…on my way home I knew that I would be passing by my community.
I have been in the process of getting to know about five families to build rapport and trust with the parents so that they will allow their children to be involved in our programs and summer camp.
I began to pray and ask God,
“Lord, please open up an opportunity with a family so that I can pour out your love this afternoon.”
I picked up my phone and called “Toony.”
She is a single mom who had recently moved to escape the difficulties she and her children were facing…her ex-husband just got out out of prison for attempted murder…
Toony’s son is ADD/ADHD and is sometimes abusive towards her; and her daughter gets in fights frequently because other girls pick on her.
I called three times. No answer.
I called one more time, she picked up, and after I reminded her of who I was her voice lit up and she was so excited to hear from me.
I asked her if I could come by and meet her son. She said yes.
What on earth was I going to talk with a 13 year old boy about?
I was empty.
I had nothing.
Would I get there and just hear a silent ringing, or crickets chirping, while we looked at each other in awkwardness?
I decided to bring milkshakes.
He greeted me as I gave him the milkshake. I shared for two minutes about The Center, gave my testimony, and told him why I have an interest in his life…
All of a sudden he ran out of the room.
He soon returned…with the trophy he had been awarded in football and showed me his team and individual football picture.
He began to share his life.
He told me about his joy of learning, spending time with his grandparents in N.C., and his joy of sports.
He told me about his mess ups and how his mom intervened and took him off the football team as a repercussion for bad grades and getting into trouble and agreed that his mom acted in his best interest!
We talked for over an hour and I shared with him that I’d like to spend some time with him and get him involved in the Center programs.
He said he’d like that.
In fact, he was so excited that someone who cared about his life came to talk with him that he didn’t take one sip of his milkshake!
Maybe I’ll get to see him enjoy another one soon!
I think I have my first kid recruited into the program; his name is Carlos.
I picked him up from home, met with the other Secondary-Nurturers and their kids and then we went bowling.
While we were at the church, Carlos saw another young man, Samuel, and they started snappin’ at one another.
Carlos just got suspended from school for fighting and I thought to myself,
“Great. Now he’s gonna’ get into a fight and get suspended from The Center and he’s not even in our program yet.”
At the dinner table, Samuel was telling Carlos,
“I’m gonna call yo Daddy and tell ‘im you got suspended. Then he’s gonna whoop yo butt!”
I chimed in,
“Ya’ll aren’t into tattle-telling are you?”
As if I were challenging them to grow up a little.
Carlos looked at me and said,
“Joseph, this is my brother. We’ve got different Mommas but the same Daddy.”
They were chummy the rest of the night, like brothers can be!
In part one of this story I told you how the Holy Spirit prompted me to call Carlos’s mom, Toony.
What if I had been disobedient, did not listen to the Spirit’s promptings, and gave up when getting the answering machine three times?
I’m not trying to pat myself on the back, but what I am trying to point to is the powerful prodding and unction the Spirit of God puts on us…
…especially when we have a mandate to go and make disciples.
Moreover, my hope is not that doing fun things with Carlos will make him a better person, student, and son…
…our center is just a tool, it won’t save or make a disciple out of Carlos …
…that is my task.
And if I do not carry out this mandate, not only have I failed God, but I have failed Carlos as well.
My desire is to substitute candy for milk and hopefully…Lord willing…meat.
I told him on the way home that The Center wasn’t only committed to having fun but we were…I was… committed to walk with him through life, as much as God permits.
“I’ll be picking you up Friday around 5:30 for the C.O.R.P.S (Christ Our Real Power Source-for the newbies at The Center) retreat, ” I said.
“That’s cool, ” he said.
Next, it’s summer camp. Then, it is the Community Development and Leadership Program, a.k.a.: Discipleship.
God is not only reuniting us to Him, He is reuniting families as well.
Only the strategic and powerful work of Christ can do such a thing…in Carlos’ life…in my life…in your life.
My heart is overflowing with gratitude for allowing me to be a conduit, a clay pipe (connected with others) that distributes God’s life giving water from the source!
God is not only sustaining my faith but ever increasing it to believe Him in his promise that,
“He who began the good work will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns (Philippians 1:6, NLT).
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