so many deep things going on lately. i could choose from 10 with this blog. but i find myself thinking about julio right now.
we sent him back home on tuesday, after spending the last 5 days with us in our home. he had surgery on his toe last week - two pins inserted - and doctor's orders were a calm environment with virtually no activity. knowing his home is the opposite of that, he stayed with us until he got his hard cast put on.
as a side note, he broke his toe in the final game of an 8-week tournament the week before. it happened early in the second half... he limped around clearly in pain but unwilling to come out of the game... and made the game winning goal in the last minute or so. 3 days later we got it x-ray'd and the bone had not only broken clean through, but had separated so far that it needed 2 pins to join it back together. another reminder of how incredibly tough of these kids are...
anyway, as kerrie and i laid in bed talking tuesday night, we were sharing about how much we missed him already. he's been such a pleasure to have in our home. he eased in to life with our family so well. he sat in our family devotions. my girls really enjoyed hanging out with him. his great personality came to life even more during his time here. jake was with him 24/7, helping him get around, playing xbox, watching movies, etc... just trying to keep him entertained. and andrea (2yrs old)... man... she loved julio before, but now is in love with him like her own brother. kerrie cared for him like her own, and i enjoyed the many deep conversations God allowed us to have.
today, in the car coming back from the hospital, he broke the silence with this: "brock, i want to thank you for all you've done for me. your family makes me feel special. i love being with your family. i really like how your family loves each other and does things together. i want to have a family like that someday."
i write his words in tears. for those of you that know our ministry, you know that, aside from all the programs we have in place (soccer, devotions, class, etc), our prayer and mission is that the boys will learn how to be men/husbands/fathers by example. to hear julio's thoughts reminded me that by example is the best way to teach. for 5 days in our home, he saw with his eyes what he hears from us with his ears every day. i was reminded that our simple model - life with the boys - is working.
however, i was also saddened with the rest of the conversation. i asked julio if he was excited to go back home. he said not really. i asked him who he missed the most. he said not really anyone. he told me that he and his dad never talk (ever), and that they aren't really close as a family.
and julio's family is best case scenario in this village.
i encouraged him that he can be a big part of changing things. to take what he "desires" for his own family, and initiate some new things in his current family to make it a warmer place.
more than anything, i feel a sense of thankfulness in my heart that julio's house, when he is leading his own family, will be a place of love, faith, and joy. and i praise God that we get to be a part of that change process.