I have now said farewell to my little group of young people who were attending the parenting course at the drop-in centre. I am so thankful for all that God is doing in the lives of those who attended and who will continue to attend. More than anything else, the young people began to see God as their true Father and began to have a different image of a 'father' to what they had before. They began to see themselves through different eyes - through God's eyes, and not through the eyes of those who have, and still do judge them. They began to understand what God's grace means, that they could be forgiven and receive his gift of a 'Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.' (in the words of 'the Jesus Storybook Bible').
I am so thankful that God gave me the opportunity to touch these young people's lives, and to have my life touched by them too. I am also so thankful for Katherine who has led the group with me and who has been an amazing support and encouragement. I have now handed over the group to her and Carmen to continue to be God's instruments to bring words of life and hope to the young people that attend. Please pray for them.
A couple of weeks ago I asked the young people to write God an honest letter to tell him how they were feeling at that moment. Several of them wrote letters, but I thought I would include a few so that you can pray for what they are going through, but also to be encouraged at how they are seeking God in their situations. (I haven't included names to protect their privacy):
For God, our Father,
Hi God, I hope that with this letter I can ask you to help me control my anger, my sadness, my loneliness, and help my family and my sister, my father, even though I don't have them now, you know where they are, I know that you can see them and that you can help them to keep going. But I ask you for the family that I am making (he and his partner were expecting a baby together, but unfortunately they have now split up) and pray that you give me strength to keep going. But you know that the person that I wanted to be and that I wanted to become, is not what I am now, but you know that I never went backwards, only tried to go forwards. I give you thanks that you have given me the opportunity to make a family, I pray that you won't leave me and that I can keep going forwards.
For: My Father Jesus Christ,
My dear Father, I recognise that I have behaved badly and that I have sinned. You know everything, you know what has happened, what life I have led, I feel really bad, and I honestly don't know how to cope with my feelings and I ask you that you give me a blessing so that I can be a different person in this life. Please help me as well with the partner that I have now and with the child that is on the way. I know that I have behaved badly and I don't treat her nicely, but I know that you will guide me.
Lord, before anything else I come before you with a the motive to thank you for the opportunities that day after day you give me. I want to offer you my heart - that you would heal it, so that I can please you. And I ask you that you would really be my light and my path. Please help me not to continue in my sin and to live in wisdom in order to give my daughter a good example.
Thank you God for those that have taught us your word. Thank you God that my family is now united, thank you for my life, thank you for rescuing me from the drugs, thank you because I know that you are going to change Blanca (his partner) - change her mind and heart.
These young people still have a lot to learn! But they have also come so far! The beautiful thing is that they are so hungry to know God and come to Him in all their 'rawness' and brokenness and are so thankful to God for all that He gives to them (even if in the world's eyes it seems like they have nothing). Please continue to pray for Katherine, Carmen and the group.
We also had a special little farewell party with everyone at the drop-in centre last week. We will tell you more about that next time!