wilmer is 16 years old, and has been the "man of the house" for most of his life. his dad took off when he was little.
he has been with us since we opened the doors of the boys academy, and i've known him since he was around 12.
he has almost quit the academy 2 or 3 times. not because he wants to - in fact he's one of our most loyal Rhinos. but he has tremendous pressure to be working to help his family. each time, we've convinced him and his mom to let him stay - that the long term benefit will be greater. occasionally we'll give him some work so he can earn some money.
wilmer texted me a message to my phone a couple days ago that left me in tears - and encouraged to keep doing what we're doing. it reminded me that God is working...
"Hi brother Brock. Do you know something? For me, you are more than a friend. The truth is, for me you are like my dad. I have never known the love of a father. But now i am learning what it is. Thank you, dad. You are always in my heart. You can count on me for anything. I love you, dad."
re-writing his message in english... it is even more powerful to me than when i read it in spanish. this comes from a 16yr old who has had a very rough life. he has grown up in an extremely macho street-culture. but his heart is softening. praise Jesus.
i am reminded of the scripture that is on the wall at the entrance of the academy:
"Let us not grow weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9