As the vision for ESCAPE Ministries (official name ESCAPE YFGK or Youth For God’s Kingdom) continues to grow, there are many changes taking place. Rooms are being re-purposed, new staff members are being added, more programs and partnerships are being developed. It is so exciting to be a part of all this. I am overwhelmed with what God is doing in Escape as well as through the ministry. One of the exciting additions is Theda Fields. Willie has great vision for the ministry and Theda has thirty years experience leading nonprofits and the knowledge of where to get grants and what donors are and so the two of them are a team that can’t be beat. Their enthusiasm is so contagious and has infected the entire staff. While we have always had a positive attitude, now we have an excitement that is palpable and visible to anyone who walks in the door. They compliment each other and are working together to make some awesome changes. I am so excited to be a part of this and to be able to watch how their visible faith and trust in God carries them to do the work God is calling them to.
However, I have had some tough days lately, too, as some students have left the program for various reasons. One has run away/disappeared which is breaking his parole violations so he will end up in JD. This young man has quite a background but at the same time has so much potential and my heart breaks to see him walk away like that. Another is suffering from depression and just can’t deal with school right now so he is no longer part of the program. At the same time, there were hearings for two middle school students who were able to get back into school after being suspended for several weeks and one student was readmitted to high school after a one year expulsion. We rejoice when those things happen.
It is always an up and down roller coaster in the classroom with the individual students as well. I always tell them I will trust them until the prove to me I can’t. Then they will have to earn my trust back. Several times in the past couple of weeks that trust has been broken by the same few young men. I asked a couple of them if they feel I have shown them trust and they said yes. So I asked them why they would break that trust. It all comes down to the fact they don’t like the rules and aren’t used to following them. They are so used to challenging authority, they don’t seem know how not to do it. So, we begin all over and try to build the trust back up.
The church that normally does the Thursday morning Bible study wasn’t able to come this week so I decided to do something with the students. We looked at God’s Thread–The Story of His Redeeming Love. I made a power point that showed the story of salvation from Creation through Christ’s promise to come again. I am praying that a seed might be planted or that it might have watered a seed that had been planted previously.