Story by Cheryl Chadwick
Thanks to a summer program for our community youth, I witnessed an amazing transformation in one of our students from our neighborhood! I have been blessed to serve with both the Joy and Gano Kids Clubs for the past 5 years. Each child is a gift from God, but I must admit that some can be a little more challenging than others. Carlos (the name has been changed) happened to be one of the more challenging kids. For 5 years, I have seen Carlos seem to thrive on anything he can do to go against the flow! He was always louder than the others, acting out to get attention, and not one to follow the rules. Though I cared deeply about Carlos, I was concerned about his behavior and how he would fare when he graduated from Kids Club into the Youth Club in the summer. However, I have to say that I felt a tiny bit of relief that he would be moving up to the Youth program and continued to pray for him!
Carlos graduated into our Youth program in May, and I was amazed to see him commit to our youth leadership program which would last for 3 consecutive weeks, including several 8-hour days each week. I was concerned that he would either quit the program or be asked to leave after a day or two. In this program, our summer college interns and the MCH staff pour into our community Middle and High Schoolers. Their days include a group daily Bible Study, hard physical labor with lifting heavy boxes of food and yardwork in the Houston summer heat, intense cleaning of bathrooms and the centers, along with assisting in all our programs. It is a grueling schedule and doesn’t include time or tolerance for shenanigans! Serving our communities with excellence is expected!
As I dropped by the center on the second day of the program, I was amazed to see a meekness that I had never seen in Carlos! Every day he seemed to be more and more interested in doing his best. The same children that he was distracting the previous month, he was now taking the time to listen to them and help them in any way that he could. Within a few days, I was shocked when I saw him in front of the room leading recreation and the children’s Praise and Worship time!
By the end of the 3-week program, Carlos, with the help of God, had matured so much! In fact, he wanted to continue serving his community in the Fall! When he started Middle School, he has even asked his coach if he could miss some practices to help at the Center! I am very blessed to introduce a young man who is now assisting me with my small group in Kids Club, and guess what? His name is CARLOS!!!
I praise the Lord that He has allowed me to see this transformation in this young man’s life. I am so thankful that the Lord never gives up on us and we shouldn’t give up on others, either! Through this intensive summer work program, Carlos has been discipled while serving in his own neighborhood and I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for him.