These are three of the kids I worked with in the “hood.” I am frustrated because I can’t remember two of the boys names. But I have been thinking about them a lot this week. Wondering if they are safe and happy. The one in red last I checked didn’t have a place to live. The homes they had rented were dumps and not taken care of by the landlords. The last place they were in was surrounded by crack houses. About four miles from my house. They used to live one block over. They went from bad to worse as far as housing goes. I have no way to get hold of them anymore. And I think about them often.
I had a conversation once with the boy laughing in the white. We were laying on the grassy hill looking at clouds and he said, ” Jody, I would like to be sitting on a cloud.”
“I bet I could see God up there.”
“That would be nice”
“I wonder if God has any kids?”
“He does. A Son. ”
“What’s his name?”
“Does God have a wife?”
“No, but Jesus has a mother.”
“My mom and dad aren’t married either.”
“Would you like to know more about Jesus?”
“Yes, that would be cool.”
And so I told him the story.
We had another conversation once while playing cards on the stoop.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I asked.
” A basketball player.”
“Because they make lots of money and play a fun game. I like basketball.”
A plane flies overhead and we look up at it. “Did you know you could fly a plane and get paid lots of money too?”
“What?! That’s a job?”
“You betcha! I have friends who fly planes for work. Would you like to meet them someday?”
“Wow! That would be so cool!”
Kids in the hood had three choices for jobs in their mind. Basketball or Football, Rapper or Movie Star, Drug Dealer. Those were their choices. They wanted big money, fast, so they could get their families out of the “hood”. Going to school took a long time and a lot of money. It seemed too out of reach for them. So sharing with this little boy another type of job was a big deal to me. I wanted them to see what was out there. I wanted them to see what comes from hard work and discipline.
I wasn’t perfect in this mission field, I didn’t always want to play. But when I was with them, I was on top of the world. I really miss them. The kids in the hood used to chase my car when I would leave for work and say, “There she is! Look there’s the teacher! Hi Teacher!” It was like being in a movie.
There were some heartbreaks there, and some tough lessons I went through with the kids, but it was well worth it. I hope what God taught them through me stuck with them, and they are remembering a way of peace in the valley of death.
After you read this, maybe you can send up a prayer for them. I am sure they could use it. Couldn’t all of us?