by Julianna Overmeyer, Global Engagement Missionary to South Africa
Jared is in a Youth Detention facility. During the last two years we have laughed and cried and prayed with him. His smile is big, his anger is quick to flare, and the tears flow easily when he lets his guard down. He has asked Jesus to forgive him and live in his heart, but didn’t really trust Jesus to help his situation. He has had to take care of himself and his younger siblings for too many years. His mother and aunt were arrested for fighting (while drunk) and he missed a court date, resulting in the arrest of his grandmother for failing to make sure he appeared in court. The social worker put his four-year-old brother and baby nephew into foster care. Jared (not his real name) was carted off to a detention cell with “the big boys.”
When Jared returned to Calitzdorp for court two weeks later, he looked horrible. He was a nervous wreck from lack of sleep due to fear of the other boys. One of the Kidstop staff called me and begged me to call someone to get him moved. I explained that God sees him and wants Jared to trust Him; it is not our job to rescue him. Jared pled with the court to move him to another detention facility; God’s favor was with his request and the magistrate approved the transfer.
Fast forward three weeks… In the new detention facility we were able to organize a phone call to Jared. He is very excited because he is back in school! Life is not easy where he is, but he sees God answering his prayers. He had a message for his friends at Kidstop: “I am changing. Every day I pray for each of you. When I get out, I don’t want to see you doing stupid stuff. I am changing and I want to see you changing, too!”