Monday, June 30, 2008
I've been wanting to share Saviour's story with you for a while now, but I've been struggling to find the right words and the appropriate amount to share so you can share my burdened heart without violating privacy etc
Anyways, we had a big event at our church for the kids from downtown on friday night (which was amazing by the way!) and Saviour and his brother Sincere got into a fist fight which resulted in me getting punched in the face (accidentally I'm choosing to believe) - so I decided it was time to jump right in and tell you their story in hopes (belief really) that your prayers will make a difference.
Saviour (his real name) goes by "Sabo" so I'll use that instead because I always find it a little weird to call someone other than Jesus "Saviour" . . . Anyways, Sabo is ten years old, although by looking at him and interacting with him you would probably guess him to be at least fifteen. Of course, he's been through more in his ten short years than many people experience in a lifetime, so the maturity (well not so much maturity as a certain hardness) is understandable. Sabo has an older brother and an older sister, although the older brother doesnt live with them. He also has a younger brother (Sincere who is eight) and a younger sister (Samaya, she's six). They live in one of the Atlanta housing projects in the heart of downtown Atlanta (which means they live in a tiny, unairconditioned apartment - which should be outlawed in GA summer by the way) Just under a year ago, Sabo's mom died. And since, like most of his friends, Sabo doesnt know his dad, it fell to his grandmother to take responsibility for Sabo and his siblings.
Unfortunately, Sabo's grandmother is bedridden. She does her best to look after them - but five kids (plus cousins are often staying there as well) are a lot to look after from a cot in a scorching hot apartment. When I signed the kids up for summer camp this year, I discovered she doesn't know their birthdays, whether or not they have health insurance or how old they are. Y'all, my heart broke with that realization. I mean, I dont know how they get fed or bathed or clothed or hugged.
I do know that their older sister (I think she's fifteen) helps take care of them - but I also know that the other kids inform me that "she doesn't mess around" when they get in trouble, which means that she probably "whoops" them plenty.
One of the moms who lives in their housing project was telling me that Sabo and Sincere have been in serious trouble ever since their mom died, they get kicked out of school, their teachers cant handle them and no one knows what to do with them. And truthfully, Saviour and Sincere are two of the hardest, most trouble-making kids at Metro Kidz, but it's impossible for me to feel anything but love and empathy for them, no matter how many times they get in fist fights, and even when I end up in the middle getting punched in the face.
Because how do you expect kids who are less than ten years old to understand the teachings of Jesus when they've never experienced anything close to the love and grace of Jesus? In fact, when Sabo found out that Sincere punched me in the face, he asked me if I wanted him to "beat the crap out of Sincere" for me. I told him I forgave Sincere and that the Bible tells us to be kind to those who hurt us -- Sabo responded by giving me a disgusted look and asking "who taught you that?!"
I share this story to ask you to come alongside Adam and I in praying for this family, praying that Jesus' love might shine through us and shed some light in their dark situation. We dont know how to keep these kids from ending up in prison, but we know that Jesus is bigger than their circumstances and that He can do anything!