Sometimes working with street boys can just really be such a struggle. They are a product of their environment in the most obvious of ways. Sometimes it feels so depressing and defeating. Our programs take place in a church, and I want it to be a safe, secure, and clean environment. But the boys show up and it becomes dirty, sometimes hostile, and sometimes just filled with shouting, crying, punching, choking. It is so hard. Last Tuesday I left the programs just feeling so low. I had to stop so much fighting. At one point in time I had to pull away a “big kid” from choking one of the small ones. It just hurts my heart so much. But I know this is where the Lord wants us to be. I know the Lord wants those boys in His church. They belong in that church. It isn’t that they don’t belong there… don’t get me wrong. I just want it to be so much more for them, and I feel like they get in the way of it being a safe environment for themselves.
But the Lord sends His encouragement in different and timely ways. As some of you saw on FaceBook last week, we lost one of our boys in a hit and run accident. This wasn’t one of our street boys, it was a boy from our homes. I always shared his story in my speaking opportunities. Maybe you remember him? Here is his story that I was able to have published for a magazine back in 2012:
"If you ask Bashir what he wants to be when he grows up, he will say an evangelist. It is obvious that the Lord has always had His hand on this young man.
“At home my father would beat me and tell me to fetch water in cans that were too big for me as a young boy. There was a church near my home and I had always felt deep inside that I wanted to be a Christian, but my father was a Muslim. He would cane me and yell, “Why do you want to be a Christian?” It was difficult at home so I went to the streets instead. I had no hope, but I trusted the Christian God. I struggled because I had little food, couldn’t sleep, and there were bad guys that beat me every night. I thank God that I never used any drugs during that time.
The Lord has placed within Bashir a wonderful heart for the unreached, and he recently went on a mission trip to the Congo. He said his favorite part of the trip was preaching the Gospel and praying with those who had never heard the Word of God before. Bashir also has a love of music. Besides being a pastor, he hopes that God enables him to use his music abilities to share the Gospel with others. "
Bashir and his father were able to reconcile their relationship and Bashir was actually “resettled” back with his father!
Bashir had shifted out of our children’s home (and honestly he was getting a bit too old for being in the homes) and he was living here in Kampala and working as a responsible young adult.
It is such a story of the Lord’s plan of redemption in this broken world. Bashir was true to his faith, and his father was able to respect him as a young, Christian man. I am so grateful that their relationship was restored.
Bashir's father even wanted Bashir to be buried on the API property in Bombo. He was buried under a big jack fruit tree behind the homes. His family is based out of Mbarara, which is very far from Kampala.
But his father said that API showed Bashir the most true love… more than his own family, and he thought it was best for Bashir's burial to be at the homes.
Bashir is the first boy that I have “lost” that I knew, have memories with, hugged, and felt invested in. Other boys connected to API have passed away, but I didn’t have close connections with them. Bashir had a special place in my heart. But I am so grateful he is in our Father’s presence now. What an encouragement.
I am so grateful the Lord used API to bring him the Gospel and to help bring healing and restoration, ultimately for the Glory of our Father. What a testimony!