Month: August 2015
One of the kids in our group has been known in the neighborhood as “The Bad Kid”. He had a foul mouth, made nasty gestures, didn’t participate in activities, or if he did only to distract others, fought with everybody and had the tendency to always get in trouble. One day when he happened to be with the group the kids were asked to draw a picture of their families. This was his picture. He went on explaining: “This is my Dad, he is trying to kill my Mom and that’s me under the bed.” He was in first grade then.
Since we started the soccer program after Bible Club he started to show up regularly. Lovingly but firmly we had to put him in his place a few times, but he started to be respectful with us and nicer with others. We found out that he was very sharp, enjoyed logical games and learnt very fast. But what he loved the most was still playing soccer. And even though most of the time he was the smallest on the field, he gave his 110% for the team. Last night after the game on the way home he told me: “Tonight I want to pray.” I can say I was really surprised. I wasn’t sure if he meant that tonight he was going to pray along with us, or that he wanted to lead the prayer, but I said: “Great!” We gathered on our patio around the fresh pizzas, put our hands together and he started to lead us in prayer: “Thank you God for this day. Thank you for this good game and thank you for the pizza. Amen.” How wonderful was to hear him praying and feel that something started in his little heart! In my head I thanked the Lord that a small mustard seed was sown.
We got a call from Josh, our fellow missionary from our other community that one of our kids, a second grader, Alvaro might be taken away. His mom just delivered her third baby, but because she is a meth addict the Child Protection Services took the baby and might take Alvaro and his little sister also. The mom was on meth during the entire pregnancy. We are not sure how the baby is. She herself (with 11 other siblings!) was born to a mother who was also on drugs. Her one arm is not developed, she can’t really use it, yet she was not able to stay off drugs during her pregnancy.
Alvaro is her oldest child. He definitely has some issues with attention and comprehension. He has a hard time sitting still, usually struggles through homework club. Every day when he is finally done with his homework and receives his “Soccer Pass Card” he flies with it to the field behind the building to play soccer. On the field he is a different child. He is poised, focused and gets into the zone. He shows natural ability and enjoys the game. At prayer time he is one of those who likes to jump up into our neck and be held till we have to leave. He is a sweet kid. We SO hope that growing up he will have the inner strength to break the cycle.
Last night around 8:30 we sat down to have dinner when 4 boys were knocking on our door. I should say one was doing the knocking because the other three were already sitting and dangling their feet at our patio table. They wanted to know if we would let the dogs out so they could play with them. We did, but we knew that their visit was about more than just that. When we asked if they were hungry, they answered with enthusiastic nodding. We had some good cake left over from our lunch guests, so we cut some nice slices for them and sat out with them to talk.
It was dark already. All of a sudden we heard some loud yelling and a few seconds later we saw blue and red lights and a police car flew past the left side of our patio. It was going so fast that I almost expected a big crash at the end of the ally because it is not long at all. All of a sudden everyone fled. Not just the boys, but the people who were sitting on the patios of the neighboring buildings. Then we saw another police car and police men running around on the other side of our patio. We were just standing there trying to understand what was going on when our neighbor signaled to us not to stand there but to go inside our apartment. So we did. And since one of the boys, Emilio got stuck there with us we brought him in too.
Emilio is a sweet little boy. He always looks into our eyes with his large, brown eyes. His face radiates openness, honesty and innocence, … but he rarely smiles. He lives with his aunt and uncle and his two cousins in a room across our apartment. We don’t know what happened to his parents.
Trying to lighten up the tension in the air, we started to play Hoppers with him, a logical game with frogs and Lilly pads. He got into it surprisingly fast and enjoyed the challenge. About half an hour past when we couldn’t hear any sound of trouble from outside, so we walked him home. We asked our neighbor what happened earlier. She said the police was chasing a guy who was running from them with a gun. She also told us that unfortunately some gang members just got out of jail and were back in the community. This is not good news.