Posted on Facebook November 30, 2016
I’ve struggled for almost 2 weeks to find the words to express the emotion I felt as Alie led Bible study at the Ministry Center in Waterloo on a recent Saturday! What do I say, or not say, about this young man? In 2012, I don’t believe there were any among the street boys that compared to this rough, tough guy. Getting him to smile was nearly impossible.
In February 2013, Alie was set to attend our first youth camp for 27 boys that made up the beginnings of a sponsorship program that would provide an education for those willing to be placed in caretaker homes for supervision. We had no idea what to expect from the boys, but the potential for questionable behavior during the camp was high. The boys were transported to the facility, and within 2 minutes of stepping out of the van, Alie had walked straight up to the sons of fellow missionaries and threatened them! I knew then that we were in for a long 4 days.
The incident with Alie was not the only thing we had to deal with as a result of that camp. A couple of boys brought drugs into the compound. Two others were in a feud which they settled once they were back in Waterloo, and let’s just say that knives, police and a hospital stay for one were involved. Another boy brought a friend to the facility a few weeks later, they scaled the wall topped with razor wire, stole the bikes of the missionary family, were caught by police and spent 2 days in a jail cell. Nothing about working with street boys has been easy!
I can’t say that I had seen much change in Alie as he prepared for his second youth camp in February 2014. The thick shell that he seemed to have around him simply would not crack even with the love and attention of Charles and the volunteers who were pouring their lives into the boys. One of the team members for this camp was a pastor from Mississippi who works with inter-city gangs. By the third day, Pastor Devon came to me and said that God had spoken to him about one face among the 27 boys. He pointed to Alie and shared that he felt impressed that this young man would someday be a leader among leaders in Sierra Leone!
I’ve held onto these memories over the years. As I sat under Alie’s teaching recently, I believe I saw the fulfillment of the vision for this amazing young man that God gave to Pastor Devon almost 3 years ago! Snapshots of that rough, tough guy came to mind. I remembered the doubts I had as to whether he would even last in the program. I thought of my own life, and of how very aware I am of the absolute meanness that lies in me apart from Christ! How could I ever despair of a life given what Christ can do if only He is given the chance?!?! It was a truly humbling experience for me to be taught God’s Word by Alie!
Join me in praying for Alie that God will have His way in this young life!