February 2017 Newsletter

 

 

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February 2017

Dear Friends,

Last week at prison, it became obvious to me that the group of guys that came to the program were a little more difficult than usual. Guys in the small group seemed more closed off personally, and seemed as if they weren’t interested in being there. So, I wasn’t sure what to expect this week when I had to speak on “Trust”. It was from the perspective of rebuilding trust after a relationship had been broken. This is a pretty common experience for any adult but especially these men. I adapted some material from a book by David Horsager called “The Trust Edge”. It was easily the best non biblical book I read this past year. It was meant as a business application but I found it to be very practical in people’s personal lives as well. It is easy to read and well written without an ounce of fluff. I thought I could adapt it to the men. One of the chapters was about restoring broken relationships and building trust again. We need to be aware of who we trust and why. I am convinced that if we go towards those who love and trust us, life will go a lot better and we will be able to see our way clear through difficult situations. Other questions brought up in the book were: How far do you trust someone and to what degree; what are our expectations when we trust someone; how can I be more trustworthy myself? It was really well received by the men and they even clapped when I got done. And I don’t believe it was because I finished and they were sick of me. For me, it’s nice to present material that can give them a clearer picture of their future and it doesn’t have to be defined or the same as their past. The small groups were more open and honest with everyone giving their input. That was a good night. But I have to tell you, we started the evening with a group prayer among all the leaders before the men arrived. Prayer changes everything.

The other day at the Juvenile Detention Center, it seemed awfully quiet, everyone seemed ok and didn’t need to talk. These are the times when just being there and building relationships with the staff and young adults is the order of the day. I had to endure losing five games of dominoes – that was painful. There is a friend of mine on staff that even trash talks while he is winning! But the kids love him. He is positive, energetic and speaks really great things into the kids’ lives. Most of the people that work there are very gifted at working with troubled youth. For them, it’s more than a job – it’s a calling. The youth are still who they are and have great reasons for being at the JDC, but they are with people who really care about them and want the best for them. It makes all the difference in the world. Taking the time to build relationships makes it much easier to talk with whoever wants to talk next time. It is the currency you pay for the right to speak into their lives when they are ready.

The mission trip went well, but I have to confess, I was delighted to get home. It was hot, humid and basically a construction site where we built a playground and a long driveway for a private Christian elementary school. Hot, humid and construction are really not my strong suits. So if any of you are thinking of a construction project, please don’t call me J . But the kids were delightful and I believe God is going to use the two Jamaican leaders in very significant ways in their country. Thank you for praying for us.

Grace and Peace,

Phil and Jane