Updated: May 14, 2019
‘Time of Rescue’ longs to rescue street-living people and generate a generation of ex street-living people who will serve in places with the people where they have come from. The power and potential in this vision is huge.
At the moment in Guatemala it is too dangerous to visit street youth on the streets with cameras as the police are particularly worried about journalists portraying them in a bad light. This meant that we took some of the street youth away from the streets and into the city cemetery to give them some medical care.
The group were relatively stable today. In previous years I have not been able to have a conversation with them, or even see a hint of a smile.
Even more of a bonus was a boy called Alberto who used to be apart of this group came along with the team. It was exactly this time last year I took a photo of him leaning against a fence absolutely wasted. It was awesome to see him engaging with his friends, encouraging them and looking a lot more healthy.
There was something else really special that happened that day in the cemetery between three boys. All three left childcare to return to impossible lifestyles 3 years ago, which involved abuse, drugs, crime and gangs. They soon ended up living on the streets AGAIN as their options were so limited by living in the impossible environment they had returned to. It seemed that the investment in them, having originally been rescued from street life and their time in the childcare project, through their teenage years could be LOST!
Gerson (20) was rescued again from the street very quickly after he returned to living there again (2 years ago). Alberto (20) was rescued again from the street 4 months ago and is going through rehabilitation. His progress has been rapid and he is demonstrating a desire to help his old street friends to leave street life. Jason (21 whose sister Claudia recently died from Hepatitis B, HIV and street lifestyle) remains on the streets showing photos of his sister’s funeral. Gerson and Alberto spent time with Jason speaking with him about their lives and challenging Jason to join them and change.
Alberto will soon join ‘Young Adults with Purpose’ once his rehabilitation is proven. He is already demonstrating a primary value, which is to help others as he is helped. Alberto, like Gerson, will have a mentor, will be supported to be able to volunteer in his community, will have the opportunity to take part in young adults group community activities, for example hospital visits and hosting dinners with gang members, and will receive education support.
There is more to this moment. Jason’s sister, Claudia (who I have met in previous years) a week before sadly died on the streets due to illness What a moment for Jason when he has just lost his sister and most needs his family and two of his brothers come along, sit on a pavement with him and tell him there is more than this.
Claudia 1995 - 2014
This is what it is all about. Hersen and Alberto have lived and breathed street life, they know the pain and destruction of the streets and they are the best to go back and tell others like Jason the potential he can have.
The most important thing is to not give up on Jason. One day Jason may see the potential that they see in him and pick up his mat and walk away from the streets.
After many years, this man’s problem had become a way of life. No one had ever helped him. He had no hope of ever being healed. The man’s situation looked hopeless. But no matter how trapped, in your infirmities, God can minister to your deepest needs. Don’t let a problem or hardship cause you to lose hope! God may have a special work for you to do in spite of your condition, or even because of it. Many have ministered effectively to hurting people because they have triumphed over their own hurts. John 5: 6-8
Take a look at the last sentence of John 5, some of those serving on the street team are young people who used to live on the streets. They were once ministered to and are now helping others like their old selves. What a privilege to witness young people like Alberto doing exactly that.
Many have ministered effectively to hurting people because they have triumphed over their own hurts.
These critical inputs at this stage of a young adult’s life allows their confidence to grow resulting in them having a sustainable lifestyle with a value of helping others. Their (Gerson and Alberto) impact is significant on a street living youth (Jason). They are qualified by their own experiences, they acknowledge and express their gratefulness to God for significant change in their lives and they simply want to help others….. they could have remained on the streets a second time and, sadly, died like Claudia. Jason is massively challenged by this and we pray he will take a personal decision to change and join Gerson and Alberto in ‘Young Adults with Purpose’.
To quote Cesar Garcia, Director of ‘Time of Rescue’, who was involved in their original rescue.
“An army of young adults are being raised who can and will continue to have so much impact on street-living children and youth because they want to. With God’s guidance this will change the lives of many many people in Guatemala”.