As Ferguson and the entire nation await the grand jury’s verdict regarding Officer Darren Wilson and the shooting of Michael Brown, threats of violent behavior, arson, and murder abound.
Governor Jay Nixon activated the Missouri National Guard by executive order on November 17 and told citizens violence will not be tolerated. Opinion and speculation run rampant. Gun sales have increased exponentially as fearful citizens prepare to protect themselves and their property if necessary.
In the midst of chaos, prayer and worship throughout Ferguson have helped to dissipate tensions and bring peace. Churches have donated food, water, and more than 3,000 backpacks for schoolchildren in Ferguson. The city’s law enforcement received so many donations in September alone that they ran out of storage room.
During October, prayer and worship were held twelve hours a day in a tent in the middle of Ferguson. Teams also went into the streets to minister to citizens, and 50 people made a decision to follow Jesus.
Protests have broken up instead of becoming dangerous as worshippers join the crowd. In one case, the Highway Patrol was monitoring a rioting crowd. When the worship began, the crowd began to disperse. Former rioters were heard saying things like “This isn’t fun anymore” and “I’m going home,” while others in the crowd joined the worship.
The City of Ferguson has thanked the “Jesus People” for their work, saying, “We don’t know what you’re doing, but when you do it the atmosphere changes…thank you!” The Missouri Highway Patrol also thanked the Christians and added, “Many of our officers were singing with you as you moved between them and the protestors.”