A Lethal Absence of Hope

Posted on by Heidi Brunsting

By Preston Adams, Juvenile Justice Ministry Director and Chaplain

"No hopeful kid has ever joined a gang. Never in the history of gangs, and never in the history of kids. Not once, not ever. Hopeful kids don't join gangs. Gang involvement is about a lethal absence of hope. No kid is seeking anything when he joins a gang, he's always fleeing something. There are no exceptions. That is a good diagnosis."   Father Gregory Boyle

I came home Friday somewhat deflated. I turned to Francine and said, "D's story absolutely breaks my heart......."

I have spoken about D before. The short story is, he was sexually abused by his father at a young age, he's been incarcerated and in treatment facilities for most of his life and his mother kicked him out of her house just recently. When he had nowhere to go, he found a temporary home in the streets. We saw each other on Friday and here is a portion of our conversation:

"Preston, I love the streets, I'm addicted to them, and honestly I see myself dying in them."

"Where did this addiction come from?"

"My family never cared for me and when I needed a family and a community, the gang provided one. So, I love the attention and power I get, it's a love and acceptance I've never had before. "

"Are you still struggling with the idea of 'God.'" 

"Honestly, yes. What kind of God would allow me to go through the things I went through?? I don't feel as though God has ever looked out for me...."

Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon conversation. Many of the youth we work with struggle to believe in God, let alone believe in a God who could love them. And that is the very reason I feel called to these young men, to love them as though God were loving them, so they would not just "hear" about God's love but possibly experience it for the first time in their lives. 

D and I have known each other for nearly four years now. Pray we can continue to offer him an alternative community and a sense of hope.  Thank you for giving us the opportunity to love D and other youth as God has called us to. 

Thank you for being a part of the ongoing conversation with youth in our city and helping us share God’s story.  It's our honor to be the storytellers on your behalf who meet kids right where they are and give life to their story.

Providing young people in our community with the opportunity to make an informed decision to be a follower of Jesus Christ and become part of a local church.

Share |