Working with abused and neglected boys is a bitter sweet calling. There are some boys who are grateful to have been rescued from the hell which they were living in and yet there are far more who are bitter, angry and ungrateful, acting as if they have been snatched from a loving family and home. It is a truth of our work that only those who have experienced will truly understand.
There is a hardness which comes after having suffered abuse or having lived on the streets. I think it comes with self preservation. Even the littlest ones have learned all to well the “tricks of the trade”. They have learned to manipulate with tears as they lie behind your back, or worse yet, lie to your face. Even the most enduring, sweet soul can be caught on camera sneaking money from the office change box or overheard telling someone that you hit them or don’t feed them. My husband has been spit on, bitten, punched, lied to, lied about and taken advantage of more times than I can count. And yet he faithfully works on their behalf, with the hope that they could come to know Christ and breaking this vicious cycle of abuse.
From the time I was little I had a heart for the underprivileged. Growing up, I volunteered at soup kitchens, food banks and homeless shelters. In highschool I led work teams at a local rehab shelter and organized food & clothing drives. I have worked with the deaf and handicapped. I taught special education and excelled at reaching pre-teen boys with behavioral issues. But nothing adequately prepared me for this!
I often say that this work is not for the faint at heart and that you certainly need to be “called” to do this. It is difficult to keep perspective when you live day in and day out with these blemished souls. It is also very humbling to give your life for the welfare of those who rarely appreciate you, who often think you are against them or who will turn on you in an instant.
And yet when all is said and done, I know that these guys have a great opportunity to know Christ as Savior and be set free from the hurts of their past. I know that because we are here, they have loving arms to hold them, a safe place to sleep tonight, clothes to wear, food to eat, the opportunity for an education and medical care. I know that because we are here they have hope for a better future & hope for eternity. And that makes the bittersweet, seem just a little bit sweeter.