. Below on this email you can read more stories about our encounters with gangs here and the war we are waging to get these kids before the gangs get them. You will also be able to understand the title of this email…. Doesn’t that just entice you to read on and find out…. I am so tricky…
For now here is a Bullet point version of praises and some pressing needs our ministry is facing. Please take the time to read and pray for us and do what you feel led to do.
Praise – God is doing a mighty work! more kids than ever are showing up to church. We had over 60 kids and youth come to worship sunday. In the past it has been hard to get consistent sunday worship attendance. Things are changing and these last few months have been consistently growing. Some of their parents are coming too. 3 parents gave/recommitted their lives to Christ this past sunday. God is good. Also, more and more teens showing for youth group on Friday. Every Friday we have a ministry for teens called “Cross Over – Reverse the Curse.” The First Friday of the month we have a huge outreach (Bands, rappers, games, and food) and then each other Friday of the month we go on trips to other youth groups in the area. We have 4 college age/ young adult volunteer leaders who show up each week with me to help drive kids and hang with them. It has been awesome to see God work.
Need – WE NEED A VAN. it is time for a van. Lord help us get a van… 15 passengers are Illegal in Nj for transporting kids. We need a 12 passenger van ASAP. If God opens up any door for you to help with this please do help us. Donate online or mail, just designate it “Van fund.” We are praying to be able to get a van by next month… Join us in this campaign by praying and giving as you can.
Praise – Our Ministry received 3 years worth of 1-6 grade sunday school material donated from Great Commission Publications. (www.gcp.org) Curriculum is expensive and we didn’t know how we were going to afford it for all the kids. God knew. He provided and we are blown away. It is great stuff too. I encourage each person reading this to send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org and thank them for blessing this ministry.
Need – As we start Sunday school up we need prayer. It is going to explode this year, I feel it. So many kids. Pray for more volunteers. As more and more kids come we are going to need more adult volunteers to teach them God’s word. Pray for willing hearts to love and serve these kids and “jump them into the Kingdom gang.”
Praise – As many of you know we have been raising support for the last year. We haven’t been able to receive any financial compensation from Safe Haven till this past august when our approved a stipend of half of what my salary will be as soon as we raise it. It is a blessing to have some consistent income and we praise God for all of you who have given of your resources to empower us to lead this battle here. We have health insurance, a roof over our heads and a car and so much more. The Lord has truly blessed us with lots of little girl clothes for Trinity, they are cute and she is cute in them. Thank you for your support.
BIG NEED – we are only at 75% of what we need to meet ends meet, especially since our family is growing. We need consistent monthly supporters… Health insurance is the big killer here… so expensive. Now I see why almost everyone in our community is on medicaid… WOULD YOU PLEASE PRAY ABOUT BECOMING A MONTHLY CONTRIBUTOR TOWARD OUR SUPPORT ACCOUNT. $100, $50, $25, $10… a month…. whatever you are led to give. it all adds up. It is really easy to do too. Go to
our online donation page and sign up securely for monthly automatic recurring donations. Put Iverson in the memo box. Please pray about that. Every little bit counts. God continues to provide for our needs but the less time we spend raising support for our family needs the more time we are able to spend meeting the many needs of the community. If you want to send support by mail, our address is below. Make checks payable to Safe Haven and indicate that you want to be a monthly supporter.
Praise – 20 computers donated for computer lab! Yes God is amazing. we got 20 used Dells (Only 3 years old) donated from Delbarton School here in NJ. Our computer lab is more than supplied for. On top of that we have had 3 churches donate money for 3 brand new Macs for all the music recording, video editing and design stuff we are teaching. Pretty amazing. I’ll send pictures next time.
Praise – Guitar center is giving us all our musical needs at cost. That rocks!
Praise – We just started a gospel choir for 5th grade though adults.… I have ben praying for 3 years for this. God brought us a choir director and at our first practice 2 weeks ago we had over 30 show up. This past week we had 45! I am so excited about singing in it and seeing the way it will reach this community.
Praise – God brought us food. Our food pantry ministry to the poor has been running dry due to extreme increased need. It seems that through the wonderful efforts of the mayor to crack down on violence and the drug trade in Newark, many families that relied on the dealings of their now incarcerated head of households are short financial resources and in need of food. Suburban Churches from our denomintion and others have stepped up and in less than 5 days our shelves are now overflowing. It is going fast but coming in just as fast. God is good.
Need – There are so many needs in the inner cities of our country, yet there are so few churches being planted there and so few people who want to live there and/or attend church there. From the inside perspective I want to encourage you to get involved in an inner city/mercy ministry driven church near you. Even if you just drive in and attend they will be encouraged and you will be too. If you tithe, tithe to them. A few people with good jobs who tithe make a huge difference. Our monthly tithes don’t even pay our utilities…. . This last weeks tithes were only $138, but nearly everyone gave….Even the kids… And God multiplies. Empowering city center ministries has a huge Kingdom affect and helps us get out of our comfort zones.
