We have talked to several people who have lived here for many years and they tell us how very nice the area used to be. There were movie theaters and restaurants and shops along the streets. People would take care of their houses and yards but now many of the properties are rented or vacant.
The whole area of Brooklyn and Curtis Bay is infested with drugs, crime, prostitution and filth, and there are homeless people and beggars on most corners. There are mainly row-houses here and many have either burned down or have been condemned. We visit homes or apartments infested with mice, roaches, fleas, and bed bugs. Rats can be seen outside and they make themselves at home.
We have never seen such poverty. Dirty mattresses on the floor are common with nothing else to sit on. Most people here are getting some kind of assistance from the government, but it is not much.
Drug addiction, in all its ugly forms, is the primary cause of this misery. It will steal your health, your job, your money, your dignity, your hope, your family, and ultimately your life. It is the devil himself trying to destroy people. We hate it.
Yet in spite of all that, there are many good people here who want to have a better life. They often get discouraged and lose faith, but we try to lift and encourage them by loving them and sharing gospel truths. Often the Church will step in and assist as needed. It's interesting and faith promoting to see that by keeping God's commandments, so much pain and sorrow can be avoided. It's really so simple, but it is very difficult for many to change after years of bad habits.
We visited a member of our church on Friday. She is a recovering drug addict. She has three children and the youngest is autistic. Her husband does not help out much with the household expenses so she is carrying a heavy load. Her oldest son has been getting into trouble but her seventeen year old daughter is getting her GED and wants to go to college. The mother works nights in a nursing home and only gets a few hours sleep. However, she is also going to college and is on the dean's list! She only has one year left before getting her bachelor's degree in psychology and wants to become a drug counselor/social worker. We are very proud and excited for her. She can see the end of the road that leads to more freedom and happiness. The gospel in her life has given her hope and a better understanding of who she is.
We have been teaching a really nice lady in our own apartment building. It is a wonderful experience to share the gospel with her. She is well versed in the Bible and it has been fun to open her eyes to other scriptures and more wisdom. She is soaking it all in and loves everything we teach her. We hope to continue.
|Sending a peek-a-boo to my daughters.|
|Gas is now below $2.00.|
|The tree outside our bedroom window. It's cold out there.|
|Lunch at Gino's after district meeting.|
|Many seagulls landed and helped themselves to some nuts and potato chips we had thrown outside the church. |
We enjoyed the show.