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Taking the city back with prayer

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 30 2013 04:51:41 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 30 2013 05:10:58 PM CDT

Prayer walk held in Allentown

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

This Easter weekend, one church is taking its sermon straight to the streets.  They're hoping to reach one person at a time.

To some, Ruben Soto is an unlikely man of God.

"I was a gang member for many years," he said.

But Saturday afternoon, he pounded the pavement in Allentown's most dangerous neighborhoods -- streets he used to run.

"I was mad at the world because I didn't have nothing," he said.

Today, Soto is outreach minister for Kingdom Life Church in Orefield, which marched down Seventh and Eighth streets for peace.

"We'll start at Seventh and Tilghman," said Mary Soto with the church.

It's only six people.

"We're not having a parade," said pastor tony Adamo.  "We're just walking down the street."

But then again, it only takes one person.  Just ask Ruben Soto.

"One person will make a difference," he said.

The group regularly counsels to those facing hard times in the inner city.

"Kids, gang members, prostitutes, even homeless," said Ruben.  "We work with all kinds."

It can be thankless work.  Many people pass them by, but sometimes, there group makes a real connection.

"Starting today -- and I just smoked my last cigarette.  I'm done with it," said one man.  "The alcohol I'm done with; the drugs I'm done with."

They're not just walking to be visible.  Kingdom Life's long-range goal is to create a community center that will actually help turn lives around.

"We want to call it the Rescue House," said Mary Soto.

Adamo added:  "We want to give out food, we want to give out clothes."

"Where we can have kids tutored," said Mary Soto.

Ruben said churches can only do so much.  He said the city and schools must give kids more after-school options to stoke their interests.

"When I was young, there was a lot of activities for the kids.  Now, everything is being taken away," he said.

The group began their walk with a humble prayer.  In a place looking for hope, prayer might just be the answer this Easter weekend.