Taking Back Our Streets: Treasures in the Darkness
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Praise Temple Full Gospel Baptist Cathedral pastor Bishop L. Lawrence Brandon is known for giving back and helping others.
He's provided back packs and school supplies and even paid college students' tuition.
But a personal tragedy nine years ago almost caused him to walk away from the ministry.
Now after writing a book about the murder of his son, he's using his personal pain to help others.
Brandon says his son's death really hit him hard.
Larry Brandon III was killed in 2009 in California.
But Bishop Brandon says he has moved personal pain to public victory.
"The Lord spoke to my spirit, and I went to Scripture and Psalm 61:1-2. And it says when the heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
"And that's when I said the devil took my child and I am going to his kingdom and going to free everyone I can that is under his grasp to bring those precious people out, especially boys."
After his son's murder, Bishop Brandon wrote "Treasures in the Darkness: Letting Go of Pain, Holding onto Faith."
The 208-page book was a form of therapy to help through the grieving.
As president of Northwest Louisiana Community Development Corp., Bishop Brandon says he found a hidden treasure, a former nursing home building that he helped turn into a transitional home for boys.
"I am almost sure we wouldn't have this center today if I didn't go through that tragedy."
His vision came to reality in January 2017, when the home was licensed to hold 85 boys.
The L.L. Brandon III Transitional Home for Boys is named after his late son.
Bishop Brandon says it is needless to build another juvenile prison.
"Let's improve our schools and let's dump money into centers like this."
A handful of boys from throughout Louisiana live at the facility.
The center offers shelter, three meals a day, snacks, activities and, most of all, love.
"When they first come in, some of them are very frazzled," Bishop Brandon says. "Many have really been beaten up by society. And then there are some who come in with self-inflicted wounds."
He's seen the boys grow over time. They have overcome challenges together and are rising together from dark periods to finally seeing the light.
The goal is to ensure the boys transition into gentlemen.
"That's our goal, to take back our streets. And how do we do it? First and foremost, through our boys. Later, we will open up a center for girls. But our boys, they are protectors of the family. If we don't have our boys becoming men, what will we have in our community?"
Bishop Brandon says it takes the community to take back the streets.
He says we have to embrace those who are lost and encourage them to make a change.
He says that anyone is one decision away from making a bad decision.
He also says it is important not too look down on someone's situation.
"That prostitute is someone's daughter. And that gentleman on drugs, that is someone's son. It could have been me.
"I don't look down because there are some people who have their noses so high in the air if it rained, it would drown.
Bishop Brandon's church is trying to make the community better.
He says the congregation is involved in different programs to help give back. Those programs include Holiness in the Hood and Praise in the Park.
You can help change lives too by giving to Northwest Louisiana Community Development by calling (318) 631-4428 or sending donations by mail to:
Northwest Louisiana Community Development Corp. P.O. Box 37314 Shreveport, LA 71133
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