Archive for July 2011
It seems like every blog or even journal I write nowadays is comparing now to back then. Being 11 months into living with the boys, makes me consistently look back to where we started. Maybe boring to readers, but I won’t let any days go by without recognizing with where we started and how far we have come. It used to be that living in a house with street boys in Ethiopia was a dream of mine, now it seems the struggles of trying to help these boys over a year ago is the dream. Did we really have to spend time with the boys in poo park? Did we really have to eat the EXTREMELY dodgy food at Mother’s House? Did the beginning 20-30 boys really show up high to each event we had? Did they really used to get beaten on a weekly basis by authorities, thrown in jail, watered down with hoses?
This last weekend was another major instance of me recollecting with joy of how far we have come. I can’t lie and pretend I pictured this ministry a year ago as good as it is now. Its just amazing how God has got us here, today! 13 of our boys chose(key word) to get baptized last weekend. It was a tear jerking, joyous event. As I listened to them share why they chose to be baptized, I couldn’t help but think about where they were a year before, where they are now, and where they will be going.
I was baptized in 2007 at NCC, then I was sort of baptized by fire by moving to Ethiopia in 2009 and now I am watching 13 of my boys being baptized. Its just an amazing journey. It is so exciting and comforting to me to see them get baptized. Like I felt in 2007, I don’t think there is any turning back. These are God’s boys, He has a strong hold on them. Maybe my feelings are exactly Biblical, but I just feel like them being baptized is not only about them committing their lives to God, but more like its God grabbing a hold of these boys, never to let go till they meet him face to face. With all the uncertainty our future holds, that is as comforted as I can feel.
In all transparency, I must say that our boys definitely chose to be baptized by themselves. I won’t lie and say that there weren’t pressures of some kind( not purposely created by us). Peer pressure and what they are “supposed to do” mostly. Besides my faith that God is holding these boys with a firm grip, I won’t put a ton of stock in teenage boys getting baptized. I mean teenage boys are just that, teenage boys. I would predict that some of them fall away from God pretty far, but I will always believe God will hold them tight like He did during my most rebellious, life threatening years.
Besides the baptism, the boys are working very hard at their new apprenticeships. It started out rocky last week, but we are in a groove. They are learning a ton, working very hard and I believe maturing in front of our eyes. We also have all the grades and ranks back for the boys. Without knowing every single one yet, from what I have seen the improvement between the 1st and 2nd semester is awesome! Tonight Yohannes showed me that he went from a rank of 27th to 7th! That is a HUGE HUGE jump, but not really uncommon with our boys. It’s awesome!
Its not all gravy of course. One of our boys is resorting back to some old struggles. He had improved a great deal, but since he found out his father is very sick he is really becoming an issue. It is very difficult to ignore or work around our sympathy for this boy. I mean what a life, what a struggle. But we have to protect the other boys and find a way to discipline in a healthy and learning way. A great challenge. We also are running into a ton of complaining and off handed disrespectful comments. Its so hard to address every inappropriate comment when we have 16 moody, immature teenagers. I have a hard time swallowing my “principles”, but at times we have to with these boys. Show more grace, love and acceptance then what they should and should not do or say. Very hard.