A Ten Year Old Boy and a Rickety Dinosaur

“But once the issue has a name and a face, it changes everything, doesn’t it? God knows each of those names. God knows each of those faces. And it breaks His heart.” –Primal by Mark Batterson

I didn’t know what I was getting into that day.  The day that I still travel to with heaviness weighting down my heart.  The burden grips my soul.

I stepped out of the vehicle with a vague mission of “hanging out.”  The park felt separated. empty. I found a little girl playing near the slide.  Unlike most kids, she shied away from me. I didn’t force the conversation. We just were.

Then she led me toward the rickety dinosaur.  And it was there that I put a face to issue.

Before long, I found myself surrounded by a group of boys.  They chattered away with questions like “Do you know Chris Brown?” or “Do you have a boyfriend?” We talked about how some of them wanted to be police men while others were adamant about being doctors to help others and another wanted to be a teacher.  These kids saw what was wrecking havoc on their communities: crime, HIV/AIDS, a need for education.

Yet, what happened next slammed my heart to the wall.  The conversation blurs in my memory, but the faces stay.  The twisted look of this is just life here.  The shame. hurt. brokenness. I sat on a metal dinosaur piecing together the horrific reality of rape. of a ten. year. old. boy. sitting in front of me and that this wasn’t the first child or the last. Oh, no. The kids knew who did this. They knew that the police may put this person in jail, but before long he would be out again searching the park…for the next child.

I felt God’s heart break alongside mine. No longer could I hold onto a statistic or a number. I had a face. I had a name.  I had a hug.

Sure, I can swoop in and “save” the day, but that’s not the solution. No. I want to empower for change. These amazing kids’ dreams and hopes for a better future can become a reality.  This nation can change.

They see the problems and they see how they can bring about a transformed nation.  To bring abundant life.  And that. That gives me hope and passion to empower them. To say “I believe in you” and I want to love you, I want to equip and empower you so that you can do this with God by your side. Because when we are weak, He is strong.

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