Tuesday, March 20, 2012

When the streets find your home...

(Ok, before I get to this serious post... Is it REALLY MARCH 20 and I'm JUST NOW posting my first post in MARCH?!?!?! Maybe I could blame the 30 member vision team that came, or KGs 4th bought of malaria, or E's stomach virus, or Zack's finger infection, or us being extremely short staffed, or KG's allergic reaction, or what I'm about to write about... But I'd just be lying. I'm a blog neglector... it's true. forgive me.)

Last Friday evening, I found myself opening the door to something pretty special.

I opened the door and am certain the look on my face was one of confusion. (they try to train you in grad school to control your facial expressions, but I'm certain I failed at that moment.) Some of the kids who were hanging out at our house came carrying big bags full of stuff and saying "they've come to stay with you." WHO? And around the corner crept 4 teenage boys with sheepish grins on their faces... like "hey... uh... haha... kinda need a place to live right now." There wasn't a moment of consultation, Shane and I both grabbed their bags and welcomed them in.

This is where the streets found our home.

You see, these boys aren't just "any" boys. They used to live on the streets... not just for a day or two, but for YEARS they lived on the streets. Some had abusive homes that drove them to the streets. Some had families force them to live on the streets and beg. Some had no family at all. Either way, they all had one thing in common... life on the streets. This life consisted of abuse, sometimes drugs, and a true "survival of the fittest" mentality.

BUT God had a plan for their lives. About 3-4 years ago, they were rescued from the streets. They were trained in structure, and given the nurture of Jesus Christ.

But this day, they faced the choice of living in a situation that wasn't healthy for them, or going to the streets. They desired to leave, and were told to go.

And they came to us.

There was no way that our spirit would let them go back to that life on the street, not even for one day.

Yes, you may think we are crazy... careless... or thoughtless. But if you were in my house this weekend, I can promise you a few things:

1. If you didn't know they had lived on the streets, you would have NEVER known.
(actually, I'd be honored if someone tried to give me credit for raising these boys)

2. You would have been amazed at the work ethic and respect that NATURALLY flowed from them... truly the fruits of the Spirit flowed out of them.

3. You would have laughed your head off.

4. You would have had the opportunity to have conversations with them about how hard, yet worth it, making life change really is.

5. You would have seen them truly enjoy being around our kids, and you would have seen our kids enjoy having 4 big brothers around the house.

6. Your pantry would be empty.

7. You would see them for who they are... P is the clown, JR is the "tough guy", F is the smarty pants, and E is the super sweet, try really really hard kind of guy.

8. You would see brotherhood at its finest. They keep each other in line, and hold each other to a high standard.

And my favorite memory of the weekend was this:

We went to a pizza joint that we frequent. Our family is there often, and it happens to be where many of the street kids are... begging for food. We've tried to build a relationship with some of the boys there. They know that they can "watch" our car, and we give them dinner. It's our deal. Even our kids give them the food, we aren't afraid... and they've never tried to be rough to them. (now, each other... that's another story)
So... here we are... our "family" for the weekend... 4 FORMER street boys. We eat until our bellies are going to explode. We had an entire pizza left (because we really have NO IDEA how many pizza's 4 teenage boys can eat). Before we even mentioned giving it... the boys looked through the iron bars that separated us from the streets... and saw them. I believe they saw what COULD HAVE BEEN in their own lives. They said "can we give it to them?" And of course, we said yes. They each took some food over and gave it to the street boys. (I could have fallen in the floor crying if it wouldn't cause a scene.) I saw the street boys looking as we were eating. They know our boys. Maybe they lived together on the streets. They see the life change. And I believe they want it to. That's the power of the Gospel. What you see in E, P, JR, and F... it's simply the power of JESUS CHRIST in their lives. They will say it themselves. They know truth. And now, they are living it out...

We are thankful that God reunified them with the people who have walked with them through their journey of change. They are in a great place. The best place for them.

I, however, will always treasure conversations that were had... and I am so terribly grateful we were able to be the safety net... and in turn start a wonderful relationship with 4 of the most amazing young men.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and the new has come." 2 Cor 5:17


  1. In tears my friend. Continually challenged, encouraged, and built up in the faith by watching you guys live out the Gospel.

  2. You are right. I think that you are crazy - crazy for Jesus. Michael and I just said this weekend that you and Shane seem so at "home". You are living out the good works that He prepared for you before time, and I love reading about the adventures. Walk on, sister.

  3. Mitzi, I LOVE this post. It made me chuckle, it made me choke up. So thankful for your presence there. Our prayers are with you every day.

  4. As always, beautifully written and so clearly conveys your heart, but even more importantly, the heart of Christ. Love this and love you. Honored we were able to be with you just for a few days. Praying for all of y'all!

  5. Amen! Love this post and I love E, P, JR, and F! God's love is a powerful thing!

  6. I love your story and ministry..I have been to Namibia 3 times now on short term missions trips and have worked with kids there,what a special blessing <3 I absolutely have a heart for Africa and the people there.May God continue to bless your ministries.

  7. You were right i am very proud. what a blessing to see them through your eyes. thanks so much for spoiling them. they will tell the tales of that weekend for a long time. but most of all, thanks for standing in the gap. you are a blessing!

  8. Thank you for your love for God's family! I have experienced His love in you and Shane and it inspires me and makes me keep my eyes open to do the same. Prayers coming your way as you serve him so well! Love to you all there!

  9. Mitzi, were they part of the nearby ministry taking in street kids that shared with us when there?

    Chris Freeman

  10. In tears. And I don't think you are crazy at all. I think you are obedient to His lead, that's why He brought those boys to you and Shane. Faithful in the small things...faithful in much. Many, many blessings to you all.

  11. What a beautiful testimony of being Jesus to others!! Thanks for sharing - an inspiration.