Getting out of town

Well, I really should be in bed by now. It’s almost three in the morning, but in true Ben fashion, I put off packing and getting ready until late tonight. (I started washing a load of clothes [by hand] at midnight so I would have clean clothes when we get back on Sunday…) Between the packing and cleaning up the place (and just goofing off) I will now get a few less hours of sleep than is optimal. But what’re ya gonna do…?

Tomorrow morning a group of us is heading down the coast to spend three nights in a sleepy little beach town – enjoying times of worship, community, solitude, surfing and relaxing on the beach, recharging, and just enjoying each other’s company. It’s a good time for it too.

People in our community are recovering from sickness and dealing with the stress of the streets – on Monday we found out about J, B, and N – three guys from the streets who were arrested and beaten up badly by the police on Sunday evening. The entire situation is frustrating, and is complicated by the fact that they (our friends) beat up a guy and then stole his cell phone. They were in the wrong. They were stupid. (B and N the most for getting involved with J, a thug and a bully who uses his size and strength to intimidate and “run” many of the youth of the area…) B kills me. He’s been doing good – has a great heart. I just don’t get it…

G wants to leave the streets, get off drugs, get into a rehab program, and we have one lined up that will accept him. However, he doesn’t want to leave J, his girlfriend/wife. They’ve been together for 5+ years. They’re 19 and 20. J is resistant to the idea – scared of what it will mean for G to leave her, even for a little while. We can support and offer, but they have to want to change.

M told me on Monday that he was looking to get into a shelter run by a British NGO. They were supposed to pick him up today, and he was excited to go. But, a few weeks ago several of our guys thought this NGO had promised them spaces in a shelter, only to find out that there had been a miscommunication. So none of our guys got to go. I’m worried about M getting his hopes up and having them dashed one more time. It’s so hard for them to want to change that when I see them have the desire birthed in them, I want to keep it alive at all costs. Too many times it is still-born.

These are the friends and the stories on my mind and my heart tonight. I don’t want to forget them this weekend – hopefully we’ll be energized and able to come back ready to pour ourselves out again. Maybe I’ll take my cup and sit under the waterfall for a few hours, the breaking surf, and be filled again. It sounds nice to not be empty and dry…

And now, it’s after 3, and I really need to go to bed or I’ll never make it up tomorrow. I’ll have more when we get back from Trindade… but until then, tchau, and abraços.

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Filed under hiatus, streets

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