It’s been 30 years since Judy Radachy first began an outreach to the runways on the streets of Hollywood—but even after decades of fruitful ministry, her passion to touch the lives of young people is stronger than ever.
In the late 1970s, she and husband Charles McPheeters hit the streets of Hollywood, sharing the gospel with young people one-on-one. Soon they were sending out Jesus Night Patrol teams, bringing a message of hope to prostitutes and runaways. Eventually, they founded The House of Magdalene, a safe house for young women needing an escape from pimps.
A few short years later, Judy experienced what she described as an “emotional earthquake, which would have been off the Richter scale.” Charles, who had been battling cancer, passed away, leaving Judy a widow with two small children. After much prayer and soul-searching, she became convinced that the Lord wanted her to continue the ministry.
Some time later, she had a dream that would solidify her focus on what she calls “preventative” work in the lives of young people. “This is the only dream I’ve ever remembered,” she said. “I woke up at 4:50 a.m. after dreaming about seeing a bus filled with children go over a cliff. People just stood around, watching, but I climbed down the hill and started pulling the children out of the bus. The message to me was crystal-clear: God was instructing me to start reaching children-before they drowned.”
In 1986, Judy married Ron Radachy, who became her partner in the Oasis ministry.
While its emphasis has shifted—according to Judy, other groups now target runaways, but there is great need for outreach to urban youth—The Oasis of Hollywood today is a thriving, multifaceted ministry geared to reach unchurched, underprivileged children and teens, with programs that include Kidz Klub after-school programs for elementary school students, a Friday-night teen drop-in center called Club Zion, Sunday-night youth services and discipleship groups, a dance and drama team, after-school tutoring and a computer lab, and summer and winter youth camps and field trips.
“Last year, we had 2,119 different children and young people take part in one or more of our programs,” Judy said, estimating that 200 to 250 children and youth are ministered to by Oasis in any given week. Some are merely underprivileged children; others are gang members. A recent Oasis newsletter tells Manuel’s story:
Manuel (not his real name) walks into the Oasis with his shirt over his head last Sunday. Someone gets him to pull it down and we all gasped, “Oh my gosh, Manuel, what happened to you?”
He quietly mumbled, “I got jumped out.”
His head was covered with knots and bruises from knuckles that came crushing down on his skull. One swollen lump on the right side was half the size of a grapefruit from the blow which caused his head to bounce off the sidewalk and left him unconscious. He said, “They started to pull a knife, but one of the leaders gave a signal to put it away.”
Ron asked, “What made you want to do this?”
“I want to follow God.”
Ron reached out to shake his hand, “This is the second biggest decision you have ever made in your life. The first is deciding to give your life to God.”
One of the staff told us that God had really touched him at camp the week before. The theme at camp had been “How Far Will You Go to Serve God”? He knew this was a very serious decision, because he knew he had to take the pain to be free. To get “jumped in” his gang meant that you had to shoot someone (not necessarily kill them) and to get beat up. To get out or “jumped out” you have to be beaten up and maybe even killed. Serious stuff for a 16-year-old!
Ron picked up his mom and took the two of them to the hospital.
It was hours before he actually was seen, because he was in the emergency room at a county hospital. All of the staff began to pray for him. We were thrilled to get the report the next day. Not a concussion, no permanent damage, and not even a headache! We are really praising God for his healing touch on Manuel, as well as the courage to follow after God even though it could have cost him his life. Please keep him in your prayers. Pray that he’ll be a good testimony to other gang members in our neighborhood and to those who come to the Oasis.
The Oasis staff isn’t content to be the only ones reaching out to touch their community. Equipping people for lifestyle evangelism is one of the ministry’s key focal points. To that end, Oasis sponsors an Urban School of Evangelism, through which hundreds of adults and teens from across the United States flock to Hollywood each year, taking part in a series of weeklong missions trips to the inner city of Los Angeles. “We’ve trained over 3,900 people in evangelism,” Judy said. “So many people tell us, ‘I never realized sharing the gospel was this easy.’ ”
Oasis also offers internship opportunities that vary in length from three months to one year. Information on both missions trips and internships, as well as other ways to get involved with Oasis ministry, may be found at www.oasisofhollywood.org.
Meanwhile, Judy’s passion to reach the lost has not waned. “It is the mercy of God which keeps us right in the middle of Hollywood,” she said, “reaching out to gang members, drug users and even just sweet kids who need Jesus.”