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Last Night I went to Watts…

December 16, 2009 Leave a comment
Last night I went to a church in Watts to deliver a carload of balls and art sets that will be handed out to the children for Christmas. 

The first time I ever visited Watts was two years ago as part of a 5-day/4-night mission trip. That’s a whole other story. Needless to say, at that time, I was terrified of the idea of going to Watts. Visiting Watts was literally on my Top 10 List of Things I Don’t Want to Do. Jumping out of an airplane, being burned to death, and drowning to death were also in that same top 10. On our team’s last night in Watts we walked through the neighborhood to get to a local restaurant that had food to die for – pun intended. As our team of mostly white people walked the streets, I felt kind of like we were a militia in a foreign land and the enemy was lurking behind any one of the windows on either side of us. I thought for sure that at any moment we would be fired upon and would have to duck or run for cover.

We did make it to and from the restaurant without a shot being fired. Read more…
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Categories: Snapshots of Me Tags: , , ,

Watts (Part 2)

November 28, 2008 Leave a comment

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This is part 2 of a two-part blog. If you never read part 1 before or if it has been a while, you should consider reading part 1 before reading this.
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Before I continue, let me just say to myself on behalf of myself and all other people who have the slightest interest in my blogs, “Shame, shame, shame on you, Jeremiah! You wrote part 1 over a year ago! What if you got shot and died and you never told us about it?!”

So, when I wrapped up part 1 of this story, I was heading out the gate of a three-story church complex and out into the neighborhood of Watts to hand out slices of pizza. My pulse was racing, my palms were sweaty, and my stomach was in knots. As I stepped through the open gate, I walked cautiously behind the two ladies who were part of my team. Before the gate had even opened, I had noticed some people gathered across the street from the church. The way they appeared perfectly matched my preconceived ideas about what to expect. It was a group of black teenage boys and girls gathered around a luxury car. The car’s stereo blared gansta rap and several of the males were wearing gold chains and other bling bling. All that was missing were the drugs and guns. One or two of the young ladies from the group accepted some pizza slices but the others politely turned us down.

Next we headed into one of the numerous areas referred to as “the projects”. Tall rod-iron fences surrounded this area. The buildings all had rod-iron bars on the windows and every door was made of sturdy metal. The building walls were all made of concrete and were, no doubt, designed to withstand bullets. As we walked among these ominous buildings, children began to appear seemingly out of nowhere. They approached us timidly at first, but once the first child ate the first bite of the pizza, the rest of the pizza quickly vanished. Most of the children were black, but a couple of them were Hispanic. One of the Hispanic girls decided to thank the two girls from my team by giving them hugs. I was still lagging behind my counterparts and so I witnessed all of this from a few feet away. I was too nervous and scared to fully encounter anyone in this foreign place. It was almost as though I was outside of my body controlling it via a remote. I could see and hear everything but I am not sure if I had said anything from the moment I had left the church until this moment. It was all so surreal. After the Hispanic girl hugged my teammates, she looked up at me and said, “Now I will give you a hug too.” It was at the moment that she said that that I decided to quickly climb back into my body. I knew that when she did hug me I would have to cease being an observer and actually interact with my surroundings! And so she did as she said she would. She hugged me. Then something happened inside of me. The best way I can think to describe it is that I melted. Virtually all of my fears, preconceptions, doubts, and prejudgments just drained out of me! On the outside, nothing unusual happened. On the inside, a great wave of peace flooded over me downing out all of that other stuff. I did all that I could to keep tears from filling my eyes. Read more…

Categories: Ministry Stories Tags: ,

Watts (Part 1)

October 28, 2007 Leave a comment

Well, it has been a very long time since my last blog and a lot has happened. While some things have changed tremendously, other things have remained the same. For instance, I am still working for the employer that brought me to Orange County over three years ago*, I am still attending Rock Harbor church in Costa Mesa, I still lead a small bible study group, and I still have two wonderfully precious children.

Are you familiar with burning bushes? Has one ever talked to you? Well, my name is not Moses and no bushes have ever talked to me, but several months ago God told me to do something that has significantly impacted the direction of my life. I have been leading a bible study for a while now, and I have spent a lot of time in church, in private school, and in the Bible. However, when you get down to my core, I am a self-absorbed person who has a lot of fears and insecurities. My inner problems prevent me from doing anything truly significant in this world. Fortunately, God doesn’t call on perfect people to do His work. Read more…