Hello Friend

January, 1980
1980 Visit, Volume 2 Number 1

An Air New Zealand DC-10 en route to the South Pole crashed into Mt. Erebus in Antarctica, killing all 257 people aboard. The Pentagon admitted that thousands of U.S. troops had been exposed to the toxic defoliant Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam. Former California governor Ronald Reagan threw his hat in the ring for the Republican presidential nomination. And NY Yankees manager Billy Martin was fired for punching a Minnesota marshmallow salesman in a bar fight.

In this edition our editor Duane Pederson, who was serving as pastor of Venice Christian Community Church, introduced the Children's Mission ministry to our readers. The beach community of Venice, along the coast in the far west end of Los Angeles, had at that time a bad reputation for social problems including drunkenness, crime and gang activity. Many children in the area lived in single parent families with a problem of alcohol and drugs, most were on welfare, and often the kids would come home from school to find no one home and nothing to eat. Many kids would steal cheap junk food from the nearby grocery store just to have something to eat. Children's Mission was working hard to change that, providing the kids with six hearty meals a week, a safe place to play, and Bible lessons.

Through the Visit newspaper we were also continuing our outreach to prisoners in city, county, state and federal jails and prisons, with first-person accounts written by friends who were serving time or had served time themselves. "Right here in prison," our friend Greg wrote, "my Lord has given me a rich, exciting life. I wouldn't trade it for another even if I had the chance." That got a lot of people's attention!

"I never dreamed," our friend Carol wrote, "one day I'd sit at a table with a convicted murderer, an armed robber and a junkie." And yet, as she wrote to us from the California Institution for Women at Frontera, that's exactly who was sharing her table. Her time "inside" had taught her that she was no better or worse than anyone else, and that anyone can find themselves suddenly "behind bars for a temper flare-up, a bad habit or a weak moment."

The photo at right shows Los Angeles firefighters at a large fire in Hollywood not far from the HFP offices. The photo at lower right shows a crowd of Jesus People at one of our beach baptisms.

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