Willy “The Ghetto Preacher” Ramos, of Hollywood, Fla., talks with children between preaching sessions during teen youth day Saturday at the Clovis Seventh-Day Adventist Church. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)
By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer
William “Willy” Ramos, who says he’s known as “the ghetto preacher,” visited Clovis’ Seventh Day Adventist Church from Hollywood, Fla., on Saturday and preached about turning to Jesus and giving up sin.
From Escogido Street Ministries, Ramos said kids he’s preached to coined his title “the ghetto preacher,” because of his “street style,” or the lingo he spouts in his sermons. Mixing Scripture with stories from what he said is his own criminal past, Ramos preaches about how faith in Jesus overcomes temptation to do drugs and commit illegal acts.
Ramos was invited to preach at the church two weeks ago, he said.
The wife of the church’s regular preacher, Wendy Redic, said a handful of troubled youth, spanked by the law, listened to Ramos’ sermon Saturday.
Born in Chicago and raised in Florida, Ramos, 32, began preaching five years ago, after he attempted to take his life, following years of crime, violence and gang affiliation, he said.
“I’m an ex-gang banger. I was a thief. I flashed my behind to my mother, I assaulted an elderly woman, I fought a 5-year-old kid, I got to the point where Satan had me,” he said.
“I was kicked out of my house and school, I was homeless. One day I was going to kill myself, but I felt the presence of the Lord and I stopped. I felt Jesus say he died for me.”
Ramos now travels to churches across the nation on weekends off from his day job as a metal cutter, to praise God and share his testimony with kids, he said.
“My passion is for youth. The enemy has been kidnapping them long enough. I do my part to give them the message of Jesus,” Ramos said.
Ramos said he’s seen more than 130 kids turn to Jesus and he’s preached over 200 sermons. He said he meets with at least five kids after every sermon he gives, speaking with them about insecurities that manifest into hurting others.
“I was insecure about my weight and I beat up a kid that made fun of me. I speak with kids upset about a big nose or pimples,” he said.
Ramos said he doesn’t judge anyone and believes everyone can be forgiven when they leave behind evil and turn to Jesus.
Ramos has a pen pal in jail accused of strangling a woman and robbing her Florida home, he said.
Fred Fahsholtz of Clovis thinks God brought him to Ramos’ sermon.
Fahsholtz was supposed to go to court-ordered rehabilitation and a halfway house for nine months, Friday, but a paperwork slow down means he’s not going until Monday, he said.
“God wanted me to hear Willy,” he said.
Ramos and Fahsholtz held hands, bowed their heads and prayed. ”We have turned from doing stupid stuff, we’ll stand side by side,” Ramos preached.