Lawton, OKLa._Despite numerous setbacks, a church set in one Lawton's most crime riddled neighborhoods is committed to helping the people in their troubled community. The House of Bread Ministry on the corner of Jessie L Davenport and Wisconsin, has been serving food and providing groceries for residents since 2002. Since then, the church has been the victim of several crimes, including a drive-by shooting. Church members said nothing, not even bullets, will stop them from helping those in need.
Less than two weeks ago, church members said they arrived at their building and found it completely covered in graffiti, some of it vulgar. They said they spent hours painting over it, and then got right back to work. Members said they realize that their located in an area plagued by violence. They said they were saddened when their church became a target of crime, but feel their desperately-needed services outweigh the danger.
"I believe it's growing quite a bit, you see more people in this area. Sometimes it's okay that we have a little bit of violence in here. But God has always kept his hand upon us and we seem to be doing okay here", said Pastor Bernell Caraway.
Pastor Caraway said she has a unique way of rationalizing the crimes against her church.
"If you're doing something for the Lord, then you know you're going to have opposition. If they're not bothering you, then maybe you're not doing everything you can for the Lord. We just consider it a privilege that God let's us go through these things", she said.
Most of the members have been working with the church for years. So when they saw what many of them consider their second home defiled, they said were overcome with emotion.
"I got angry...to see somebody disrespect something like this. This place has offered shelter, clothes, presents for Christmas, Halloween we have a safe house. There's gift cards and games. There's so much that this church does that a lot of the community doesn't recognize. It's horrible", said Christina Clark.
Pastor Caraway's daughter Ramonda Bruno said the crime was a waste of energy.
"It's too bad that they used their talents like that there. Heck, they could have come here if they wanted to use their talent. There probably good artist. We needed it painted but we didn't need it painted that way," she said.
Pastor Caraway said no matter what happens, her church is not leaving The View. She said she wants to continue to make a positive impact on communities that need it the most.
"We got to come together. Churches need to come together, races should have nothing to do with it. It's everybody is included in the body of Christ. It's about...Do you love the Lord enough to reach out to whoever?", she said.
Pastor Caraway said despite the vandalism, the recent activity between the churches and community in The View is a step in the right direction. She said she hopes to see churches all over Lawton work together to make a change in the community.