it may sound cliche, but i liken our work here to a roller coaster ride. right when things begin to move along smoothly, then comes that slow awkward climb upward - where you brace yourself for the chaos that you know is about to take place.
that chaotic, scarey, downward drop is exactly where we are.
a few months ago, we had an eruption of boys coming to faith in jesus. genuine life-changing decisions were made, sincere brokenness and confession led to decisions to accept Christ and begin a new life in him. we celebrated together as a ministry, and began a specific discipleship effort to prepare these guys for what lies ahead.
as those who know our style here at bvsa already know, we don't do fake. "formal", "churchy", "exterior", "appropriate", "act-the-part" - are all ideas that are unacceptable. if we're not going to be real, if we're not going to go deep, then we believe we are wasting our time.
since the explosion of decisions for christ, its been an absolute battle. as we dig deep with each new believer - in an attempt to teach them about true grace and forgiveness - we are finding the dark stains in the depth of their hearts that God wants to heal.
deep history of abuse, pornography addictions, compulsive lying, sexual sin, blatant two-faced hypocrisy, homosexual urges, drinking and smoking addictions... just to name a few!
as these things get revealed in the life of a teenage boy, the response is almost always embarrassment, followed by denial. one day the heart is soft and workable, and the next day hard as a rock. one day he's leaning on us or his teammates for support, the next day he's a no-show and out in the street telling people how this academy is a joke.
the process is brutal. i remember how hard it was for me personally when i confessed my reprehensible sin - when my darkest secrets were brought into light. i remember feeling like i was barely hanging on.
when you are going through it, it is almost impossible to foresee the goodness of God's grace that awaits. no matter what anyone says, it seems like the focus is on you - on your sin. at least that is what the enemy wants us to think.
so we repeat to the boys over and over - that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. amazingly, God tells us in jeremiah 31:34 that he will not only forgive us, but actually erase our sins from his own memory!
please pray for the boys and for us when you can. i will admit it is hard to "stay up" all the time. yesterday one of our most loyal, favorite rhinos who has been here from day one, told his friends out in the street that we were all a bunch of "expletives" and that he was turning in his gear. 2 others have seemingly quit in the last 2 weeks.
God reminds me that everything is ok. that direct attacks from the enemy is the best indicator that his spirit is at work in our ministry.
but even though i know it to be true, i am human. i get caught up in each case and each detail. i get down... i stress... i over-think... i try to solve everything.
we appreciate your prayers as we work to transform these boys, and this village, in the name of jesus.
update: since posting this a few months ago, much has happened. we did lose 2 boys who quit. but we have made much progress with others. some new decisions for christ have been made. others have made progress with their situations. God has been good to point us to his word where freedom is promised. some hearts remain hard. but our team on the ground felt your prayers as we were given new strength, and new insights from scripture. thank you!!!