December 2006

As I pulled my car up in front of the house trailer, I observed Jesús walking towards me with his gang colors hanging out of the back pocket. I had met Jesús in the Whatcom County Jail when he was in isolation. After a walk around the trailer court, Jesús invited me into his trailer. I greeted his mother, who soon started telling me a story that I could only half understand. She was weeping and mumbling at the same time. Every 4th or 5th word was Spanish and the others were Misteco, an Indian dialect. I asked Jesús what was up but he said he didn't know. I went across the street to another trailer and sat down to speak to Adela, Jesús' sister.

Upon opening the door a bunch of kids came rushing up, with their black hair in disarray, snotty noses and bare feet but big smiles on their faces. There was a child's book on the table and I asked Jesús if he could read it. Slowly Jesús picked out the words, "Happy Birthday." Jesús is 17 years old but reads at the level of a 1st or 2nd grader. No wonder he dropped out of school and is in a gang. "Jesús what did this child feel when celebrating his birthday?" "I don't know" was his reply. "Well, haven't you ever had a birthday party?" "No, I never have. Nobody in our family has ever had a birthday party." A bright eyed girl from across the room quietly said, "It is my birthday next week Saturday." Just then the mother and Adela came in and Jesús left the trailer.

Once more the mother started to cry. I learned that Rubi, the sister of Jesús, had left home 3 weeks ago and the mother had no idea where she was. Rubi, had just turned 14 years old and was living a crazy life. Mom told me that Rubi has sex with older men for money, probably to buy drugs. "Did you know that Jesús is in a gang?" I asked. "No". "What do you think those letters are that are tattooed across Jesús' chest, 'East Side Paramount'?"

To make a long story short, Rubi had been picked up by Youth and Family Services (CPS). The next Saturday, I showed up at the trailer with a cake mix cake and we celebrated the birthday of Veronica, with 12 candles. There is much darkness, despair, confusion, poverty, and out of touch-ness in so many peoples lives. That is where Jesus Christ makes the difference. I find I have a lot to offer a family like this one. Jesus Christ transforms people's lives and gives them hope. God placed me right in the middle of this dysfunctional family in order to bring them into His light.

As our new church Amor Viviente takes off, please pray that the transition from homes to church building goes smoothly. Always in the beginning, there is a bit of stress getting people to leave their homes. Praise God that 3rd Lynden CRC has a beautiful facility for us to meet in.