How a former Bloods gang member is leading people to Christ

Article By: Nicole Alcindor, CP Reporter

Staying out all night partying, doing drugs, consuming alcohol, fighting, engaging in gun violence and stealing are some of the adolescent experiences Rev. Derek LaFleur wishes he never had.

Twenty-five years ago while growing up in Beaumont, Texas, LaFleur was an active member of the Bloods, a street gang with primarily African American members founded in Los Angeles, California. The gang is widely known for its rivalry with the Crips, another California-based street gang that’s also had a presence in Southeast, Texas.

But decades later, LaFleur is a devoted follower of Jesus who has used his experiences to disciple and lead other former gang members to Jesus.

Today, LaFleur serves as an ordained deliverance minister at Oklahoma City-based Authority Church. Not a day goes by where he doesn’t reflect on what the Lord did for him.

Growing up in the late 1990s, the community LaFleur lived in had high levels of crime and violence. It wasn’t unusual for youth to join gangs in the neighborhood.

One of four children in his family, LaFleur told The Christian Post in an interview that he has primarily happy memories from his childhood mainly due to his close-knit, loving family. His mother and father were happily married and loved him.

Initially, LaFleur was raised in a nonreligious Catholic household. But during his youth, his parents rediscovered their faith in more intimate ways at Paradise Baptist Church. His parents taught him the foundational importance of maintaining the Christian faith.

LaFleur’s father became more devout and created a rule for all the children in the household: “If you’re going to live under my roof, you must attend church.”

LaFleur obeyed that rule because he loved his father and wanted to be around him.

Things took a turn for the worse after his parents divorced when he was in the fifth grade. LaFleur said he felt a great sense of rejection from his mother as she moved out of the family’s home. In the following years, LaFleur would still see his mother but mostly lived with his father.

“The divorce is when my anger started. I joined the gang at 9 because I was just trying to fit in and trying to feel that love and support,” LaFleur said.

“I mean, I’m not saying that my family did not love me at all. I just wanted to feel welcomed somewhere else.”

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