I don't even know where to start. I really just have one word on my mind today: Cloverleaf. This area is ridikalus! You haven't seen ghetto until you've seen Cloverleaf. The first day out tracting my companion pulled onto a street, parked the car and said, "Welcome to Cloverleaf!" and pointed her arm towards block after block after block after BLOCK of trailers. (with crazy texas jungle/ drainage ditches in between) I've never seen anything like this. I didn't even know that people LIVE this way! I literally fear for my life on a daily basis - in a crazy "im-on-a-mission" way. hahaha I'm not exaggerating! All I can say is:
You might be from Cloverleaf if:
You introduce yourself as "bandana rudy" and your next trailer over neighbor is "toeless pete."
You commonly see Patrol cars swarm with cops pulling their guns out and arresting your neighbor.
You have an old rusty truck with no tires in your front yard with a Bob Dole sticker on the back bumper.
Your porch is so littered in rusted tools and junk that visitors have to stand to the side of the porch and knock on the trailer door from down below.
You've got a GINORMOUS dog on a chain with way too much slack sitting under your trailer, gnawing on a bone that is bigger than my whole arm, and growling hideously at anyone that even looks in that direction.
Your neighbor has a sign on their front door that says "we ain't gote no cigarrets. dunnut disterb Randy - hes sleepun."
You commonly substitute tire jacks when extra cinderblocks to hold up your trailer aren't available.
the list goes on! Every day since I've been here, somebody pulls over and tells us that two "nice white girls" like us shouldn't be there. And all the members tell us to go directly home as soon as it even starts to get dark. I have developed a terrible fear of dogs. I never thought I'd say that. I love dogs! But like hermana Keele says, "Dogs in Utah are cute, cuddly PETS. The Dogs in cloverleaf are there to keep people off the property or to fight!" And that is true. Every single house has a huge ole dog. Mostly pit bulls. But they are MEAN. I'm telling you. It's frightening.
But the craziest part of all this is that these people are so open to the gospel! We've had amazing miracles every day. For instance, Sunday night we were out knocking trailers and this crazy big dog was following us with a broken chain dangling from his collar. (amazingly, he was actually pretty nice.) But then we met this little girl that was yellin at the dog "where you goin dawg? You'z fixin ta get yerself run over!" and so we stopped and talked to her. ( I guess Hermana Keele already knew her) Her name is Stephanie and she said right off the bat , "I'm gunna take ya'll to meet my mama." So we followed her to her apartment to talk to her "mama" and her "mama" turned out to be this HUGE white lady who laughed but then just said "well, I've met y'all before and I'm still not interested in bein' mormon." So then Stephanie asked if she could help us and her "mama" said sure so she went in front of us, knocking all the doors of her apartment complex and then yelling "hey! them'sall is church people! So ya gotta lissen to 'em, ya hear?" hahaa but she actually introduced us to Bandana Rudy (yes, every one of those points I wrote is based on an actual experience) and turns out he knows one of our recent converts and has been meaning to talk to missionaries. He was such a cool guy! He's an investigator for the english elders though, so that's a bummer. but he's awesome. We ended up talking to him for about half an hour until his drunk mexican neighbor walked past with the dog that had been following us earlier and stephanie started going crazy trying to get this guy to let the dog go. "no es tu dawg! lettem go y'hear me? no en tu casa!" haha spanglish to last a lifetime! but he took the dog inside his "casa" anyways and we made stephanie pinkie promise that she wouldn't go in after him because that guy was WAY too drunk for a little seven year old to go talk to. And then we headed for a member's home because the sun had gone down. I'm telling you. This area will change your life. I have so many more stories to write about! Like listening to a hispanic man play an accordion on his front porch before he went to perform at his baptist church, talking to a pantomime christian dancer who dances "for Jesus" but who (zippy and unexpected twist) is an "inactive" gang member who flies his gang's "flag" (bandana) to this day, learning about Mexican home remedies for Hermana Keele's weird dry spot on her foot... there is no end. This place is craziness. We're crazy people! But the church is true even in cloverleaf! (believe it or not.)
I love you all! I love Salt Lake City! I love my clean apartment...oh wait. Cockroach swarms come running out of our sink drain every time we turn on the light. The church BETTER be true! hahaha Take care