21 Oct Day 13
“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. The old has passed away, all things become new.”
In one way or another they all leave. Graduating with a job, re-integrating with their families, or running away, they all leave eventually. And when they do, we want them to know they are not alone—ever. They belong to Christ. They are not orphaned or abandoned; they are loved and always have someone to talk to.
As we entered into COVID lockdown last March, the staff team agreed to use this time to focus on Christ, and make Him real to our kids. Children who just arrived from the streets had to be isolated for 14 days. A former graduate name Rai was sheltering in place with us and assigned to care for them. He brought them their food and helped them through their first days of detox. He also used the time to share his own experience at Hope –his rebellious years and how he finally shed his pride and accepted Jesus.
One of our new boys, Anderson, accepted Christ. A few days later Alfredo did as well.
It is easy to see if new converts are “walking the walk, not just talking the talk” when you are together twenty-for hours a day, seven days a week.
For our veteran children who wanted to grow in the faith, we started a baptism class. Eleven children signed up. They give up hours of free time to study through a discipleship / baptism preparation workbook that Pastor Derli designed especially for our kids.
November 15 is the big day, when they will be baptized! Dudu graduated, and two others were reintegrated with their families, but we picked them up so they could complete the last classes as well, observing careful social distancing.
More than anything, we want Hope to be a place known by its fruit. We want all who come here to know they have entered God’s country, and be touched in a special way. We want our kids to be known not by their pasts, but by who they are in Christ. That is the only birth certificate they need. They were made in HIS image.
Lockdown was hard, but did give us time for more reflection, more thoughtful talks, more bonding, We are all more deeply connected. And most wonderful of all, through this time life decisions were made.
Sadly, Anderson ran away shortly after he accepted Christ. We recently got word that he was badly beaten up by rival gang members and may have suffered brain damage. I can only pray that his decision was real and that God is with him–even if his journey doesn’t bring him back to us.
Pray for all our new believers, that the Holy Spirit would given them strength and encouragement as they begin their new walks. Pray especially for those going back to families or tough communities. And please say a special prayer for Anderson.