Monday, August 25, 2014

musings on streetwise and all that entails.

What is Streetwise? 

Streetwise was birthed in 2012 out of a need we saw to build a relationship with the kids that was built out of mutual trust and respect that works both ways.  

 Let me put it to you this way....they KNOW when people are treating them like a project and when people are sincere.  I have to say that these boys know how to read people!  I respect them so much for their sincerity and their transparency.  When you gain their loyalty and trust you have a friend for life!

We saw that in the process of getting the kids off the streets there needs to be a middle ground.  A transition so to speak.  It is jarring to grab someone out of their “home culture” and with no warning or preparations plop them into a new culture. The majority of the boys we encounter have never had ANY parenting to speak of.  They sleep in the drainage system.  Basically they live like puppies in the wild.  That is their culture.   They know nothing of how to sleep in a safe home in a comfy bed.  Might as well ship them all off to China.  That is how much of a shock to their systems it is.  Many times after two weeks or so they take off back to the streets.  BUMMER! 

This picture was taken by Luis and one of our team members Clive.  It shows where the boys sleep.  If you look you will find where the kids have made a "bed" for themselves.  
This picture shows where the boys enter into the drainage to go to sleep.  

So our goal is to help prepare them, to ease them into life in a home.  We are also working to build relationships with the various homes around the city so that we can target kids that need a home and then help bridge the gap for them.  As of now we work closely with a Teen Challenge facility 45 minutes outside of Lusaka.  We have sent two kids there with the hopes of a third sometime soon.   


Wafuka, the director of Teen Challenge Zambia, put it this way... “The Morales’ catch em and we fry em up”.  






Something that Luis and I both feel very strongly about is that there isn’t a blanket approach that will work with all the boys.  Their needs are so varied that what works for Chembe might not work with Bwalya.  One thing that has been made clear to me is the issue of trust......All the adults in their lives have abused their trust.  Those whose job it has been to look after them and love them have abused that, so therefore what reason do they have to trust anyone?  Why would a kid whose mother tried to poison him ever have any reason to trust an adult?  

The fact that we simply show up every Wednesday night means the world to these guys.  The fact that no matter what they throw at us, we are there to love them.  Believe me when I tell you they have tried every way to test our sincerity.  But we keep showing up!

Just a few weeks ago I shared that the outreach was NUTSO and we had to cut it short.  We showed up the following week and I was amazed!  They were so humble and sorry for their behavior the week before and they all apologized!  WHAT!?  They knew and understood that their behavior was what caused us to leave early.  They didn’t make excuses. They didn’t blame shift.  They accepted responsibility for their actions!  AND they were honestly shocked when we did come back!  Bless their hearts!  They thought we weren’t going to ever show up again!  How healing must that have been for them when they saw us pull up with smiles, hugs and hot tea!?  And I was boosted because I knew God had been working on their hearts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  BABY STEPS!!! 

What can you do to help? 

The major need we have at the moment is an outreach center.  We need to be able to control the environment.  Right now on the streets it is a game of ANYTHING GOES!  Spin the wheel, you never know what you will get..

In the center we will be able to...
1. feed the boys a hot healthy meal
2. offer medical care
3. a safe place to get away from the insanity they live in 
4. we will be able to control what happens and gage the boys progress in a more systematic fashion.  

We need finances to do this.  We are looking at a place right now that will cost about 1,000 usd a month to operate.  That covers rent, food for the boys, security and electricity and water. 

Would you pray about how God would have you to help?  


If you feel led to be a part of Streetwise financially you can make a one time or monthly donation (tax deductible)
 to Times Square Church.......go to tscnyc.org and click "GIVE" and follow the instructions to donate to "MISSIONS SUPPORT" and select our name MORALES FAMILY / ZAMBA.   Easy Breasy! 




Friday, August 8, 2014

titles fail me

I woke up this morning to the disturbing news that is happening in Iraq and Syria.  Innocent people are suffering horrifically for their choice to follow Jesus.  Not only that, innocent CHILDREN are suffering in ways that make my heart cringe and my soul sick.  You have all read the reports and seen CNN.

For a few days I have been pondering over this new trend that seems to be permeating the western church culture (and in light of what I read this morning it seems appropriate now to write what has been on my heart).  We have to multiply....we have to disciple.....we have to be good soldiers for Jesus so that we get gold stars next to our names in heaven.

Please please don't misunderstand me, those are good and right things.  We have to be out sharing our faith with any one and everyone who will listen!  People are dying for their faith as I write this, and most of us are to scared to open our bibles in public for fear of offending.  So, yes all of us need to be challenged and need to be taught scriptures so that we don't stumble over our own tongues and passion.

But here is my dilemma.....are we relying to much on trends and the books of the day to dictate our stance for Jesus?  Are we being swayed by popular "cool" Christianity in our need to look relevant and appropriate?  Is our desire to create a cool vibe out weighing the need for our hearts to be  challenged and our sins being dealt with in light of the cross?

I have always believed that true revival starts with a cry of repentance in the hearts of the church.  That when I am living in a right, transparent relationship with Jesus, when I am constantly examining my life in the light of God's word and allowing the Lord to delve, probe and do surgery on the areas that hurt, that my passion for the lost and my desire to share the freedom I have in Jesus with grow and expand.  That when the moment arises God will fill my heart and my mouth with the words that are needed in the moment.

Again, please don't misunderstand.......I truly believe in good godly teaching that inspires and challenges my heart.  But I think that now is the time for the church to put the "how to" books down and to get on our faces and seek God's will for our lives and for the lives of the lost around us.  

Our "brothers and sisters" are suffering in ways that world hasn't seen since the days of the Roman Empire and the colosseum.  Let us hold high the banner of Jesus Christ and not be afraid!

The scriptures say "He will keep you strong until the end!"