Praise – Cool article about Safe Haven
Ok here are some more thoughts on the gang stuff going on and what we are doing to reach them. I encourage you to take the time to read this as it will really broaden the perspective of inner city life and what these kids go through.
The Crips are the main gang in this area responsible for the killings, drug distribution and every other crime you can imagine. They begin recruiting young boys as young as the age of 10 now and the way you become a member is by getting “jumped in.” (Usually when you are a teen) Your gang banging buddies basically beat you to a bloody pulp and then you are in. After that comes initiation which is one of the ceremonies going on tonight. new members are given a final test to show their loyalty to their gang family…. They need to spill blood. Usually this right of passage involves some random person or enemy of the gang getting shot, stabbed or seriously injured. Sometimes they are told they must kill x amount of people before moving up in the ranks… It is crazy. One of the things that is so interesting is that so many teens who are crips that I have become really good friends with (I ball with them frequently) don’t even want to be in the gang but are terrified to get out. Last Fall we had a key player coming to a our young Men’s Bible study. He came to Christ and started to experience the conviction and see the light and He wanted out. He knew that it might cost him his life. Exiting Gangs is harder then getting in. He has managed to get out and thanks to God’s grace and some good connections he is playing football for a college in upstate NY now. I am really so proud of the many young men in our ministry who are taking a stand and not following the road so many of their peers and childhood buddies have followed. Girls aren’t exempt. They have their little gangs too and are nearly as violent as the guys. Their gangs are focused a lot on sex and manipulation… so many of them enter into some form of prostitution before they are 15… Sad but true.
I find it also interesting that there must be blood to enter into the gang covenant relationship and the similarity there is to our covenant with God. In order for us to be apart of the Kingdom gang, blood had to be spilled for us to enter. But oh how different it is in the sense that the gang leader himself was the one who shed His own blood to make it possible for us to be a part of the greatest gang in history. An eternal gang that has a specific purpose to be used by God to heal the world instead of destroying it and spreading the disease of sin. It makes my heart ache for these young guys who are so desperately trying to justify their existence, trying so deserately to satisfy that deep heart need for acceptance into some kind of family… a deep need for some kind of affirmation and love. One huge player on the scene here, we’ll call him “K” has such a desire to get out. I met him last year at the high school alternative program and he showed me a recent bullet hole through his leg. We have had times where we have talked and as I looked this tough no joke gangster in the eyes he looked like he was about to cry. Sometimes I don’t know what to say and so just say “lets pray” and put my hand on his shoulder. Amazing, he always embraces it and even though he is too tough to say thank you, I know it means the world to him. Our conversations usually end with me saying “you can get out” and Him saying.” I can’t….” he has told me he wants to, he just feels so trapped.
So what do we do…. Lock them all up….? Force them to all be together in one location where all their enemies are forced to be as well. Jail is the worst thing for these young men. They need father figures, they need love. I can’t think of one out of the 40 plus young men in our ministry who have their actual birth father in their lives. not one…. how sad is that. Who are the men who are teaching this next generation how to be men? 50 cent, Soljur boy, other rappers, older gang members…. They are doing a great job showing them what it means to be a man (according to their standard.) How is the Church in the U.S. doing? We are failing. I think we have forgotten what our gang leader did to save us, and instead of being willing to do the same to help bring others to the Father, we relax in the comfort of our religion. If a Crip member had the complacency of most Christians, they would probably get “taken out.” Being in a gang means action, you don’t sit still. God has really been showing me that, especially in my prayer life. Last week He really brought me to conviction about how little I pray specifically for these 100 plus kids and teens that he has brought into our ministry here, I am seeing that the way I “jump them in” is by praying. I am asking you to do the same. Please pray for each precious soul that God allows us to encounter and share His amazing love with. There is so much to tell and I already have written far more then intended… If you want to read more about what is happening you can go to our
We love you all and praise the living God that has blessed us with so many friends and such a wonderful supportive family. We couldn’t be doing what we are doing without you, God is using you to build His Kingdom here in Newark through us and we pray that you feel as blessed as we are to participate in showing the amazing healing grace of our Savior to this broken world.
For the King and the Kingdom,
The Newark Iverson Clan
483 Ferry street
Newark, NJ 07105
Danny’s Cell: 862-215-2940
Kimberly’ cell: 862-452-8688
Daniel Josiah’s Cell: 1-800-terrible-twos
Trinity’s cell: 1-800-change-my-diaper