(The Harvest Unit Gathering Souls)
This was a vision God gave to me in January of 1997 when I was in maximum security. I was sitting in my cell looking at a VIBE magazine and I turned and seen a Bone Thugs and Harmony on the page and then and there God gave me the vision. That I would start a outreach toward those who live life in the streets, those who call themselves “thugs”. I wondered why thugs and the Lord revealed to me that I will be able to reach them because I was once a thug. I once walked those streets, selling drugs packing guns. I have done time in juvenile hall, county jail and prison and because of that they would identify with me and I would be able to reach them. To teach them, to show them the way to the throne of God.
The name Operation T.H.U.G.S. itself is just an attraction tool. The word “Thugs” stand for “The Harvest Unit Gathering Souls” but we are also a “True Holy Unit God’s Soldiers”. To attract people to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In a way I want it to appear negative because those are the kind of kids, young adults and adults I want to attract. Being an ex-thug I have to think like one to know what gives me my best chances of attracting one. For example if I walk into a hood and I got a shirt on that all you can see is big letters reading “T.H.U.G.S.” you would just think I’m another cat on the block. But how many know, things aren’t always what they seem! As I get closer you see the “Operations” above it but as I get closer you see that there is a Bible verse under it, now you are really wondering, “Hey man what’s that mean.” Gotcha!” I say to myself, there is my invitation. Verses seeing a guy come in with a suit and tie (not that there is nothing wrong with it) but if I was in that life first thing I would think is, “Is this the police?”, “Who the heck is this dude?” And might leave the scene. We are in a new day and age and therefore we must compromise the method but NOT THE MESSAGE. We cannot be successful unless we first capture their attention. This is something different and radical, something that causes curiosity. In order to attract one, I had to think like one. When I was young I wasn’t even approachable to a witness because he tried to tell me about God but he lost me when he said he understood why I felt I had to be in the street. I asked him,”What you know about this? What have you been through?” He said he works with kids like me but personally he had never been to jail. I said, “Man you don’t know nothing about this” and walked away from him. When Christs brings people like me out of the dark into the light I believe He sends us to go get those who was in that them. I can’t speak on everyone, but for me, I know this is my calling and this is my commission and this is what I must do. Go into the dark places and be the light. Share the Light. To share Jesus and most importantly to show Jesus through my lifestyle.
Jesus wasn’t in the palaces and in the places with the rich folk. He was out there in the hoods, on the blocks as we now call it and was criticized for it. This is what Jesus said in Matthew 9:11-13 ,”"Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’? On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” We are trying to go out into a world where many don’t believe. Our work isn’t inside the Church our work is outside of the Church to get the people into the church. For this reason is why the word says the harvest is plenty but the laborers are few because many think we can just pray the sinners into the church.
Now that we know why I chose that name lets discuss why. The word OPERATION has many meanings. One which is the power to act; efficacy or influence. In the medical field operation would mean a procedure aimed at restoring or improving the health of a patient, as by correcting a malformation, removing diseased parts, implanting new parts, etc. and in the military field it would mean, a campaign, mission, maneuver, or action. So I am saying I want to work on the so called “THUG” to influence them to a new way of living. The medical term operation is the part Christ would have to perform on them to restore and improve their standing and spiritual health, to correct malformation and the removal of diseased parts and implanting new parts, amen! And of course the military term would be used to describe what we do when we are outside of the church in the streets. And yes we are on these streets, going places most people won’t go. We can and do go because as ex-thugs we can identify with the streets and on first glance we often time look like the streets so we are able to approach them and often time based on that alone they receive us, respect us and now that we have their attention they have opened the door for us to win their souls for Christ.
The only thing we have compromised here is the method of saving souls but we would never ever dare compromise the message, which is the message of Jesus Christ our personal Lord and Savior. At the end of the day, if we are winning souls and did so without sinning or causing anyone else to, can we agree we are on the same team? It’s all about going about Kingdom Business in a different way for a different generation. It’s all about JESUS!
If you have any questions you can email me at email@example.com and you can even get at me on myspace.com/operationthugs and you can twitter me @ twitter.com/operation_thugs or hit my website operationthugs.org
On Facebook I have a fan page and a group page, if you believe in what I am doing just type in Operation T.H.U.G.S. in the search box and join the cause. We are reaching out to people in the streets, juvenile halls, county jails and prisons. Thank you so much for taking the time out to read this. God bless you and please keep us in your prayers!
Larry D. Bluford, Jr.