The Fatherless Generation

by | Aug 1, 2009 | Evangelism

Charisma went to the streets to report on Christians who are using innovative ways to make Jesus real to atheists. This article shares the story of Clayton Golliher, who found his mission field among the homeless teenagers of Los Angeles.

It’s 11:30 p.m. and a Hope for Homeless Youth (HHY) ministry team gathers on Hollywood’s teeming Walk of Fame for its regular Friday outreach. They’ll pass out food and ministry information, witness to hundreds, and invite each young person to return and enter their one-year discipleship program. As usual, Director Clayton Golliher will sleep in a nearby parking lot, his sleeping bag a few feet from several dozen homeless youth.

“They’re a product of the breakup of the American family,” he says. “More of them are throwaway than runaway. Some love the freedom, but most have been abused and rejected.”

Experts estimate 1.5 million youth live on our nation’s streets; each year 5,000 will die of suicide, homicide and accidental drug overdose, and at least 40 percent are not wanted at home. One in four will visit Hollywood.

Golliher says they are prime targets for drug dealers, pimps, porno filmmakers and gang leaders. They hang in “families” as dysfunctional as the ones nearly all of them left. They often rotate “turning a trick” (male and female) to buy the group a one-night motel room.

Based at the Los Angeles Dream Center, HHY operates as a separate nonprofit and houses up to 50 single men and women, including Christian youth in its intern program. Young people up to 25 years old need only show up to gain three days’ emergency shelter.

Xocia Martinez, 20, is a former homeless “cutter.” When Martinez was an infant, her mother left; but when she was 16 her father remarried, problems arose, and Martinez went to live with her mother. She began using and selling drugs and became promiscuous. Depressed, she says she tried to overdose, and when that failed she used razors to slice her arms and legs.

“Cutting myself was a form of suicide,” she says, showing the scars. “Cutting was a way I could control all the pain I felt. It was better than any drug. I loved to see my blood run and drop to the floor.”

Two days after she arrived at HHY she accepted Christ as Savior and today receives personal counseling, attends five Bible studies and chapel services weekly, takes parts in outreaches, and works in the ministry’s office. She plans to attend ministry school and start a home for abused girls.

Sadly, many homeless youth prefer to remain on the streets. During a weekly HHY feeding in a Santa Monica Park, Gina, 23, eats a cheeseburger and talks. At age 13, with her father in jail and her mother dealing and using drugs, she hit the streets. She says she has been raped three times, twice on the streets and once at age 5.

“My own body was taken away from me. It changed my life forever,” she says.

She says her 6-year-old son lives with his father’s family in Vermont. “I carry around stuffed animals just to remind me of him,” she says. When offered emergency shelter and a bus ticket to Vermont, she says her new “husband” won’t join her. Instead, she plans to go to Tempe, Arizona—another homeless-youth enclave—and buy a house so her son can come there.

“I’m really not different because I live on the streets,” she insists. “I just have to work harder to survive.” Still, she takes a ministry card.

Golliher says homeless youth will call, sometimes in the middle of the night, after being robbed, beaten or raped. He always goes if it means getting one into his shelter.

The next day Golliher rises at 7 a.m., feeds a half-dozen youth in McDonald’s and visits the courtyard of a nearby Catholic Church. Some 40 people sit on folding chairs, waiting for food and showers. Golliher walks to the front with 17-year-old disciple Koby Bustillos.

Koby tells how his dad is in jail and his mother’s whereabouts are unknown. Both of them dealt the meth they were addicted to.

At 14 he was hooked and dealing. He lifts his shirt to show scars from a near-fatal stabbing.

Koby says that after enrolling at HHY he begged his best friend to join him. He didn’t, and two weeks later the 16-year-old was shot to death in a drive-by.

“I would have been with him if I wasn’t here,” he told the group. “And I love doing what I do now because it’s what Jesus wants. I plan to always be a man of God.”

