“Where do you see yourself in ten years?”
This seemingly shocking answer from twenty-something year old “Maddie” is all too common among the street kids of Houston. Although she is fully aware of the destructive lifestyle she is engaged in, she can’t seem to break away from her addictions. Many kids just like her have attempted to walk through rehabilitation programs, only to drop out mid-term. Others complete the program, only to be lured back to the streets by friends who act as family members to these lonely kids.
Drug use is only the beginning, as street kids, many of them girls my age, must travel through extremely dangerous neighborhoods at night for their fix. These areas include the Third Ward, where drug use and territorial turf battles run rampant, and whose inhabitants make up 10% of Harris County Jail’s inmates.
The hopelessness of Maddie’s response has been echoed by many just like her. I am reminded of Chris, a 40 year old man I spoke with one Friday night this summer. He overheard us offering prayer and hustled over to the corner we stood on. “Please pray for me. I don’t want to die on the streets.” He continued, “Everyone I love has been killed by these drugs. I don’t even know if I’ll last the week.”
It is common for YWAM Houston Director Kim Dale to pray, “God, don’t let him/her enter eternity without knowing you.” None of us know our time, but these kids live on the edge of a knife. It brings home our vision to “rescue those being led away to death, hold back those staggering towards slaughter.” (prov. 24:1)
There is something special about working with those whom society has given up on. It is as if we have a secret to tell. We know that God loves to replace a heart of stone with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). He is glorified when he takes what is broken and makes it whole. He has said, “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18) It is pretty neat to be able to tell someone who has given up hope on him or herself that God has a plan for them. That if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come!