Monday, March 3, 2014

A Visit to the Youth Detention Center

Recently we went to the Youth Detention Center to provide food and fellowship with the residents. I was blown away by a guy who appeared to be about age ten.  He was so small in stature.  I was not too far off, he was twelve.  Twelve and already in detention.  That's two years younger than my grandaughters and that thought was sobering.
I played the music video by Toby Mac entitled, "I don't want to gain the whole world and lose my soul". It was powerful.  Afterwards we discussed what they had seen and they asked many questions.  Some not so easily answered.  It was a great discussion and afterwards we gathered them around tables and sat with them to share and answer more questions.
One fellow had been there the last time we were there.  He was sixteen and facing 17-20 years for his offense. He was so kind and talked of reading his Bible and trying to do the right things. I grieved for him and the others.
I left there overwhelmed with the helpless feeling of what  I could do to make a difference in these lives.
My friend Sheila had gone there with me to help minister in some way to their young lives.  My son had been in a place just like this at one time and Sheila's had lost his life three years before to addiction.  Addiction was stealing the lives of these young lives just like we had seen it done in the lives of our own.  See that is what causes us to go each time we are invited......we love these kids and want desparately to see them turn from the direction they are headed.
We want them to get the picture before they ruin their whole lives bound by drugs, sex, and other strongholds in their lives.  After asking the question, "Do you want to be free", we explained that true freedom comes only through Christ.  We gave them booklets that Neil Anderson wrote on Freedom in Christ.  They do a checklist on things that they may have been involved in and then pray over those things, asking forgiveness and moving on to the next section which guides them in confessing and receiving God's promised forgiveness.
Many things in our lives have made us say, "I wish this was all a dream", but I left there feeling that way that day. These kids were way too young to be in such hard situations.  May they see Your love for them through someone who comes their way Lord.
Oh God, You love these young people so much, please hear their prayers while they work through these things that Satan has lied to them about.  Mainly that no one loves them.  So many of them have never had the proper love of a parent.  Lord, please surround them with your love in their little room where they are tonight.

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