5/22/10 Noel, about 22
I think I know a gangbanger when I see one, and the young man I talked to today (Noel) clearly fit the bill. He dressed the part, talked the part, and his friends were obviously running the streets too. I happened upon him on the sidewalk outside a store and he was clearly caught up in the everyday street drama, judging from his interactions with others while we talked. Yet Noel claims to be a Christian, having attended a local Pentecostal church as a kid and claiming faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of his sins and as the basis for his salvation. He was able to explain his faith in Christ more clearly than most churchgoers I have talked to, but although he says he has a positive relationship with his church, he no longer attends, saying "I need to work to take care of my (4) kids". However, he sure wasn't taking care of any kids or showing any sign of being responsible when I saw him. He last read his Bible a week ago. I tried to encourage him to in his faith and in daily Bible reading and regular church attendance which he seemed to truly appreciate, but in hindsight I think I should have talked more about repentance.