Leslie and Ofelia live in the apartment building beside ours, and they spend a great deal of time on their porch. Every time we come or go, they call to us with some new question or announcement.
David prayed to become a Christian on Saturday. When we asked him on Tuesday what that meant, he seemed to have trouble remembering. I spend focused time with David at least one day a week. Without our regular presence, his prayer might quickly be forgotten.
Eric and I sat on the porch with cups of ginger tea at about 9:00 PM, and Leslie called to us that she now had three rats.
"Yes. A-a man gave them to me."
We hopped over the railing and walked over to the patio to get a closer look. Sure enough, she had three rats in a small cage. While Leslie handled a brown one, Ofelia asked Eric in Spanish where his shoes were.
Axel wore gang colors to school the other day. Apparently, his brother has gotten in some trouble, and Axel might follow the same path. Every week, we put a guitar in Axel's hand and talk with him about his life, and what he can do with his talents.
On Saturday, he prayed with David to become a Christian. On Monday, he wouldn't really talk about it. It's going to take some long-term work to help Axel understand the current course of his life, and that he has other options.
Our presence in the middle of this community is a necessary component to what we do. We partner with, and are thankful for, so many local churches willing to engage these kids.
Our job is to honor their investment. We are in the work of nurturing long-term, life-changing growth in the hearts of these children.