“Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy.”
It's not uncommon for us to see a couple of police cars stopped in our neighborhood with their lights flashing, while the officers are questioning someone or stopping/responding to a crime. And, every time it does happen, we pray for those involved and hope it is nobody we serve.
One night while taking a letter to the mailbox, I stopped to observe one of these situations. As I was standing there a family (mom, grandma, and two young boys) come up from the scene, pass me and turn around the corner. They recognize me and we get to talking about what was happening.
The police were at their house. The boys' uncle had gotten “drunk and violent again”. He pushed their grandpa into a TV and was threatening the others. The family left the scene because they were scared. They didn't have anywhere else to go, so they came toward our community. We invited them in to relax, seek refuge and peace and wait for the situation to settle and the officers to finish their work. The two young boys, whom we knew from our weekly Kids' Club, came in, while the adults took care of the unfortunate business of that night .
They boys watched TV, ate chips and told us about school.
A few things impressed me, and I think they are worth sharing with you.
The first is that the family knew we were a safe place of refuge. When they had no sanctuary elsewhere, they came toward our community.
Secondly, the kids recognized me, even though I am not a part of the Kids' Club team, just my presence in the neighborhood was enough.
Lastly, I found it moving that, in the middle of family chaos, the boys were thrilled to be with us. One told me casually, after I asked him what happened, “Oh, my tio was drinking and got mad again.” It was as if it happened everyday. The other boy simply ignored the situation and told me news about an award he was getting in school the next day, and how instead of having to wear the school uniform he was allowed to wear whatever he wanted! It is striking how these boys were over hearing bad news, and wanted to focus on the good. This family, and many like it, are the reason we are here doing what we are doing. They are desperately overburdened with bad news and horrible circumstances and they are so ready to hear some good news.
We are so glad to be living testimonies of the Good News of Jesus and are thrilled to be able to share it with those that are longing to hear a message that says: someone loves them and there is a place of refuge and peace for them.