After getting lost in the city of Belo Horizonte and walking and walking for at least two hours in search of two different banks to run an errand... we both decided it was time to STOP and just go home. We walked to a nearby bus stop, sat down, and began waiting for the bus.
Throughout the whole afternoon we had seen many street boys sniffing paint thinner, laying on the streets, or hanging out in different areas. We both had been surprised with the number of street boys we had seen during the afternoon hours and our hearts were heavy for these youth. As we sat talking, I saw behind my friend Janete three street boys walking towards us.
As they came closer I asked Janete, "Is that Marcos*?"
She glanced back and said, "Marcos from the Restoration House... No, I don't think so."
As he walked closer, we learned it was in fact Marcos.
Last May Marcos came to the Rescue House and completed a triage. Both Janete and I worked there at the time. The government here in Brazil had refered Marcos to the YWAM boys' shelter, but before entering the shelter Marcos had to successfully complete a trial program at the YWAM Rescue House. He passed with flying colors! He had a good attitude, was laid back, and had no problems during his time in the Rescue House.
Marcos moved on and lived at the Restoration House until January... then he ran away.
Marcos is a quiet kid, with a kind and genuine smile. He has lived in shelters for most of his life and on streets when he has not been in a shelter. He doesn't have any parents, only an aunt who he isn't close with. He basically has no one... He has been through much in his 16 years.
Janete and I stood to greet Marcos. He was offering his kind smile and was happy to see us.
His friends continued walking and I honestly thought he was going to speak to us only for a moment and then go on to be with his street friends. BUT instead of moving on, Marcos stayed. He walked over and took a seat where we had been sitting. He wanted to sit and talk with us.
We began asking him questions.
Why are you back on the street?
"I had a fight with another boy in the house."
We encouraged him that he could work it out. We encouraged him to return!
Marcos can return and make things right. If he really wants to... He will have to undergo some disciplines for leaving the shelter, but he will be given another chance if he returns.
How long have you been on the streets?
"About a month...more or less..."
Marcos had his right arm in a make-shift sling (made of some cloth material) and he had red marks all over his arms.
Why are you all marked up and your arm in a sling? Who did this to you?
"The police. We were staying in an abandoned building and the police entered and beat us all up."
Unfortunately, it is normal for the police to beat and abuse street children.
Have you eaten today?
I gave him the only food I had. Two granola bars and a box of cereal that I had just bought at the store. He was a lot thinner than the last time I had seen him. Life on the streets will do that to you.
Janete and I sat with Marcos for at least twenty minutes encouraging him to return to the boys' shelter. Telling him that it is not too late to return.
Marcos listened as we spoke words of truth and life to him,
"What do the streets have to offer you?"
"If you stay on the streets what kind of future will you have?"
"If you go back to the boys' house and keep studying and keeping walking the right way you will have a great future! God has better for you than this! God has the best for you! NOT this life on the streets. All you have to do is return to the boys' house. You can work things out there... We love you Marcos. God loves you SO MUCH! The people at the boys' house love you. Return Marcos! Return! You are worth more than this. Your life has value. God doesn't want you to be in the streets being beat up by the police. Your life has value!"
He listened... His only response was, "O.K. O.K. Maybe I will go back... "
I could see him really thinking about all we were saying. He was taking it all in. He was really thinking.
Our bus was now passing for the second time. We had missed the first one because we were talking with Marcos.
As I gave Marcos a hug good bye I told him, "I want to see you again. Return."
I then ran to catch the bus...
I know the Lord ordered our steps today.
We had been lost earlier in the day and we were annoyed at not being able to do an errand we wanted to do, BUT God had other things in mind. He ordered our steps to meet up with Marcos.
God wanted us to speak words of life and truth to him. To challenge him to return.
Please pray for Marcos to return back to the boys' shelter... God has a better life for him than a life on the streets. Pray that he can believe this for himself. He is worth SO MUCH!
PLEASE pray for this precious son!
*name has been changed