Do you know anything about Grape Street?
. . . Because apparently it's kinda famous or something . . . something to do with the Watts Riots? I honestly don't really know much about it at all, but I did get to see it this week! I was on splits, and we were going to our dinner appointment (which was in Watts). We got a little turned around on our way, and finally I just stopped the car to look at the map and asked, "ok, where are we?" My companion looked up and said, "uh, this would be the projects of Watts. This is where the Watts riots took place; oh, and there's Grape Street!" Awesome! So I can now say that I have been to both Compton and Watts, California, and it was pretty much awesome. I'm pretty sure that they are two of the most ghetto and probably pretty dangerous places in the U.S., but don't quote me on it. You could google it though, and let me know for sure :)
And here's some crazy city statistics for you, especially you relatively small-town folks: Compton, Ca. has a population of approximately 98,000 people (give or take... I'm pretty sure that fluctuates daily w/ all the gangs and such), all crammed into a total area of 10.6 square miles. Yep, you read right - 98,000 people, 10.6 square miles. There are a LOT of people here.
Remember that garage-house we cleaned up a few weeks ago? Well, I got to go over there when we were on splits (the same day as Compton/Watts) to teach Hector, the son. He is amazing!!! I could really see such a difference in him from the first and even second time I saw him! He really truly has a light in his eyes, and you can just tell how much happier he is. AND, as of yesterday, he has a baptismal date!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!! And here's something funny that happened while we were teaching: Keeping in mind that Hector's lead a fairly rough life, he also has a fairly foul mouth (as do many of the people that we teach). We were teaching him the 10 commandments with a fun little hand game we play to help people remember. When we talked about commandment #3 (Don't take the Lord's name in vain), we also talked a little bit about all of our language. For the rest of the lesson, he was correcting himself whenever he slipped up and swore. It was so great! And at the end, as we were going through reviewing everything, it was really funny to hear his "translation" of the 10 C's. ex: We got to #6 (thou shalt not kill), which we do by holding up 4 fingers on one hand, with the thumb and forefinger of the other pointing at the four like a gun. So we held up our hands like that and asked, "What's number 6?" Hector's reply: "Don't be blastin' nobody!" The sisters who are teaching him just about completely flipped out on him a few weeks ago when they asked if he had a bible, and he said, "yeah, I think I've got one around here somewhere." and pulled out a QUAD that he had stolen a few years back!!! So Michael R. Hadley, wherever you are, I'm sorry that your scriptures were stolen, but they are in good hands, and have helped to save a soul. Thanks for all the notes you took in seminary!
Ok, ok, so back to my area and the rest of my week.
Minus the part where only ONE of our 4 investigators with baptismal dates came to church yesterday, it was a pretty good week. To kind of balance out that disappointment, we found out that one of the Priests in our ward has been bringing a friend to church with him for the last couple of weeks...not sure how we missed that one! He's awesome though -- he's 15, and Jewish, but really loves the church. Yesterday when he introduced himself in Gospel Principles he said, "I'm Jared, and I'm 15, and I'm not a member of your church, but I really, really want to be." YAY! Miracles do happen! I'm discovering that sometimes you just have those days that are pretty discouraging, but the Lord has this way of giving you just enough at little moments throughout the day to keep you going. I'm so grateful for that.
Mom, good job in sharing the gospel! Don't worry either, I'm a missionary and sometimes am really terrible at missionary work! You could always ask the missionaries to help you by maybe teaching you a little more, or role-playing situations with you so that you can practice, or even go out teaching with them sometimes, OR--even better--see if they have any investigators that they could teach in you home!!! Trust me, if you'll ask/offer the missionaries any of those things, you'll have some really happy missionaries on your hands! AND you'll really have a chance to learn how to be a better missionary, and probably even be instrumental in helping people come unto Christ and be baptized and joining the church! How awesome is that?!?! (pretty awesome, trust me :) Also, studying PMG, especially ch 3 (the lessons), would probably help :)
Tomorrow is Zone Conference!!! I'm really excited, especially since we have a general authority (Elder Glenn L. Pace) coming! Zone Conference is great, and I'm really looking forward to it--it's a good "recharge" for the transfer.
AND GENERAL CONFERENCE IS COMING!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!! I LOVE conference, and am so looking forward to hearing directly from the men we bear testimony of every day: our living prophet and apostles!
Alrighty, well, time's about up. The church is True, God lives--He knows us and loves us and wants us!!!
I Love Being a Missionary!!!
I Love YOU!!! (y'all)
HURRAH FOR ISRAEL!!!!!