I see more than just a soccer team within the Club Deportivo Dan. One year ago, when I, along with two good friends, Thomas and David, never imagined the depths that Jesus was going to use this ministry. I remember the moments on the court in Las Lomas when David and I brainstormed about how to reach the youth for Jesus Christ. Corporately, I had yet been able to collectively group the youth together. I remember Thomas creatively dreaming the logo into print. Fragmented, displaced, and frustrated teenagers sulk around the hills broken and wounded from the harshness of poverty. Engaging moments of glorified rays appear when connections to God are discovered. The disunity of the poverty that ransacked the hill has been replaced. I see family. I see people coming together for a common goal. I see the body aligning to the will of God. My mind could not have comprehended the incredible work and challenges that burrow down into the sand and dirt of the hill. The sand of the hill provided sifts of change for a community once abandoned by its government.
In the past year, I have personally witnessed the dramatic change that encompasses the lives of young people on the hill. Youth who previously sought the mysterious darkness of the streets have found comfort, safety, and nourishment of God’s love within our youth program on Saturday evenings. The youth come from soccer practice and collectively gather around us for a few hours of focusing on the Christ.
Last Saturday, I was sitting in my usual chair within the worship center. The wind and damp billows of evening had drifted in through the ill constructed window structures and settled cold air on my neck. I didn’t like it there. I don’t have texture issues but cold air on the neck warrants a future cold, so says the generations of my past.
I wanted a coffee. Unfortunately, thoughts of consuming my favorite substance comes at extremely inconvenient times. I firmly believe that coffee was handed down by God himself for us to enjoy. I value it. I think about coffee as I go to bed at night. Sometimes, coffee is my last thought before drifting into a land of ground beans. My friend, Gabriel from FRC, Lima, had come to listen and assist.
So, coffee aside, still trying to pass through my brain as Gabriel and I were awaiting for one of the youth to pass through into the office. We’ve been working with 12 teenagers on emotional and behavioral health issues. Its hard work. I never thought that I would have to listen to the rawness of hardship as it is demonstrated here on the hill. Every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, I listen to the ongoing tragedies of what society calls 'life'.
Lobo, (Juan), arrived into the office at half past one in the afternoon. I don’t know Lobo very well and he presents as a fairly quiet and timid guy. Lobo plays defensive lines on our soccer team and has been involved for the past year.
It is for Christ and for that soccer team that Lobo poured out his heart to me on Saturday. He cried and poured out his loneliness. He cried out the fighting that occurs between his mother and father. He wept over his depression. He declared no answers. He was ready to give up. Because of the soccer team that brought him here to the worship center, I had the opportunity to share God with him. He told me that he was going to kill himself. He felt so alone. He had no one to talk with. He declared it a problem. He cries out the pain that he will endure to leave his high school education so to work and raise money for his family. He doesn’t know who to believe. His father tells him that his mother doesn’t love him.
My pain became real. I got it. I understand. I am humbled by his cry. He weeps. He doesn’t understand why he wants to kill himself.
I didn’t understand either. I am learning. God help me. I showed Lobo the truth, and the vitality and for the resilience, Lobo is coming back next week for more time to share.
I will listen.
This is all apart of what Proverbs 31 proclaims, that we must speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Will you listen ?