Thursday, October 9, 2008

Be The Change...again

I am going to babble for a few moments here as I write this..I guess I have to stay true to my nickname/blog title. I have been re-reading Be the Change by Zach Hunter. I love this book because it was written by a 15 year old and it just good for everyone to read to wake them up to the injustices going on around them. I have been reading it because one of our kids wants to share in Chapel in 2 weeks about some populations that are dealing with injustice. Her father was just deported a few weeks ago so one main thing on her mind is immigration, but also child slave labor, child soldiers, and other kids that have been abused like the kids here. Her theme is "Take a Walk in My Shoes". To see a kid who has been through so much pain and suffering want to share with other kids who have been through pain as well about injustices going on with others just makes me realize even more that we must become like a child and LISTEN TO THE KIDS! They know what they are talking about. It further makes me realize why God wants me to be here. I am supposed to bring a voice to the marginalized population of children and youth, especially children and youth that have been cast out by society and hurt by society as well.

Back to the book. There is a section that discusses the "social gospel" and how many people are afraid of that term. He brings up the fact that many people don't want to call it the social gospel because then they would have to admit that being a christian is about more than just being holy but also about serving the poor and bringing justice to God's kindom. He says that he doesn't understand why everyone is arguing because and I quote,

"Compassion is an overflow of the gospel - The Good News of Christ's sacrifice. Compassion says we have embraced the relationship with God through Christ. It's not that we have to earn our salvation by doing good things, but compassion and service flow out of us because we are filled with God's love. If we don't take care of orphans and widows, if we don't care for the poor and hurting, how can we say we belong to Jesus?"
I read this at a perfect time today as I was struggling with thinking through all my interactions with kids this week. It was a rough week. The Chaplain was gone to a conference and I was on my own and of course lots of unexpected things came up. I got stressed for about the first time since I have been here and I know it did not help some interactions I had with kids. I became very self-aware of that yesterday and realized I just will not be able to do everything this week, and that is going to have to be ok. My "honeymoon" period with the kids is starting to wear off and some kids are getting mad at me for things. But in many ways its showing that they appreciate that I will put up with them and love them unconditionally. They just have to test that to see if I will keep following through. This is an extremely challenging population to work with and I am realizing that more each and every day. It doesn't make me want to stop by any means, it just makes me want to forge ahead but also make sure I am aware of myself and take time to reflect and re-evaluate.
I had some 1st time experiences this week that scared me a little or just rocked me. (A friend of mine commented recently that all my blog entries are "happy"..well here is one that isn't so much). I tell you these stories because I want you to know about my experiences, not to scare you, not to make you have pity on me or these kids, I just want you to realize how much I love them and how much we all need to fight for justice for them.
This week, I had a kid tell me he wanted to kill himself and then proceed to try to drink a bottle of soap. Then the same kid tried to strangle another kid with a phone cord. Another kid tried to break a window for 30 minutes straight with his fists. A few kids told me they hated me and hoped I died. They tested me all week. It was hard I'm not going to lie...there were times I wanted to run away and cry. But somehow I gained the strength I needed to get through those times and still love those kids unconditionally.
These kids are the modern day "orphans". We MUST love them unconditionally. We MUST or we need to seriously consider if we truly can say we belong to Jesus. We MUST care for the hurting, because they are ALL AROUND us. You might not have 60+ kids with mental, emotional and behavioral problems. But I bet you have someone in your workplace, group of friends, school, or family that is hurting. I am sure you have people in your community that are hurting. I am sure there are many marginalized communities you can work with to help bring about justice for them. I urge you to consider each day if you are being mindful or talking to someone that is hurting, where you can say I belong to Jesus and truly feel right about saying it.
I am saying all this to reflect on my week, to tell myself I need to do all these things. Things are not always easy, and I am pretty sure after work today I am probably going to have a little bit of a crying party to just get out my emotions of the week. But when I take a step back and look at it all...I am just learning to love these kids unconditionally and that is not something you just pick up on's a process.


Penny said...

I can't thank you enough for investing in my generation and for allowing your heart to be broken for the good of others. I hope God provides the encouragement you need today.
Your brother,
Zach Hunter

(I'm sending this from my mom's account)

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of you.

Anonymous said...

The work you do is truly inspiring, though incredibly difficult at times. I pray that the Lord continues to provide you with the heart and spirit to love those kids so many have felt were unlovable.

See you in a week!! :)


Melissa said...

I have a friend who is doing much of the same work you are (except she's in Texas). She said something the other day that I hope helps you: "As you let the love of our Lord fill you up, it overflows into the children." There will always be times that are rough, and the kids hate us, and want us to go away, but just remember that we have been like that before with God. And like Him, we need to stay there waiting with our arms open. They'll come back and they'll love you even more for it.

God bless,