I help out with Bible Club sometimes on Tuesday evenings. Lots of these kids come from the neighborhood and love the games, stories, songs, and snacks provided. I see how they respond to each individual section of the two-hour fun and learning time.
One little boy (I'll call him Ricky, and that's NOT his name, of course) is about eleven. Very mischievous, a troublemaker, and a kid that craves love. He readily admits to stealing and being thrown out of stores, forbidden to return. He brags about the trouble he gets into at school, teases the other kids and sometimes refuses to participate in activities even at Bible Club.
Why does he continue to come? Who knows? Maybe he's urged to come by parents who want some free time. Maybe he comes to be with friends. Or maybe he does come because he senses someone loves him.
Last night we sent chocolate roses home with any of the kids who wanted them. It was a favorite! Eyes lit up. They lifted and admired the boxes the roses came in. Some couldn't stand it, and eventually opened and ate the chocolate.
But Ricky gave his decision about what he'd do with the TWO roses he had, when he left the bus: "I'm going to give one to my mom and one to my dad. I don't know why I'm going to give one to my dad."
My heart expanded with love for this growing into a teenager youngster. Sometimes dirty, definitely ornery, and a homely little fellow, grew lovelier with those simple two sentences. Down in the depths of his inner being was something that made him think of some one besides himself.
Maybe, just maybe, he could be salvaged from the life of crime for which he seemed to be heading.
Dear Lord, show your love through me to this young boy.
Hold a true friend with both your hands. --Nigerian proverb