There are times at City Life where I get to know one of our kids and see their behavior, and immediately get filled with doubt and lack faith that they will be pulled out of their nefarious lifestyle. By now you would think I would believe nothing is impossible through Christ and he is able to do more than we can ever think or imagine, and once again, he has!
Within the last year, we established a collaborative community strategy with the Youth Advocate Program in Schenectady. They provide resources and advocates for kids who are in need of supervision struggling at home or heading towards detention facilities. This is where we met Latisha.
Latisha has been paired with one of our ministry leaders through YAP, Jessie Show, and she has been coming to City Life since the beginning of the year. When we first met Latisha, she was foul, rude, disrespectful, violent, and had a WHOLE lot of attitude! She has been in trouble for stealing her grandparent’s car, sneaking guys into their house, fighting, and trying to have relationships with men much older than she is when she’s only 13 years old… Like I said I’ve had my doubts.
I asked Jessie how it was working with Latisha, she immediately responded with “it’s a rollercoaster!” and “it’s a source of encouragement and frustration in my life”. But how? How can someone be encouraged by someone like this? As disciples of Christ, at times unfit and unqualified to lead certain individuals, we are called to pray to the one who is qualified.
Over the last 9 months of Latisha coming to our Clubs, the countless hours with Jessie, and prayer, we have seen a miraculous change! This verbally explosive, aggressive, hypersexual, and disrespectful teenager has been regularly attending church. She shows new levels of self-control, respect, growth in forgiveness of self and others, was nominated for student of the month, and is feeling strongly about getting baptized this year.
This is what our ministry is all about, meeting the youth in their brokenness, leading and loving them to the Father. Latisha can still be a handful at times and there’s a long journey ahead, but with your prayer and giving, kids like Latisha will be transformed by Christ!
*Names have been changed