I spent Saturday (6-23-12) scouting sites for the JEPA Workshops. My first stop was the Rose Garden at Exposition Park in Los Angeles. I’ve taught workshops here before (2008, 2003), but things have changed since then. The previous times, we were allowed to meet and paint free of charge. Now, the park charges $250, plus they require two employees to be present at $20 per hour. I was told that parking was free, but it was about 1/4 mile away. The closest parking, which was a ten minute walk from the site planned for the workshop, was an additional $10. As you can imagine, the Rose Garden fell off my list of potential sites for the workshops.
None-the-less, that scouting trip was not a waste of time. I had my painting kit with me, so I stayed long enough to do a plein air painting of the Natural History Museum from the Garden. More importantly, I had the opportunity to talk to a few curious onlookers about Jesus.
One most intriguing visitor was a young man named Gabriel (not real name). When I asked him if he liked to paint, he replied that he didn’t paint, but liked to draw devils. I played it off for a while, but I knew he had opened the door for a lively conversation about spiritual matters. We talked about his plans for higher education and his occupational goals, then I brought him back to his fascination with drawing devils.
Gabriel liked dark subject matter. As he began to talk about his personal life, I learned that he was a gang member. I would have never known by his personality. He was a very friendly, somewhat soft-spoken young man. I don’t imagine he would harm another person when he was in a friendly environment. Still, I suspected he could be very hard if he chose to be.
He was respectful of the salvation plan, but said he was not yet ready to make a commitment for Christ. I gave him a Talent Search tract before we went on our ways. So ‘Gabriel’, I’ll be praying for your safety and that you will soon make the right choice…for Jesus. God loves you and desires to have a close relationship with you.