One of the Boys we Serve
I just arrived to serve with Back2Back in September 2015. A few days only went by until the shouts and calls came from the Hope Program boys, they wanted to play soccer and they could hardly wait. Tired and stressed I walk over to our campus soccer area and start playing with the boys. Soccer is kind of a hobby of mine. We are laughing and having fun. You hear whoops and hollers after some one does a cool trick or blows by some one. Then I hear a boy call out, “Flaco, Flaco, aqui, aqui.” (Skinny, skinny, here, here) I thought that was a funny nickname to give to some one. I see Adrian receive the ball out of the air, beat his defender, and then slot home a goal. He runs back and is smiling ear to ear. As I watch him I see some amazing characteristics that are innate in him. He works very hard on defense and offense, the boys listen to him, he treats everyone with respect and dignity, and he leads by example. He does all of this without even knowing it and very little speaking.
So, as we have built the soccer program into a more formalized soccer team called “Los Dos”, we have spoken to the boys about character, integrity, and leading by example. We tell them we are choosing 3 captains to lead this team. A lot will be expected of them. We choose our first two, but we wanted one younger boy to learn from the older captains so he could lead in a better way in the future.
We train once a week and have a bible study right after. The captains meet once a week for an individual based bible study/mentoring. After waiting 3 months I asked our captains whom we should choose for the 3rd captain spot and both emphatically said Adrian. So, after training one day we had the captains announce in front of the group that Adrian was going to be the next captain. They praise him in front of everyone; Adrian leads by example, never complains, is respectful of his teammates, respectful of his coaches, and he lives this out in his Hope Home.
As Adrian was being praised for his continued character you see his face light up. He can’t stop smiling the whole night, even though if you know him that is usual.
You see, God started on His heart at Imperio De Amor (IDA) when he was placed in a children’s home around age 10. He would get into fights all the time. This was his way to protect himself and his self-esteem. He felt the need to fight for his little brothers and take care of them. The fights were constant and nothing ever seemed to calm him down. As we, Back2Back, started our relationship with IDA there was an immediate connection and partnership that worked on Holistic care. The partnership went deep and we came alongside IDA to help in their efforts to bring Jesus into ever facet of life and that includes through counseling.
After many years of loving on Adrian everyone noticed his decreased aggression. He joined Back2Back’s Hope Program and still had a few instances of aggression, but in general his aggression is gone.
Now that Adrian is a captain he meets with me every week to do an in depth bible study, talk about our pasts and pains, talk about what it means to be a man of God, and we ask Jesus to invade our lives. During this time Adrian has completely opened up about his past and struggles. Just this past week I asked him “What made you stop fighting and defending yourself?” He said, (In Spanish) “I found Jesus. We had Bible studies at IDA and I realized that God can defend me better than I can defend myself or others.”
God has been working on Adrian’s heart for a while, healing and restoring, and bringing life to a mad and aggressive young child.
Now Adrian is like a little brother for me and we are very close. He is growing as a man and the rest of the boys look up to him and want to be like him. To show his appreciation to our friendship he asked me if he could draw something for me. I said for sure and he asked what I wanted. I chose a lion because it was the first thing that popped to my head. I thought I would receive a slight sketch, but no, Adrian took his time and drew me something that is very special to me. For me this lion resembles the fierceness of God’s love for us and how God will do anything to get His children back. You see Adrian realized that this fierce love was much stronger than his own fierceness and so like most of us, he surrendered and continues to surrender to this fierce love.
Adrian now lives with one of his younger brothers in one of our Hope homes and his other younger brother will be living with him this coming August. God has made a way and now they will all be living together in the same Hope Home and his brothers are following in Adrian’s footsteps right towards that Lion of Judah, that fierce love.