Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My Friend Keith "Fritter" Peters Jr. RIP Gangs Kill

As I write this I sit in a nice cozy chair next to a fire place. I sit in a large home that will hopefully be full with boys who have come from tough backgrounds needing a lift up and a helping, loving hand in the very near future. The agency I am blessed to be a part of for the moment is Youth Horizons. I am blessed because the wonderful organization which I can support, has also blessed me. For 3 or 4 nights a week, normally 3, I will be here caring for the boys, while at the same time getting paid to do my work for The Virtual Pew. For at least 6-7 hours at a pop during each shift I will be able to do some work for The Virtual Pew. That does two things for me, it gives me a reminder of the people The Virtual Pew is here to minister to, plus it provides a unique way for my family, and ministry to get additional funds to support our ministry. I won’t be getting rich, in fact, I will draw a salary of $375 per week before taxes which comes from a combination of income from The Virtual Pew and Youth Horizons. The rest of the income will go to The Virtual Pew to provide ministry needs to those we come into contact with. The prayer and hope is that we will still someday have enough income from donations, writing, speaking and so forth to allow me to do the work of The Virtual Pew full-time.

Tonight is a reminder of that The Virtual Pew provides ministry to. Just after leaving the house to come in tonight I received a phone call from a dear friend and former elder of the church I was pastor at before it closed down. He had read that one of our former youth at the church was killed while trying to break up a fight amongst neighbors who were involved in a gang dispute. This young man was not a part of the gang, but was trying to be a Good Samaritan. While I no longer pastor the church, I still provide ministry to many who were a part of that church, and numerous others I come into contact with either face to face or over the internet. Tonight for example, I have already been involved in one to one conversations with 5 people. It is normally much more than that, but it is late night as I write this.

I struggle knowing that many within the “traditional” church don’t see value in ministries like The Virtual Pew, or in the work we have done. It is easy to turn a closed eye to those needing love, support, and a helping hand. Sometimes I realize I have been blessed to be a part of the hand that God chooses to use to reach The Lost, The Last, and The Least. Then there are other times, I realize there is much work to be done, and little help, whether practical physical, spiritual, or even financial. I realize it when I hear about a young man God blessed me with to know and speak to about his relationship with the Lord. This young man died way too young. I have to wonder, was his love for Christ, his love for people what drove him to try and break up a gang fight? I have to wonder, what was the cost of his faith? I think it was these things, his faith, and his love for others that caused him to get involved. That is sad, it is sad because some live life as if nothing else outside of their immediate situation matters, it is sad because in reality, it does matter.

I have to be honest, since the church closed down, about a year and a half ago now, I hadn’t seen this young man more than a couple of times. I was always blessed to hear a joyful, “Hey Pastor Mike” from him as I received a big hug. I was just talking to my wife about him last week, wondering how he was doing, realizing I needed to see him. It is too late now; I won’t see him again until I get to Heaven. I can hope though, I can hope and pray that God will give me more opportunity to see more, influence more, disciple more young men and troubled individuals from the circles I call The Lost, The Last, and The Least. I can pray and hope that I can do better, overlooking the people and things that get in the way, overlook them to better provide a servants heart that God desires us all to show. I only hope that along the way, I can do the things I need to do. It is one of the things that make your support of this ministry, whether in prayer or finance so important. The people God has blessed me to get to know, aren’t just names in a newspaper article, they are faces, voices, hands, and friends. I am the one that is blessed, in situations like tonight, I cry and shed tears for a young man I loved and cared for.

In closing I have to say something else though about some of those who call the church family, but keep to their own circles, forgetting or not caring about those who have been a part of touching lives. I mention this because there are those who knew about this young mans death and didn’t bother to let me, and/or a whole host of others who loved this kid about his death. To those individuals, I would say, let the Jesus you say you love, show through your life. I will admit, there is some anger now, anger towards some who call themselves brother and sister. I am not the only one who didn’t find out about this death too late, I have spoken to several who had no idea, who were a part of giving love, passion, money and support to see this young man have a chance, yet others who knew that didn’t bother to share this tragedy.

I guess sometimes people expect Christians to never get angry, never get hurt, and never feel passion. I live in the real world, see real people, and continue to try and serve them in such a way as to see a real difference in lives. It is one of the things this ministry has done, and will continue to do. It is one of those things that continue to show me, the church, and those who call themselves Christian are still fallible. May we all be held to a higher standard of love, not just for those who have died, but for those who continue to live.

Tonight, or whenever you read this, I ask you to say a prayer, say a prayer that will call to an end the tragedy perpetuated upon the streets of America we call gang violence. Pray a prayer of thanks for a young man called Fritter that he will have not died in vain. Say a prayer of thanks that he came to know the Lord. Pray that I can have the strength to forgive those who knew, but didn’t bother to let me and others who loved this young man know. Pray a prayer of concern, not just for Wichita which is riddled with gang violence, but for every city in America that faces these issues. Then I ask you to pray a prayer that will allow the church to provide the love, family, and companionship that so many gang members seek, thrive for, and seek after. How do I know, because I was one of those people, I know there is a redeemer, and I know he is the only one who can provide the answers to all of those things I just asked you to pray for.

Keith "Fritter" Peters Jr.
A Child of God
Killed by Sensless Gang Violence
Fritter loved Kj-5-2. Here is one of the songs he loved, I know because I sat in my office with him listening and playing around with it.


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Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you didn't hear about this sooner. This was all over the news in both print and television for days surrounding the incident, plus once they caught the guy that shot him.

Mike Furches & The Virtual Pew said...

A few things, a lot of people don't watch television much, including believe it or not, me. The other thing is, I have spoken with at least 15 of our former church members, all who live in the area, and another 6 out of the area, that did not know about this either. I could go into detail as to who did know, and it is obvious from the tribute pages out there that at least some of the former church members did know. I could say a lot more about that, but don't think a public forum and discussion is the place for that.