THE K I N G ’ S BU S I N E S S
the block served the whole short street. A huddle of adolescent youths occupied the choice spot beneath it with their soiled playing cards. They greeted Michael, but went on with their game —they were playing for money tonight. “Hi, Michael! ’llo, Mike!” came from passing friends as the now-familiar Biola student moved down the street, inconspicuous in his old attire. This was. the night for the “Bible quiz” among his Mexican friends. The Friday “quiz” was an institution of several months’ standing. It was attended by various groups of boys and girls who.,had given their hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ as Institute students had sowed the seed of the Word along the Mexican byways. The evening’s ac tivity opened with the first “quiz,” held for junior-age boys. This group had been “housed” from week to week in various meeting places, beginning with the street' curb and progressing to a parked car, a dark porch, a gas station, a laundry’s steps, a fire escape, and finally to its now established quarters on Pedro’s porch around the block from Clarksend Street. Pedro’s porch was ideal, because Pedro’s family lived in rooms at the front—thus Pedro could stand behind the window and hold back the sleazy curtain to let the inside light fall on the cheap little Testaments Mike had given the boys. A box or two and the porch railings furnished seats for the meeting. Michael took his place in the comer by the window and began his'work. But some how this was an "ifft” night. Occasion ally it was that way. A pair of rowdy newcomers, bent on mischief, broke up the gathering by drumming with sticks on the boys’ backs as they bowed in prayer. Nothing daunted, the student- leader, with another student who had just joined the group, towed the inter ested oneii back to Clarksend Street, hailed a few others by the way, and
settled his flock on the steps nearest the arc light. As he started to tell of the Good Shepherd and His love for the sheep, distractions again began to multiply. Passers-by yelled loud greet ings. Some listeners left the steps. New ones joined the group. But all these interruptions failed to dampen the en thusiasm of the one who was an am bassador for Christ. Two big boys burst on the scene with no good intent. “You kids wanna hear a story?” Michael asked. Obviously they did not! “Then scram!” he ordered, and from somewhere about his person he pulled out a leaf of notebook paper on which h4 had sketched a sheepfold in the hills, with its door and its shepherd and a flock of sheep coming up the path. He captured attention from that mo ment on. The smallest boy snuggled closer and placed a grimy hand on Michael’s shoulder. A rollicking fatty stretched his scant trousers to their limit as he leaned over the banister from his perch on the fence. Back in the shadows behind a sagging screen door; a tall girl was listening. Silently she slipped out and dropped to her knees by the pillar at the head of the steps—she was fascinated by the old, ever-new story of Jesus the Saviour. “What’s it mean, ye’re saved? What are ya saved from ?” asked the fat boy. Michael explained about sin and how one had to ask the Saviour to come into his heart. “I did that over there one Sunday.” A tall lad pointed across the street. “You told us fellows how to bow our heads and ask Him in.” Others in the group had done that, too. The closing prayer was reverent in deed, and the Lord’s presence real. Even talkative “ Slug” was quiet astride the fence as he grabbed off his skullcap and covered his face with his hands. Michael’s next “quiz” was organized
f T ^ H E OVERSHADOWING moun tains seemed to shrink in size JL while buildings loomed large in the gathering darkness as dusk spread itself over the miles of a great west ern metropolis. The two “Jesus Saves” signs atop the Bible Institute of Los Angeles flashed their blood-red light in the heart of the darkening city; Inside the Institute building, a\ carefree Fri- day-night-no-lessons atmosphere per vaded the dormitory. Five little Mexican boys with un kempt hair and shabby clothes pressed their slender weight against the big doors and entered the lighted lobby— it was time for their Michael* to be coming to Clarksend* Street. Upstairs, Michael, fresh from prayer, was hastily donning his “work-, clothes”—a loose polo shirt and faded yellow cotton trousers. He %yas going, voluntarily, on an. errand that stirred his young heart with joyful zeal. A few min utes later, he left the building with his admiring young friends, looking like one of them, acting like one of them, as he chatted away in boyish slang. Past the bright downtown stores, over a macadamized hill or two, beyond the Oriental pageantry of new China town, the little party stepped off the blocks that led to Clarksend Street— Clarksend Street, with its gray, battered houses, its steep steps leading to tiny dark porches above paved yards, its crumbling walls topped by unpainted, often-broken picket fences. The juvenile population, restless and noisy, filled the narrow thoroughfare with shouts and play. Shawled grandmas ventured out to gossip in Spanish while young mothers carried home bulging bags from the comer grocery (mostly liquor) store. One great arc light in the center of *Actual names of all persons and streets mentioned in this article have been withheld from publication.
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