Friday, March 20, 2009

Loving with Time

Last week we welcomed a new member of the Broken Hearts family - Jorge Chavez, Big Mama's new baby boy.

Big Mama currently has two boys, who do not live with her nor speak to her. None of her family answers her calls when she tries to reach them, and so essentially, she has no family right now. 9 months ago, Helen got into an argument with a drug dealer at the house she was staying at, and he hit her, used a chair to hit her, and around that time (I don't remember if it was before or after) raped her. Though they'd been physically intimate before, according to Big Mama, in this instance it was not consensual. The result of that terrible instance was a new life.

A few months before, Mama had a miscarraige which she still struggles to deal with. She had planned to name that baby Jorge as well.

So a few days after he was born, some of us girls from ministry took her out to lunch with gifts as a form of a baby shower, and then went to hang out with her where she lives and got to spend some time with our new 'nephew' as she says. It didn't strike me until after, but this is an awesome and large responsibility for Broken Hearts, if we choose to take on the responsibility. Granted, Jorge is just a week old, and it will take awhile for any of us to truly be able to influence his life. But he will be growing up without a dad, without strong male figures, and really without any family or strong moral figures at all, aside from his mom.

So many issues - especially in this environment - seem to stem from childhood, from lack of fatherhood, lack of love and people to respect. I'm excited as I see the prospect of being able to love Jorge, to speak into his life, and to participate in his growth and learning and development. We may be some of the only God-following, loving providers and group with respectable males that he will be around while he's young. This will be new for us, but such a great opportunity!

During this time, as well as days leading up to it and since, it's been on my mind how important it is for us to spend time with our friends in Hollywood. Not just those Thursdays and Fridays that we're there. Because once a week just isn't enough...not when the rest of the week they're surrounded by the world, fake friends, and bad influences. And not just because of that, but because if we commit other days in our week, take time to just hang out as friends, this shows even more that we really do care. That it's not just a once-a-week requirement we're trying to fill to feel good about ourselves, but that their lives and well-being and salvation matter to us - and to God.

Then last night, our friend 'Ravi' was beaming as we all gathered to catch up and share praises and prayer requests. He told us that he'd spent the day hanging out with Michelle (from BH), and that it was one of the best days he'd had since he moved to Hollywood. She'd called him while she was in the area and they just hung out, went to visit Big Mama and Jorge, and then came to BH together. All she did was spend some time hanging out with him, and those few hours had clearly had a huge impact on him.

It was a tangible reminder to me how crucial our time is in this effort of not only bringing people to Christ, but helping them to become his disciples. Even in my own life, I think of how huge of a difference it makes to me when someone just wants to spend time with me. When I can spend an evening chatting with my sister and brother-in-law; or when I can go to dinner with a good friend and spend hours talking and catching up on life; when a group of friends invites me along to something they're doing. Those moments remind me that I'm loved, that I have worth, that people care, and that God shows his love to me through these people. And even simpler, it just makes life easier and more fun, especially when I'm going through a hard time.

And I have no doubt that if you're living on the streets, or spending a lot of time there, surrounded by people who are only watching out for themselves, often feel defensive or protective of yourself and unloved by anyone, that when someone just gives you time and an ear, it must make a world of difference.

It's so easy to get wrapped up in our schedules, our to-dos, our own friends and family and find excuses to stay home or relax or do what it is we want to do. And yes, there is a time to focus on our own situations and make sure we're taking care of responsibilities, being filled by God, getting restored. But what if we took some time away from ourselves and our 'needs' every now and then and simply gave our time and love to someone who really needs it?

I have a feeling this has a more profound impact at times than even just sharing the gospel message. It often makes that message feel real and come to life.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

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