Something I’ve always liked doing is getting out in the community to meet new (to me) ministries. I don’t do nearly enough, but I have extra motivation with my new role at MIR. Just Monday, I found out about a ministry well outside the city that serves much the same population as the Harbor – post orphanage graduates, yet not really the same kinds of kids at all. There are three levels of orphanage graduates.
- High functioning kids take care of themselves (a tiny minority).
- The Harbor targets the middle strata, able to function at a minimal level, with some motivation to thrive in life. These are the kids I have worked most with to date.
- Restoration House goes for the kids who end up on the streets because they have failed to navigate the challenges of life after the orphanage.
We are talking about highly dysfunctional kids, who have NO independent living skills, who usually (maybe even always) live on the streets, and who usually are addicted to something, most likely sniffing, which causes permanent brain damage in a way that no other drug does.
I spent several hours with Olga (left) who founded Restoration House (pictured above) and runs it to this day. What was most encouraging about their work (beyond the incredible devotion and sacrifices the staff live out) is the openness they report these kids have to the gospel. In contrast to the average kid at the Harbor, these kids seem to have a greater sense of their need for God, for help, for transformation, and they seem to be more in touch with spiritual world.
Olga had two requests of me: they are desperately seeking a camp where they can take the kids this July when a team from Oklahoma is coming to help lead. There are a lot of camps around, but they are all booked or too expensive. Already I could help by putting them in touch with the contact person at MIR’s Camp Elama, which she had never heard of.
Her second request was for a space in the city for kids to gather for a Bible study. I was frankly amazed to think that these youth would actually want to attend a Bible study, despite what she had explained above, but the other issue is their palpable need for relationship and love.
I’ll get on that.