The facility housed boys from ages 5-18.
This is how I explain it...
the boys were in this facility because of something that was done to them to where they couldn't live in normal society OR because of something that they did to someone else where they couldn't live in normal society.
Needless to say, this was a very tough job.
I sat and ate lunch with boys who were molested and raped and in turn were bragging about how they molested and raped others.
I broke up violent fights.
I talked with a boy who feared for his life because of some of the other boys who he was housed with.
I had chairs thrown at me.
I had a shank (homemade knife) pulled out on me during a fight with another individual as I tried to break up the fight.
I untied the knots of boys who tried to commit suicide and cried with them as they sat in their hopelessness.
I chased and hunted for boys that broke out of the facility.
I was spit on and bit.
I sat and cried with a boy who just found out he had full blown AIDS and didn't know why he was taking all this medicine.
I taught boys that couldn't spell their name at 15 years old how to spell their name.
Before working there, I thought I knew what "being a Christian" was all about.
The truth came from some very strange places in the Bible (outlaws, prostitutes, homelessness people and loners) and it comes from some very strange places today.
Jesus ran with a very edgy group of individuals.
He warned the 'religious people' about labels and assumptions of others.
So those that we are calling "lost" and "hopeless" might be closer to the Kingdom than we are.
This facility taught me a lot about life.
It taught me that I was blessed.
It taught me that I was NO DIFFERENT than these boys except for the Grace of God.
I learned to talk less and listen more.
I stopped trying to figure things out.
I learned that life can't be taken for granted.
I used to think that ministry/Christianity/evangelism was all about trying to "fix" others.
But maybe it's less about trying to "fix" people and more about baring their pain, helping carry their burdens, loving them through their deemed hopelessness, crying with them, punching walls with them...all the while showing them who Jesus was and what he was all about.
I don't know.
Just some thoughts.
What are your thoughts?