A few years ago, when our Kids Klub Pastor and a few of our teenage volunteers ventured into the town of North Shore to talk to impoverished families about Kids Klub, it was not an easy task. Most of the houses were surrounded by three foot high fences with barking dogs ready to defend their turf. Pastor Rob, however, was not intimidated and he managed to knock on every door possible. As he spoke with the parents about our free Kids Klub ministry (including transportation), some of them sounded interested but most were skeptical, which is not an uncommon reaction.
After a few hours of receiving mostly “maybe’s,” Pastor Rob found favor in one trailer when sisters, Rachel and Eden said, “Yes! We’re going! Can we leave right now?” Taken back a bit by their enthusiastic reaction (which reminded him of what happens when you eat too much sugar and can’t remember your name because you’re too busy doing backflips), he was nonetheless excited to see their excitement. He told the girls that, in order to establish a weekly pick up route in their town, we would need at least 10 kids to sign up. The girls took that as a personal mandate and took off like army ants in search of new recruits. Before the day was over, we had more than enough kids to add North Shore to our regular pick up route.
Rachel and Eden have fit into our ministry family as if they have always been here. Their enthusiasm and friendliness has made more of the kids feel at home which has been such a blessing. They have attended every week possible and have been involved with music, assisting teachers and doing just about anything we could throw at them. Although the girls have had struggles of their own which surfaced from time to time, it never really manifested itself until the girls entered middle school last year.
Unfortunately, because middle school is dismissed too late in the afternoon, we have not been able to pick up the girls for a while now. It is disheartening because, at that critical middle-school age, these girls really need the guidance and loving encouragement that Kids Klub provides. The girl’s younger cousin asked us to pray for them, saying they were getting in trouble in school for fighting. They were also fighting with one another, so much so that Child Protective Services had to get involved and separate the girls into different homes. Pastor Rob was able to connect with them on Facebook but was dismayed to find numerous posts filled with nothing but negative drama. He would try to share something positive now and then but felt like it fell upon deaf ears. Without solid parents to connect with, Pastor Rob could only pray that Jesus would reach the girl’s hearts.
A couple of weeks ago, Pastor Rob got a nice surprise when Rachel called asking for a ride to Kids Klub. He asked her how she was able to make it to the program since school gets out so late, but she told him she had temporarily dropped out and was transitioning to homeschooling, but as a special education student, she fell further and further behind so she just gave up.
When Pastor Rob finally saw Rachel, she didn’t resemble at all the bright eyed, energetic and warm young girl who helped round up kids for Kids Klub in her neighborhood a few years prior. She smiled slightly but kept her head down. While the other kids played, Pastor Rob talked with Rachel. It didn’t take too long to begin to understand how the dark descent had begun in her life. Sadly, Rachel was being physically abused by a family member. Thankfully she was no longer being victimized, but the pain of the abuse remains a constant. “I’m seeing a therapist”, Rachel said, “and I’m learning a lot about how to deal with my feelings, but I really miss it here.” She showed Pastor Rob the numerous self-inflicted cuts on her arm and told him about her trip to the hospital when she overdosed on pills. Pastor Rob prayed for Rachel and told her he was glad to see her face and hoped that when she’s able to, she would come back. Rachel smiled and said, “We always come back.” Praise God for that!
Please pray for Rachel and her sister Eden as they are struggling to move forward in the healing process. Pray that God will soften and heal their broken hearts and pray for us as we continue reaching out to hurting children in our valley, in Jesus’ name.