We learned early on in our marriage we couldn’t have kids. During this period of our lives, the absence of children helped us to serve God in a way we would not have been able to do otherwise. God used the inner desire to minister and make an impact in the lives of our own children, and transferred that desire to minister to the children of the community in which we were ministering. We never saw ourselves as a substitute for their parents, but we were able to give the kids, to some degree, a parental role model. There were so many broken lives that had been devastated by the effects of sin. Many of the children we ministered to were from homes where either one or both grandparents were their guardians. But, it was evident that many of the children desired a mother and a father.
One child, I will call her Louisa, was being raised by her grandmother. Her father, who also lived with her grandmother, was a member of a gang and she didn’t have much of a relationship with her mother. Her father’s gang involvement became evident to us one day when Michelle dropped her off. Michelle and I had just finished an outreach at church, so we divided up the kids and drove them home.
For Michelle, Louisa’s was the last stop. When Michelle dropped her off, she immediately turned her radio on full blast, and preceded to make her way to the Dairy Queen and buy a much-deserved ice cream treat that she couldn’t wait to drink. What she didn’t realize was what took place immediately afterward. Since Michelle was taking longer than I thought she should, I called Louisa’s house. When her grandmother answered the phone, we exchanged some niceties and, then, I asked her if Michelle had been by yet. She told me that Michelle had just left and was probably on her way back home. Then, something happened that sent fear to the deepest recesses of my heart. A car drove by and began to fire about five or six bullets at the house. I still remember hearing the “tinging” sound as the bullets hit the siding.
This was the environment in which Louisa and her family lived. This was, also, the environment we ministered in regularly. Fortunately, Michelle was oblivious to the whole thing and made it home safely. She was quite surprised to find me outside our apartment waiting for her. I told her what had happened and she was so thankful she was safe. I, too, was thankful she was safe and sound. This experience never detoured from continuing reach out to the children of the city.