There is a young man I'll call Kaleb who has been coming to our art program for a couple years now. Kaleb is someone who loves to make people laugh. He always shows up to art group with a smile and jokes around with all the staff, volunteers, and other youth who show up to our program. Though Kaleb arrives with a smile on his face every time he comes, many people who meet him for the first time probably won't know that he has been couch surfing and in and out of jail over the past few years. Every time that Kaleb gets out of jail, we find him showing up to OIM for art group. When Kaleb is in jail, we have volunteers and staff who would go visit him and stay in contact with him.
Kaleb has just recently gotten out of jail again after being there for quite a few month. The doorbell rang and we eagerly greeted him with a warm welcome. This was the first time that we were going to get to see him after being away for months. When we answered the door, we didn’t get a response we normally do. There was no light in his eyes. As we talked with him, we could hear in his voice that he was feeling hopeless. Depression was clinging to him.
Time has passed. We still hear from him now and then. He reaches out to us whenever he needs help with something or has a question. Sometimes he asks for food and recently he sounds interested in coming back to art group regularly.
As a member of staff, it’s easy to feel discouraged seeing many of the youth struggling over and over with hardships. Lately during my quiet time with the Lord, He’s been revealing a lot of unbelief that I’ve been carrying in my heart and reminding me who He is. There is nobody in this world who God’s love and power cannot reach. There is nobody on this planet whose life God can’t change around. We will keep praying for Kaleb and continue being the hands and feet of Jesus. There is so much power by believing and stepping out in faith!
~Marissa Barstead, Youth Program Assistant