Mar 30, 2018

Happy Easter

A special Easter message from Street Youth Ministry!
Thank you
for making
this possible!
We were gathered for prayer time in what had been a slow day when Will walked in, bypassing the couches and heading straight to the kitchen. He didn't look up or say hello.

We prayed on, inviting clients to respond to questions like "God is what? I am grateful for what? I feel closer to God when?" It's part of how we help our spiritual — but not terribly religious — young adults begin to reconnect with God. The answers aren't always "nice," but they come from the heart -- maybe the gut. We repeat and honor each and every one without judgment.

After the young man filled his plate, he sat a lunch table, still apart from our prayer group, still avoiding eye contact. I was leading the prayer concert, so I invited Will to answer one of our questions. He didn’t respond, but he did look up. I could see something different in his eyes — perhaps he was high, perhaps he was in trouble. Without a response, I couldn't tell. I continued with those assembled, asking, "What do you want God to do next in your life?" Suddenly, Will blurted: “I want him to leave me alone!" Then he corrected himself: "No, I don't really want that..."

We've known Will for quite a while. He's one of those "difficult youth." Honestly, the sight of him coming in the door in early 2016 meant my staff had to re-deploy resources to handle him. We had to ask him to leave many times because he just couldn't behave safely. Lately, he's been doing great — reconciled with his father, held a job for a while, begun to realize he can't keep doing what he's been doing.

Will began to tell his story: "I was at Church Under the Bridge Sunday. I wanted to eat. They started preaching and singing, and I just started crying. I don't know why. I couldn't stop. I tried, but I couldn't. Some people noticed and they came over. They wanted to pray with me. I told them no. But I wanted it, I just didn't want to put my stuff out there in front of everyone. So I'm here..."

Having broken the ice, Will began to participate and share answers. He walked over and joined the group. The clients shared what they want God to do in their lives, talked about friends and family, and lifted up our neighborhood and the city of Austin in prayer.

When we finished, I asked Will if this had been good. He said “Yes.” I asked if he understood what happened to him the previous Sunday. He responded without hesitation: "It was the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is moving within me. I don't know exactly what to do, but I know that's what it is. Something is changing."

That's where we left it. Will has a difficult struggle ahead. But we continue to organize our ministry life so we can be there for him, on his best days or his worst. It's a pattern we see all the time. It takes years, but these awesome people recover their identities in God, in Christ, and in the world. It's a privilege to behold.

Thank you for making it possible!

Terry Cole
‘I don’t make
 the bad choices
 I used to!’
John John was a very difficult client in 2015 — always getting into fights, frequently high and belligerent. We had to exclude him from service several times. He was banned or excluded from service for longer periods of time at other places.

John John left home right after high school and got involved with organized trouble immediately. Now, however, he's sober, working and housed. "I have almost a whole paycheck saved,” he said recently. “That's more than I've ever saved in my life. And now when tough things happen, I don't make the bad choices I used to. I'm growing up and have learned to cope better. Thank you so much for sticking with me!"

We now are talking about John John's future and what path to learning and growth he wants to take. We are proud of John John!
A bonanza of 'swag'!
 Volunteers from the local sales staff of donated "swag" left over from trade shows and events. They shipped it from California, assembled it into gift sets and delivered them to three organizations, including hundreds of backpacks and blankets to SYM!
Request manna bag instructions

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