What would compel a pastor to move his family to move to one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Los Angeles? For Pastor Todd Grant, it was a belief that God wants him to serve and preach the Gospel in an effort to help change lives.
Grant spoke to Fox News about his mission to open the Powerhouse Church in the Watts section of Los Angeles.
His move to Watts happened while attending a church conference in Los Angeles, which focused on planting new churches in the inner city.
“God called us to leave Tucson and move our family into the Watts community,” Grant said. “God just got ahold of my heart and made it very clear to me.”
Grant said he was hesitant and fearful of the move at first, but ultimately decided to go.
Shortly after his move to Watts, Grant had his first brush with crime in the neighborhood: someone was shot as he was returning home from Bible study. The experience for Grant was overwhelming. “There was literally a shooting every evening.”
Many of Grant’s parishioners have faced a difficult time living in Watts. “[They’ve ] been in prison, recipients of acts of violence, and some actually still have bullets in their body,” Grant said.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, crime levels in Watts are nearly double compared to the rest of Los Angeles.
Grant told the story of a woman named Paulette, who attends services at the church. Two of her sons were shot in the same day, and one of them was killed.
“The grief almost took her own life but she came to a point where she knew she needed God’s help,” Grant said. “God helped her go to the courthouse and to offer that man who [killed her son] forgiveness.”
He says Paulette is one of his heroes.
Grant is looking to expand his ministry further into Watts and other communities in the city. He wants to “break down barriers that have been there for years and bring people together as a family – one as in Christ.”
Watch the full interview with Pastor Todd Grant above.
Chris Snyder is a producer for Fox News based in New York. Follow him on twitter: @ChrisSnyderFox.