Wordsmith, aka David Derf, doesn’t want money for what he’s pushing. He’s giving away hope for free.The man known as the The Neighborhood HOPE Dealer. HOPE is an acronym for Helping Others Prosper Eternally.School gyms, juvenile halls and gatherings in high-risk neighborhoods are some of his favorite hangouts.
A native of Chicago, Wordsmith arrived in Vacaville before he was a teen.
“I started getting in trouble,” he said.
He eventually got arrested and quickly learned jail wasn’t the place for him.
“I didn’t know who I was,” Wordsmith said. “I cried out to God.”
His prayers were answered and Wordsmith began his ministry in the Solano County juvenile hall.
Visiting juvenile halls can be a tough place as he sees some the same ideas and behaviors he had as a teen. Rather than let that discourage him, Wordsmith said it motivates him to try harder.
When the youth start to question his life experiences, Wordsmith quips, “I have been your age. You have never been mine.”
Preaching is not his style. He chooses to minister the essence of God, he said. While he delivers some messages in churches, Wordsmith, who is a licensed minister, takes his church to the street.