|carlos (left) with josue|
a couple weeks ago, he told us he was going to quit his English classes. he said it had gotten too hard, and he was finished.
didn't see that one coming. he was doing great- speaking english to us every day. he was passionate about it. he had dreams associated with it. an already charismatic kid, he wanted to work in tourism - maybe at a hotel or resort in Antigua.
we heard from other players that he had started hanging with some wrong people who were influencing him. we sat down to talk with him several times about it all. no matter what we said, it didn't matter... he was done.
a couple days ago, we had our final talk about it. he asked me if i was mad. i said no, but that i was disappointed. i told him i thought he was being an idiot for throwing this opportunity in the garbage.
i remember telling him that, while there is nothing wrong with working the fields, that this decision, at age 18, could possibly mean that's where he's headed. there just aren't a lot of other options for young men in our village without an education.
i told him that when he leaves the academy at the end of the day, the door is closed. you can't come back in a week - a month - saying "i made a poor decision, can i change my mind?". i explained that this is a big-boy decision and that he's going to have to live with it. (there are past experiences that i felt dictated this approach.)
at the end of practice, carlos came up to me. said that he felt a burning in his chest. he said he knew it was God, telling him he was making a mistake. with tear filled eyes, he asked me to forgive him. "i don't want to quit. i want to keep going. the things you told me are true. i want to do more with my life."
sweet moments such as these are often times the wind in my sail. there are so many days with no wind. just seemingly sitting out there, floating along. but it's working. little by little... one conversation at a time... one day at a time... one boy at a time.
that night, a young man in his twenties who was visiting with a mission group shared his testimony with the all the boys. raw and beautiful, he shared about his absent father, his struggle with drugs and alcohol, and the death of his little brother. as he struggled through his words and emotions, he said, "i've had a hard life, made a lot of mistakes, and continue to make a lot of mistakes. but i will not quit. i am not a quitter. with God, i can keep going, i can face anything. he will always be there for me."
right then, i looked at carlos. he had tears in his eyes. the second i saw it, i immediately teared up as well. i winked at him and he smiled back.
for now, carlos is not quitting.