Nestled in Hollywood's inner city, a Christian outreach and drop-in center is shining a different kind of light in a city filled with stars.
Oasis of Hollywood, founded in its current location by pastors Ron and Judy Radachy in 1993, is located a half dozen blocks away from the famous Walk of Fame sidewalk and the Kodak Theater, site of the Academy Awards and the crowning episodes of American Idol.
But within another 10 minutes' walk is Santa Monica and Highland, a haven for male, female or transsexual prostitutes of almost any age and drugs of all kinds. Two blocks farther is Panpipes Magickal Marketplace, a supermarket for occult shoppers and spiritual home to local Satanists.
"This is a very oppressive area," Ron Radachy said. "It's like someone handed you a 10-pound weight to carry around and you carry it easily for a while, but then it starts to wear you down. There's obviously a spiritual influence on the kids here."
Judy Radachy recounts the details of their ministry in her book, Walk of Faith on the Walk of Fame. Included in its short chapters are accounts of their Jesus Night Patrol, a fistfight at the center's front door and a 9-year-old who overdosed on drugs during a suicide attempt.
But the most poignant moment in the book-and perhaps in Judy Radachy's life came in 1982. Three years after she and husband Charles McPheeters arrived in Hollywood, he suddenly died, leaving her with two young children and a leaderless ministry. A talented speaker and musician, McPheeters had found Christ after a nearly fatal drug overdose and became one of the best-known ministers and anti-drug advocates of the 1970s' Jesus Revolution.
After Charles' death, Judy Radachy's family wanted her to move home to Texas. "Charles was the source of all my financial support, and I just couldn't see how I could go on," she said. "I opened my Bible and out popped Joshua 1: 'Moses my servant is dead. Now arise and take his place.'"
She started another nearby drop in center for teens and continued their House of Magdalene, a residential facility for local street prostitutes. During a midnight outreach to nearby Pasadena Rose Parade revelers four years later, she met the Rev. Ron Radachy. Both now licensed Foursquare ministers, the two married in 1986 and six years later made an offer on their current facility, $300,000 below an already reduced price.
In an area where few outreach ministries survive, Oasis has flourished. Reaching gangbangers, prostitutes, homeless alcoholics, single moms and "good" kids with abusive parents, the center offers after-school programs, tutoring, emergency food and shelter for families, and a Sunday evening youth service.
Yet the Radachys believe their most vital program is the Urban School of Evangelism, a one-week mission trip for youth and college-age groups from across the nation. They stay in the center and minister in Hollywood streets, on skid row and on the Santa Monica beach.
"Both of our hearts are not just in sitting in a pew in a blessing club," Judy Radachy said. "But a world where God is real and people see it because we meet them where they are."
ED DONNALLY IN HOLLYWOOD
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