We have the honor to serve a neighborhood with an entire army of children. Our home is strategically located about 75 feet from the Hope Center. As you can imagine, the kids really enjoy being here in a safe environment. But lets not kid ourselves, they love the trips to Camp Grace, the good home cooked-food that shows up every Saturday night, and snack bags. They also love asking “Pastor Jason” for popsicles, blow-pops, chips, gum, candy, my sons bicycles, our Lego sets, the list goes on. And you know what… we love this! Our family was designed for this.
One Sunday afternoon, our yard was once again filled with children from the neighborhood. Children on bikes, children climbing trees, children playing Xbox in my living room, Legos in my sons’ room, and I think the sprinkler was running cooling all the kids off. The kids tongues and teeth we stained with various colors of the rainbow from “popsicle over load.” I noticed a change as the afternoon stretched into the evening. The fighting and striving to get the next Popsicle disappeared. The struggle for “my turn” in the various activities seemed to dissipate. Fun and crazy turned into joy and peace.
As I leaned up against my truck, I found myself fighting back tears as 7 or 8 kids busted out of the house in various super-hero costumes. Batman, Hulk, Iron man, Bible man, the Green Lantern, Thor, and Optimus Prime all forgot that it was 97 degrees. For a couple of glorious hours in Fort Hill, a handful of kids got relief from being forced to grow up too fast. The joy of being a kid over took the “dangerous” place we now call home. Belly laughs and joy-filled squeals filled my home and yard but most of all, my heart.
Many times as people learn what we are doing and where God is leading our family, the reaction is appreciation for the sacrifices they imagine we are giving up. But I just want it to be said, this is not a sacrifice, this is an honor. These children and this place is not a project, both are a treasure. The “sacrifices” are far outweighed by the reward.