￼ Have you ever driven past someone on the street corner asking for money, food, or even a simple smile and wondered what kind of potential does this person have? What’s their story? How did they get there? What events spiraled into being on the streets? Do they have family? Do they have anyone?
A few short weeks ago I had the privilege of getting to know the streets of Santa Cruz. It’s a typical city... very busy, filled with rushed people. It’s easy to overlook others. There’s a street corner in this city with an old gray mattress filled with 7 boys who call this their “home”. The corner that people avoid at all costs. The corner that is struck with despair, hurt, and desperation. The corner that screams potential, but lacks the opportunity or resources. Amidst these ashes of brokenness, God has given us eyes to see the beauty of the brokenness. I prayed that God would break my heart for what breaks His and He sure did. After getting to know these boys individually, my heart aches for these precious souls.
These guys may be toughies on the outside, but they are most certainly softies on the inside. Each and every one of those souls has a story to tell. For whatever reason, each of them ended up on the streets, but they are in search of something deeper. That constant feeling of knowing “this can’t be all life has to offer.” The streets that are filled with spiraling addictions, lack of opportunity, and darkness that spreads like wildfire. They are trapped in this difficult life that appears to have no open doors. But we know that God can bring hope to these boys. He can bring a hope to their future, and most importantly, he can bring a hope to their eternity.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
These are not “just street boys.” These are children of God who are NO different than you or me. When you look at someone the way Jesus views someone, I promise your perspective will change. We see broken and Jesus sees beautiful. He turnes ashes into beauty. He brings light to the darkness. We alone cannot change their lives, but we know God is so much bigger than us. He has placed these boys in our lives for us to share the hope of Jesus. The hope for a future.
We shared many raw and real moments with these boys. Sometimes we laughed so hard we cried (occasionally due to my Spanish mishaps, like confusing the words grandpa and soccer player.) We had a few hospital visits, we treated cuts and wounds, embarked on ice cream outings, buying needed clothes, going to church, food outings, playing soccer, swimming in the river, and certainly walked through many moments of sadness, anger, and frustration. But there is nothing more beautiful than going through those raw life moments with Jesus at the center of it all. ￼ ￼
To be honest, I am counting down the days to return to this country that has captured my heart. Though I may not be able to physically be there, I know that we can be praying fervently for these beautiful souls. Would you join us in praying for them and their future? We pray for Lily who is living down there, and that God would be able to use to her touch many lives. We pray these boys would know how LOVED they truly are.
Hebrews 6:19-20 “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.”