Two summers ago, we participated in a program at our church called Agape. We started this ministry thinking we would be helping a family and teaching them about life. And although that may have happened a little, mainly WE ended up learning a lot about life instead. Funny how God works, isn't it? Did you know Agape means action love? As in, show people you love them through your actions, not just words. Man, if I could do that everyday that would be nice. I fall short all the time, but I keep a little note in my Bible to remind myself. SHOW others love. SHOW others Him.
This is the family. Every kid but the girl in the top right is part of this one family. Clockwise: Cierra (12), Sabrina (11), Shyan (9), and Adarius (5). Their mom lives with an older boyfriend who we are fairly certain sells drugs for a living. Their dad is in prison. They live with their dad's mom. They share beds and sleep on the couch, and eat ice cream for breakfast. The youngest one, Adarius lives with his mom and her boyfriend, and lost all his teeth when she didn't care for him when he was younger.
This is the oldest. She doesn't get to see her parents much, and her grandmother tries to do her best to raise them, but has many health problems and works when she can to make some money to take care for her grandkids. Cierra is stuck between being a kid and an adult. The responsibility is on her shoulders many days to care for her younger siblings. She acts very tough at first, but lets you see her child-like side after a while. Cierra is now 13, and just had a baby last week. Her mom was the same age when she first had Cierra.
This is Shyan. She is loud, rambunctious, and smart. She likes to play with the boys and sometimes gets in fights. She has a big smile and a bigger heart.
Shyan and Sabrina went to church camp two summers ago and loved it. Shyan won an award and could not have been prouder of it. She talked about it for days even though it made her older sister Sabrina a little jealous. She was simply so excited to be recognized for something good.
These two girls were with us the most. We went to movies, swam in pools, played computer games and guitar, ate out a lot, cheered and danced. With our church's help, we kept their grandmother's electricity and water on so the girls could stay with her. They had so much fun picking out Christmas presents for their family members and we played in the snow on snow days. The one on the right making that lovely face is Sabrina. She is also very smart, and makes good grades in school. She likes to have spelling and math contests at dinner, and loves to swim. She is silly like Shyan, but like Cierra, she sometimes has to be the adult in her family.
They also love nothing more than a good photo session.
Unfortunately, when their dad got out of jail for a brief stint, the girls began spending a lot of time at his new girlfriend's place. Their mom also wanted them, and the kids would bounce around from house to house. We kept trying to pick them up for church and to hang out, but many times, they wouldn't be home when we would show up. We ended up stopping the program, and heard the news of Cierra becoming last winter. I am not sure of the status of their whereabouts right now, but I do know I miss these kids and I miss learning from them. I also miss reaffirming their place in life and giving them hugs and compliments. All this IS NOT to say, "look at how nice we are." If I was that nice, I would still be tracking them down and keeping up with them. This is really to say: if you don't mind, could you say a little prayer for this family and especially for Cierra as she learns how to be a mother? It's a hard job at 27, and I know it has to be even harder at 13. I know our God listens to prayers, and I would really appreciate if you prayed for this family.