Posted: January 14, 2008 in Justice


These four lovely ladies (I find the one on the far left particularly fetching) are from the Ocean Springs Church of Christ, and I snapped this picture just before they loaded up and headed to the Youth Shelter to volunteer this afternoon.

This has been a long time in coming, and because you are interested, I will take the time to explain.

I shall begin by sharing a huge “church” pet peeve of mine: if church were compared to a high school curriculum, standard courses would be classes such as Go To Church 101, Praying Regularly (or at least know that you should be), Read Your Bibles (same exemption as Praying Regularly), Not Cussing Around Other People (or at least your preacher)… There are others, but you get the idea. In this metaphor of mine, Serving Hurting People would be considered an extracurricular activity. That is my pet peeve.

So I had this bright idea a year or so ago now. (Well, I have had several ideas I thought would be bright for many years now, but none of them took in motivating us to move Serving Hurting People into our core curriculum.) My idea was to REQUIRE (okay, maybe beg and plead and use guilt, etc.) all of our Sunday classes not just to talk about things, but to reach out into our community and serve real, breathing people.

Well, our Forty-Something Class decided we wanted to serve at-risk children, so we started trying to figure out how to go about doing just that. (This is how Dana and I ended up CASA volunteers.) Several members of our class found out about the Youth Shelter and wanted to volunteer there. This decision set off a frustrating, lengthy battle with applications and red tape, but today was the day these folks had their first chance to go and spend time at the shelter.

Do you know what happens in your community when children of abuse and neglect are rescued? I didn’t. But I know now. They are taken to the Youth Shelter.

First, imagine being abused and neglected by your parents. Then, imagine being taken away from everything you’ve ever known to a small Youth Shelter where people are paid to watch you 24/7.

These lovely ladies pictured above know what kids that have experienced this look like now. They played today with two two-year old children and a nine-month old baby.

Jody said they learned a lot today, and they are looking forward to going back next month better equipped to brighten the dark lives of precious children.

It has been a long wait, but the persistence has been worth it.

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