God Can Change People


Street youth are considered by many to be homeless by choice—and some street youth will even agree with this. Almost all are, in point of fact, homeless because of profound loss of family. Perhaps they never had family. Perhaps their family was unable to care for them. Perhaps their family disintegrated. Perhaps it was better for the youth to leave than to stay in their family environment. And one of the first things street many youth find on the street is a new family.

 

It is our privilege to walk with about 80 to 100 street youth every week. We are not experts in how to fix or solve their problems. We are not experts in repairing their lives. We believe the youth are the experts in those respects.

 

We are, however, experts in the change process, which includes the roles that faith and God and Jesus can play in change.

 

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Youth identify problems in their lives, be it drug addiction, out-of-control rage, sexual and relationship confusion, a propensity to run away rather than face difficulty, an inability to be alone, an inability to trust anyone. We listen and help them find the strength to access and assess options. There are always options. It's a difficult process for them and for us, but it works over time.

 

Many youth struggle with rage problems and often work with us to learn and practice self-control. The rage may stem from some identified family crises that the youth were unable to navigate well. The youth often face some of those past issues through counseling, peer work, and just plain talking about it. Many youth work hard to develop more self-control—though not without mishap. After falling back into rage (in a very difficult situation), we hear things like these, marking much progress and growth:

  • It hurt me more than the person I did it to. I can't believe it. I'm not that person anymore. …
  • I never want to be that person again. So, I had to stop myself even if it wasn't soon enough. I had to run away. …
  • I was so sorry and miserable for days. I laid it before God and asked for forgiveness and strength. And then I had to come back and apologize. I won't be that person anymore.

Youth who choose to investigate faith as a resource access a powerful thing. God can change people. He does it every day.

"To know, love and serve street dependent youth."
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