April 7th
is my birthday. I have never enjoyed my birthday much and this year I remember
clearly a birthday from several years ago. The following is what i wrote that year.

Monday was my 33rd
birthday. This particular birthday morning I awoke in tears, somehow feeling
the exhaustion from the last few weeks, not enough sleep, the many crisis’ with
the boys, the burden of finances, the heavy weight of compassion for the poor
that surround me, the everyday pressure of being mom and wife.

Tears streamed down
my face as I longed for the day to be over. News of a “surprise” party with
food, guests, and cake certainly didn’t lift my spirits. How ever would I get
through this day.

The day did indeed
pass and later in the evening as the kids were tucked into bed, I breathed a
sigh of relief. Oh for a hot bath and a few hours to just be alone. Suddenly, I
remembered the four young boys who were coming for a visit. These were some of
the worst in their age group in their community. They were from the same place
that 4 of our own DAVID boys were from. They were young men that years ago, our
boys had taught to do drugs, now in such irony, they arrived at our place to
see how they could change like their once drug-addict idols. I certainly didn’t
feel like doing anything more this day.

Ezekiel, a young
man of 21, so bound up by anger and hurt, had mysteriously arrived last night
with no explanation. I hadn’t had the energy to coax his hurt out. I had
ignored him all day,silently aware of his pain.

I fed the 4 boys and
welcomed them. It was already late.  Everyone
sat on the floor in a circle and a time of sharing- complete with testimonies,
prayers, advice, questions, and somehow, I was amazed to watch these four young
men so willingly bow their heads as Angel, one of our young men, led them in a
prayer of salvation. I watched as our own boys suddenly went into action- they
took each of the boys and in groups prayed over them and counseled them more.
David, our prodigal son, formed a circle and prayed at the top of his lungs for
God to move.

Ezekiel took the
guitar and sang worship songs- his voice clear, his eyes heavenward.


How delicious this fruit was- how full I

Outside in the
hall, Angel had Winner, one of the new boys. Gently I pressed him to join our
program. I told him here we would love him, care for him, teach him, train him,
and never leave him or give up on him. His eyes wide, he sat hugging his knees.
This, a dangerous kid on the streets, a kid who spent more time in jail than
out, a thief. He stared at me struggling to understand promises he had never
heard in all his 18 years. By his side, a ex-drug addict held his hands,
interceding for him, telling him he loved him, the moment totally surreal.

I looked over to
the balcony and another one of our boys was counseling a drop-in addict who had
just arrived. This one only coming by every few days for a little food. He
never staying long. Tonight he couldn’t seem to bring himself to leave. He just
sat. There was a still presence of the Holy Spirit in the halls.

Through the window
I could hear David still praying.

Lord, thank you for
this birthday.

WinnerThe amazing thing is that as we are in Canada on furlough, Winner is left with all the administrative responsibilities of running Gentle Hands and is doing a tremendous job. He shares our vision and has learned to fight for the rights of the poor. Who would have ever thought?

Winner, you were a
wonderful birthday present sent from God. Thank you for your unending sacrifice
for the children and boys at Gentle Hands. You are an incredible blessing to me
and to my family. I pray God’s blessing on you as you celebrate your own
birthday in Him!

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