The command in the Great Commission in Matthew 28 is a big command. The first part is the “Go”-ing. Then it’s, “make disciples.” Then in verse 20 it’s “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.” All commands. That is a lot of information to share with people. It’s a lot to share with one person let alone 38 boys at our academy. Well we have done the “Go”-ing and these last few weeks we have began the “Teach”-ing. We are sharing the word of God with kids who have never heard it before or who don’t really understand what it means for their lives. But they are also sharing their lives with us.
Jesus was a great listener. A man who truly listened to listen and not to just listen to speak. I mean sometime when he spoke, his own disciples didn’t know what he meant. That is true still today. Sometimes we don’t know what the Holy Spirit is wanting from us. How we interpret what we know or what we feel in the Spirit is tough sometimes. But I do know this. The Great Commission changes the lives of so many. The goal is to spread the Good News. But for me, listening like Christ listened, to hear someone out of love, is changing my life.
This week I learned about the homes these boys live in. I learned about their parents or guardians. I even learned about their understanding of the Bible. Two things stuck out to me that I wanted to share with you.
First, a lot of these kids live without love from anyone here. Hard to imagine, a kid that has no one to love him. True love from a parent or family member. In the Bible Hell is described as a place where you are cut off from the love of God. Well these kids don’t know God’s love yet so they are without the true love of a parent. This seems a lot like their own personal hell. As a result some of these boys are cut off from their own emotions. They don’t know how to let anyone care about them and getting them to open up is going to take a lot of time and patience. The message we have been trying to share with them these last couple of weeks is that we love you because Christ loves us an he loves you. For these boys, they need to hear the word “love.” They need to know that it existence for them without them having to earn it. That the love we have and the love that Christ has for them is real. The mission is real.
Secondly the education system here has failed these kids. Fail is a word that implies an attempt to accomplish, something and it didn’t work. Well I don’t even believed the education system here really even tried. We have 14-16 year old boys that learned this week how to use their fingers to add 8+6=. One of our boys, Jacob is 16 years old and can’t multiple 2×6. As I am working with him in the academy, I just watched him struggle to finger out the answers. He tried and tried to figure it out on his own. As we went through a few problems together, I fought to hold back the tears. Tears for him. How hard it must have been for him, it probably still is. He wants to know the answers but doesn’t have the basic understanding of how the problem works. How hard it must have been over the last few years in school to just go through the motions. My heart broke again when I realized that his future is so limited. He can’t do math and we don’t have enough time with him at the age of 16 to truly improve his future job opportunities. But we can give him something. We can give him our time, our love, our encouragement, our dedication. We can share with him the Love that Christ has for him and not just change his life but change his Eternity. The mission is real.
We need a school here in Travesia. Our prayers are for that to happen. The public school is truly just a place for these kids to go to hold them in one place for a few hours a day. The teachers, who I have met, label all of our older boys as “trouble or lost” They have written them off. From their perspective I can’t say they are wrong. With the tools, teachers, resources and lack of care or direction, these boys are in trouble and lost.
I don’t like thinking this. I really don’t like saying this. I try and be a person that thinks with hard work and time you can change any kid, and that may be true. But for our older boys, we only have a couple years with them at most. Then God speaks to me and says, “just plant the seed, and I will take care of the rest.” So we plant, we water, we tend for weeds and we give them plenty of sunshine. We are trusting that the miracle of growth will be taken care by our Lord.
The mission is REAL!