Monday, February 21, 2011

The prodigal sons return

Two weeks ago we received a surprise visit from one of our Jericho graduates named Neyda. We were thrilled to see her even if she had left disgruntled and angry six years earlier. The whole kerfluffle had been over the much needed discipline that her two boys had received while in our school. She yanked them out of the school and was furious with the director of the school, so furious that she showed up the next week with a court summons for Elvia. It was kind of ironic this whole yanking-them-out-of- school business because we had actually started our Jericho Christian School with her boys in mind. Kevin was 8 years old and already being lured to the streets by a local gang. And so we started the school in 2004 with Kevin and his younger brother Joshuan and a whole slew of other children whose Mum's were in our program.





The incident occured in my office. Neyda could barely look Elvia in the eye as she thrust the summons paper towards her. She was trembling from the anger that overwhelmed her heart from the perceived injustice. As I prayed I began to receive what seemed to be direction from the Lord. I sensed that I needed to bow down before her and beg her to forgive us for any way we had hurt her or her sons. My first response back to God was, "Whaaaaat? You're kidding right? SHE is the one who is at fault here and needs to be reprimanded for not supporting Elvia in trying to help her kids. Lord, please, this is so humbling. Do I have to be so dramatic? " A resounding YES echoed in my heart and in an instant the Lord allowed me to feel her pain. Suddenly what seemed totally ludicrous seemed the right and meet thing to do. So I knelt down before her and placed my two hands on her feet, my head resting on the surface of my hands. I asked her to forgive us. I was not really prepared for her reaction. The sobs seemed to start at the top of her head and ripple through her whole body. This step of faith to ask her forgiveness broke something deep within her and she no longer was filled with anger. Through her sobs she began to ask US for forgiveness. The paper that she had clutched with such vehemence lay forgotten, crumpled on the floor.

Forgiveness was offered and received by all, no one went to court, but the boys did not come back to our school. Six more years would pass before we would see Neyda and her boys again. When she did come back week before last, I noticed that her face had a wisened look about it. Her attitude bespoke humility as she asked us to take the two boys back. God alone knows what she and her children have been through in the six years that came between us. But whatever God had used, the effects on her character were clear. She was a different Neyda, much softer and much more humble. I was the one who remembered the summons incident. So I asked Elvia if she really wanted to take them in after all that had transpired before? Elvia had totally forgotten all about it. She was just so thrilled that they had come back. Just like the father in the story of the prodigal son, she was so happy to see them that a fiesta was on her mind rather than a session to recount the wrongs.

So we are rejoicing this week with Kevin now in Jr. High and Joshuan in 5th grade. Joshuan states that he doesn't remember us at all from his time in Jericho. But curiously enough, every time I see him in the halls, he comes towards me and gives me a gentle hug which bespeaks of remembrance at least on a spiritual level. The prodigal boys have come home.








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