“Our mission statement is trust God, be humble and show love,” Mo Peraza told the DuBois County Free Press.
Peraza was born in El Salvador and grew up in South Central Los Angeles before moving to small-town Indiana. As a teen, he started selling drugs, which was the “beginning of a downward struggle.” He hung out with the wrong crowd, bounced from job to job, was arrested a couple of times, but tried to straighten out his life. He moved around before ending up back in Indiana with his girlfriend and children—but things weren’t working out.
The Free Press reported Peraza had been in the midst of planning a robbery but ultimately was unable to move forward with his plans due to transportation problems. During this time, he argued with his father . . . but then his father came to his house to apologize. (Peraza felt his father had criticized him, but then his father humbled himself by apologizing, which had never happened before.)
The father tried to encourage his son and told him about the Christian Church of Jasper (as Redemption was then known). A few days later, Peraza’s father called and had a long discussion with his son, again suggesting he go to the church in Jasper.
The next Sunday, Peraza found himself entering the church. He almost immediately turned around to leave—but was stopped by a greeter, who grabbed his arm and led him into the building.
“We’re not going to lose you, brother,” the greeter told him.
At that service, Peraza heard a sermon by former associate minister Mark Messmore. Initially, Peraza was incensed by the sermon, which he perceived as pointedly addressing him personally. He approached Messmore and spoke with him afterward, and that was a key element of how Peraza came to Christ.
“I had led people down the wrong path all my life, and I wanted to start leading others and planting seeds for Him,” Peraza told the newspaper.
He began serving in Kairos Prison Ministry and at Christian retreats but felt called to do more.
He started L4G to be the hands and feet of God by spreading Christ’s love in Indiana neighborhoods. The growing group’s activities include donating to the homeless, praying with people, and serving in shelters, among many others.
“We will go into a community and provide whatever is needed,” Peraza told the paper. “Whether it is yard work, mentoring, whatever it is. We have someone that can do it.”
“I know there are callings to go on missions to other countries and other states, but I feel I am being called to serve in my community, my Judea.”
Reflecting on that first time he entered the church, Peraza is filled with thankfulness.
“Brad (the greeter) grabbed me, and I had to hear that message from Mark.”