It is wonderful to be here with you today. I come from a family of migrant farm workers, and I learned many lessons laboring with my parents and grandparents in the fields, vineyards, and orchards of the Central Valley of California. The Central Valley has some of the richest soil in the world, and farmers report that 100 percent of the nation’s raisins,1 99 percent of its almonds,2 and 95 percent of its olives3 are produced there.
My life changed forever when two young missionaries first visited our Central Valley home during the winter prior to my fourteenth birthday. My father was expert in the “law of the barrio,” also known as “street law.” He was highly skeptical of strangers and fiercely protective of our family. My mother recently reminded me of the time he called the police because he had spied someone who drove by and put a bomb into our mailbox. The police quickly responded to investigate, only to discover a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Obviously we were not used to the