A mother’s cry

We just had a shooting down the street. I was putting the kids down when our apartment was filled with the sound of gunfire. It was so loud and there were so many shots: more than I have ever heard here before. Aaron started to scream from his crib and I raced into his room to make sure that he was okay and to pick him up and comfort him. I was trying to keep Mercy in one place, away from the windows, but she was confused and scared and followed me to get Aaron.

When I got into the kids’ room, I saw my neighbor whose windows are feet away from ours race to hers and pull back her curtains. Then I heard the scream. One of my other neighbors from next door, a young single mom, came running out of the fourplex, screaming her nine-year old son’s name. She ran so fast and never stopped calling for him, and I saw her find him at the end of the street across from where the bullets flew. Before she got to him, she started screaming for him to run home, arms waving wildly in the air.

By now, the helicopters were close overhead, and the cruisers had come to the scene in what seemed like seconds. Everyone was coming out of their doors and onto the street, straining to see what was going on.

I found my cell phone and called our V2LA organizer. The group was at Papa Cristos for dinner, but they were scheduled to be arriving at the tutoring center any minute for their evening time of worship and teaching. The shooting took place just feet away from the center’s front door.

Doug is leading worship for a Los Angeles Urban Project (LAUP) event, so I am home alone. While grateful that my guests were not here for this, I keep having to fight back tears and I don’t want to be alone. I can’t shake the image of my neighbor running, and I keep hearing her scream her son’s name in my head. My kids are safe as is her son, but it is moments like this when the terror comes and it feels like more than I can bear.


  1. The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
    I will not, I will not desert to his foes; That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
    I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

  2. Erika, I am so terribly sorry for all of you, but thank you for having the remarkable composure to translate the experience into words. You do help validate why we can’t turn the other way and, increasingly, I am aware that those who don’t see truly don’t get it.

    I am up on my coast not able to sleep as I write this, and I will pray the rest of the night for God gently to wipe clean the sounds and the sights so you don’t have to remember — and the same for your children.

    Much love to you all tonight, even more than usual. Surely this is not more than we all can bear if we stick together, in His name.

  3. God of all,
    We lift up your children, your friends, your servants, Erika and Douglas, and Prince Aaron and Princess Mercy.

    We cry out for a peace that surpasses all human understanding in the midst of this chaos. We plead the blood of Jesus over their home…protect, preserve, comfort, restore. And out of this conflict, may your love rise as a gentle mist, covering their friends and neighbors.

    We come to you, for we have no where else to go. We come to you, for you have proven yourself to be a safe refuge in the past. We come to you now, O Lord, to find safety and protection for our souls in your loving embrace.

    We pray these things in the all-powerful name of our faithful Redeemer, Jesus Christ, the Righteous.

  4. Hello from Paris,
    I am a missionary to children with Child Evangelism Fellowship in Paris. I appreciate your insights and challenges to your readers. Thanks for sharing a bit of your life and ministry.I praise God for people like you who live out their faith in real ways.
    May God protect and bless your family,
    Holly Bloemhof

  5. Dear Erika and Doug,
    Take your children and leave LA for a while until this blows over. For all the lovely prayers said on your behalf, death is still real in this world and not one is too young to die. The fear you express is so real I can feel your heart racing as you held Aaron to quiet him. That mother running was a God given response to danger. Should you not, too, run?


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