First of all, the guy who I talked about (Sept 14th) who was struggling physically decided to leave after 10 days. This was a real sadness as 10 days was enough time for the drugs to clear his system but not enough time for him to really 'turn around' in his thinking and his behavior. Though it's not what we would want, the chances are he'll take again without some external help. He really needs to ask for the Lords help to 'turn around' spiritually as well as in his thinking and behavior.
- Please pray for him.
On a more positive note 2 other new guys have come into the house who have not suffered any pain during withdrawal from hard drugs. This is the peculiar/particular kind of miracle that we see here and we thank God for it. No new boys right now though - so no night duties which is a nice break!
- Praise God for what he continues to do in the lives of these men and the many others that live here.
The challenge in the house at the moment is that we have a 50:50 split between guys who've just come in recently (since we've been here) and those that have been here for nearly a year. Some people come in with a 9 month 'court order' to be at St Stephens. As it happens that's probably an average time to be here. This is a challenge as many of the guys have a prison mindset where there is a lot more equality between the 'inmates' - but we're more like a family where brothers and sisters are given different responsibilities and freedoms depending on their age and maturity. It's not always easy to hold all those differences together ...
- Do pray for wisdom for the house leaders Nick an George to know how best to plan things in our day to day activities so that these issues don't become bigger than they should be.
From a Cobb family point of view:
The boys continue to amaze us in how they are coping ... but as half term approaches they are getting tired and emotions are heightened. We have had many tears especially from Samuel after talking to his old class (and best friend) at Nelson School in Whitton. Not an easy time but we know God is faithful and today I really experienced that faithfulness. It was a reminder and reassurance that He holds everything in his hands.
We went to play volleyball down at the sports hall which has a large open air multifunction hard surface. Reuben took his football down for himself, but as we played volley ball two of the guys took his football (they didn't know it was 'his' ball and just viewed it as a ball to play with) and started kicking it around. I quickly checked with Reuben if he was OK with that, but at the moment he said 'no', and I was about to ask the guys to give the ball back, one of them kicked the ball hard and high. It cleared the netting and went for miles down into the 'jungle' below (it's a steep hill down away from the hard court and it really is a bit of a jungle as the complex is surrounded on every side by woods). I looked and it really was impossible to imagine finding the green ball let alone getting down to where we thought it might be.
I'd love to say that at this point I prayed and hey presto ... but I didn't. First I talked to Reuben who burst into floods of tears saying that he hated the people who'd kicked the ball. I then took Reuben back to the house as he was so upset. You could say that this is a lot of fuss about a ball ... but this was a prized possession (and much loved birthday present). At this point I don't really know why but I got really upset too! Not with the people or anything but for Reuben - and Samuel, they have given up so much and I felt the weight of Jo and my decision heavy on our wonderful boys (our decision to walk away from all that's comfortable and really follow Jesus in the call we felt on us!). Loosing the ball was the straw on the camels back and it broke me.
So what did I do at this point ... pray? Still not - when will I learn! Instead I wanted to solve the problem! I went down to see if there was anyway I could get down there and find the ball. I looked and even tried a little but just couldn't do it. No-one else was looking, they were carrying on with their games. So what next! Daddy will solve this problem so I go back to the house and look online see if I can find an exact replica to get shipped over.
But God's ways are not our ways! They are much better Isaiah 55:9. Just as I did find the exact same ball online there's a knock at the door. They guy who kicked the ball is there with the ball in his hands. It turns out the Lord even knows what to do when it comes to lost balls. Someone else had kicked their ball over after I left. They went searching and found Reuben's ball immediately. Any cynics among you may say that clearly I should have just tried harder! But I'm telling you it would have been like a needle in a haystack (it was a green ball in a jungle remember).
So what did I learn? Stop trying to be the hero! Jesus already has that job.
- Please pray for Samuel's homesickness! And for friends their own ages.
Much love from us all!