“We’re Just Jesus People” and Street Cred

Another one of the Benson boys is serving a mission. Piano Man, who is now Elder Benson, wrote to us from his mission in California:

“There is some serious gang activity here. I hear cops all the time, and I’ve heard gunshots. Gang members have talked to my trainer in the past;  he says gang members are  really nice and don’t bother us (missionaries), because we’re just Jesus people.  One of our investigators, who used to be in a gang, told us the only gang that will mess with missionaries is a gang moving in from Fresno called the Bulldogs. They beat up pretty much everyone, but the other gangs have had a ceasefire with each other, and are focusing on getting the Bulldogs out. There is a lot of pot here. The air smells like a mixture of dry, sea salt, and Mexican food. It’s interesting.”

Richard Drutcher's States of Grace


Am I worried? Well, yeah kinda.  Elder Benson is a happy, confident, hippie-kind-of-guy who could make friends with a rock;  except for stray bullets and getting hit by a car while riding his bike, I think he will be okay. What I am wondering, how much “Street Cred” do Mormon missionaries get in dangerous areas around the world. For those of you who have served in places which “kinda made your mama nervous”, what kinds of advice or tales do you have to share with me, and the rest of our readers.  Please do tell, because inquiring minds want to know.