It’s 10:30 a.m. and the team goes home. Golliher’s day will end after the afternoon services in two resident programs for parolees. Another team will be back in Hollywood Saturday night at midnight to give roses to transsexual prostitutes.

For the Hollywood outreach, Golliher records eight conversions. None of the eight people come back with him. He isn’t deterred.

“You know,” he says grinning, “I feel the presence of Jesus Christ more at night on the streets than Ido in the best of church services.”


Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


Shining the Light of Jesus in Hollywood’s Darkness

Shining the Light of Jesus in Hollywood’s Darkness

Read Time: 3 Minutes 37 Seconds Most made-for-TV Christmas movies are like eggnog and sugar cookies—way too sweet, yet extremely addictive for a lot of viewers. But these Hallmark-style movies—the ones with predictable love stories that always end with jingling bells...

Prophecy: Goodness Is Following You, Turn and See

Prophecy: Goodness Is Following You, Turn and See

Read Time: 1 Minute 51 Seconds At a recent gathering where a member was struggling, I heard and declared by the Spirit of the Lord, “Goodness is following you, TURN and see; embrace His goodness in this moment and watch the shift!” There was an immediate shift and...

Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: You Came From God

Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: You Came From God

Read Time: 2 Minutes 25 Seconds If you search the phrase, “where does life come from?” the first explanation reads: “The origin of life is a result of a supernatural event—and readily arises from nonliving matter in short periods of time, today as in the past.” The...

Raise Your Praise!

Raise Your Praise!

These are the days that may leave you feeling defeated. You may be wondering when these present trials will end or how can you strengthen your faith for the battle as you wrestle against powers and principalities that come against you, in addition to the challenges...

7 Elements Needed for Revival That Will Usher in Reformation

7 Elements Needed for Revival That Will Usher in Reformation

Read Time: 1 Minute 9 Seconds What will turn the nations around? What will restore the world to sanity? There have been revivals from Old Testament times up through the year 2000. Today we need both a revival and a reformation. Here are 7 elements needed to usher in...

Messianic Rabbi: The Blessing of Esau Brings Freedom

Messianic Rabbi: The Blessing of Esau Brings Freedom

Read Time: 4 Minutes 55 Seconds Growing up in synagogue, I was taught about the heroes of the Bible: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon and Samson. When I became a believer in Yeshua, the writings of the New Testament new heroes were added to the...


Mario Murillo: An Era of Mass Soul Winning Has Begun

Read Time: 4 Minutes, 27 Seconds From the very first tent stake we drove into California soil, until now, there has only been one dream. And, after two years, that dream came true in Roseville....
God’s Strategy for His End-Times Church

God’s Strategy for His End-Times Church

Read Time: 2 Minutes 23 Seconds In this webinar, Grant Berry discussed the strategy the Lord is releasing for His end-time plans to reform His Ekklesia/church. God is revealing different focuses of this strategy to various parts of the body, especially as it relates...

How You Can Flow in the River of Living Water

How You Can Flow in the River of Living Water

Read Time: 5 Minutes, 2 Seconds A river is a source of life. As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual. Jesus told His disciples that if we believe in Him, "rivers of living water" will flow out from within us, from our hearts. "Anyone who believes in me may...

Cindy Jacobs Prophesies: Trust That He is There

Cindy Jacobs Prophesies: Trust That He is There

Read Time: 2 Minutes 42 Seconds It’s very interesting how the Holy Spirit will use things that you’re going through to not only prophesy to you, but also to prophesy over the body of Christ. In listening to other people and hearing what’s been coming out of their...

Have We Departed From the  Simplicity of Christ?

Have We Departed From the Simplicity of Christ?

Recently I heard a pastor say the following: "When I was pastoring and saw little fruit, I began to call those with potential to reach others for Christ to our home and to mentor them one on one. That's where massive growth happened in the people." Local pastors and...

Pin It on Pinterest