You may think that getting boys off the streets would be the hard part of the ministry. Once they are in a safe and loving home things should be smooth sailing, right? The reality is that the boys who come to us often have layers of issues that they have not dealt with or known how to deal with. Survival is the priority when you live on the streets. Sometimes ways of dealing with life on the streets are hard to unlearn; so for them and for us, it's a continual process of growth and grace.
I would like to share with you a recent moment of incredible growth and grace that we experienced together at Casa Gabriel.
For two months the volunteers, James and Dixie, have blessed Casa Gabriel. They cooked special meals and spent time with the boys. James is actually a former street boy himself: after spending years in and out of the foster care system he became homeless. He met his future wife, Dixie, while she volunteered in a soup kitchen. Dixie is a teacher and James learned to read as an adult. Despite very different backgrounds they eventually fell in love and married. They decided to visit Ecuador and volunteer with several local ministries, including Casa Gabriel.
On one of their last nights with the boys Dixie realized that over one hundred dollars were missing from her purse. I (Phil) happened to call just as house-parents Danny and Jenny had gathered all the boys in the living room to try to recover the â€œlostâ€ money. I arrived at the house with a pretty good idea of who had taken the money. Two boys had recently started the process of joining. I knew that difficult family backgrounds and fear of uncertain futures made it tempting to lift extra cashâ€¦. just in case. Not surprisingly, no one wanted to volunteer information or confess.
I told the boys, â€œI need this money to appear tonight." No one moved. I pulled the two suspects to the side, "I think you know where the money is. Unless the money appears now, we're going to talk to the police." One of the boys began to cry and both pled innocent. After explaining to the others the serious consequences, the rest of the boys began to speak-up. "Phil, I think you should talk to the rest of the staff before making a decision," David said. The others agreed. l responded, "I can talk to the staff but this needs to be decided tonight," I remained firm about going to the police if needed.
In an incredible picture of Godâ€™s grace and redemption, the innocent boys spoke up for the culprits. Dario said, "Phil, what if us boys talk among ourselves and collect the money? Then you give the person who took the money a week to come forward and tell you they did it. Right now that person is scared and you are upset. Can we get the money tonight and deal with who took it later?â€
I was amazed by what was unfolding and agreed. James, Dixie, the house parents and I went upstairs while the boys stayed in the living room to talk. Some time later Dario came upstairs and handed me $185. "Half for you, half for me?" Dario joked.
James and Dixie were gracious and understanding. James knew from experience what it was like to steal and the shame of being accused, whether guilty or not. The next week, James and Dixie were back at the house for a final meal before they flew home. James made a huge pile of hot wings, his specialty.
The boy who took the money confessed a week later and the staff and I dealt with him through healthy and appropriate consequences.
A difficult situation transformed into a powerful display of Godâ€™s abundant grace. The innocent boys could have ratted on the thief to protect themselves; instead, they rallied around each other and solved the dilemma in a practical loving way. They knew the gravity of the situation and worked to find a solution. It was a lesson and growth for all of us in Godâ€™s Kingdom community of Teamwork, Forgiveness and Grace.
Phil Douce and The Casa Gabriel Team
A fun evening at Casa Gabriel. Below, James makes hot-wings for everyone. They were a big hit! Above, James and Dixie, surrounded by the boys and friends.
* The boys continue to achieve success academically
* Established a partnership with a local company to compliment our technical training project
* Praise God for healthy team unity
Prayer Request For The Month
* Pray for us to find a good contact who could help provide part-time jobs for the boys
Mision Mundo Juvenil Internacional
Attn: Casa Gabriel
Pablo Herrera OE4-105PB Alvarez Del Corro
(DetrÃ¡s de Teleamazonas (Canal 4))