Sometimes I realize that I’m from a different world. Sure, inconsequential ways of thinking remind me of my American culture… like how I believe a sandwich is a perfectly respectable lunch… or the absolute need to have a book with me wherever I go because I will probably have to stand in a ridiculously long line… But today, after an amazing Bible club and youth group in my friend’s house, I realized that I tend to still see life from a different angle; an angle where people are good and crime doesn’t affect decision making. I don’t know what world I’m living in, but that’s not real life in Ecuador, or the United States. (Do you leave your house unlocked?)
So after my friend’s house was invaded by 40 kids for an hour and a half, we started preparing for youth group. We had been meeting on her “front porch”, a small enclosed area where we could fit about 4 chairs, and prop the rest of us around the ledge. It wasn’t the most comfortable meeting area, but with about 7 youth coming out to our new group, it was informal and inviting. When we grew to about 10, it became impractical. Last week, with 14 kids, we went inside my friend’s house. Much better! We didn’t have enough chairs, but we shared, and 2 got a hammock. This week, my friend was hesitant about using the inside. Understandable! She has a husband and 2 kids, and her house has been taken over from 2:30 – 8:00. If it were me, I’m sure I would rather the group meet out on the front porch so the rest of my family could have the 2 room house to themselves. After her brief hesitation, my amiga set up inside for the youth. Good thing too as 16 showed up, a record after 9 weeks of this ministry! While we discussed our time after youth group ended, I brought up the issue of occupying her entire house for 5 hours on a Sunday. She assured me that that wasn’t the issue. The reality of the matter is, that those teenagers who were sitting around her house in a circle, with Bibles on their laps, learning about Jesus and His disciples, could very possibly be involved with, or be themselves, “the bad guys”. We don’t know these kids yet. What if they see the lack of security in her house? What if they decide they want that new fan that we bought for the ministry or that old radio that we use? I hadn’t thought about the real risk of inviting these kids into my friend’s home for a weekly Bible study, but she had- and let them in anyway.
We had some “rough” ones out tonight. We got some looks from the neighbors as they joined our circle. We are there for them. Jesus is there for them, just like he is there for me! These kids need a hope and a future, and we want to introduce them to the One who is offering just that.