Saturday, August 9, 2014

Tiny Redemptions from Great Tragedies

Many things have happened recently...a teenage boy we knew stabbed to death at a party, a man from the local halfway house asking for a Bible study, confirmation classes, interactions with drug dealers, prayer, money for a new building, so very many baptism classes.

This summer, I have seen two striking and tiny incidents of God taking evil and turning it into little sprouts of good.


A boy was stabbed. He's been in the cafe a few times, but he was the best friend of many of our regulars. Many of our boys vowed to kill the boy who stabbed him. One saw him when he was dead before the police took over the scene. It was "his first dead body."

Earlier this week, one of the older boys was encouraging a tiny boy to beat up on a tinier boy in the cafe. I kicked the older boy out for a bit, but decided that since everyone thought it was so funny, it needed some further discussion.

So the next day, when he was doing something similar, I pulled him aside and said, "Look. I know it's funny to watch little kids try to fight, but it's only one step from teaching them to fight one another to one of them winding up stabbed at a party. And I don't want that for them. I don't want that for you."

And he heard me. I think that's the first thing he's actually heard that I've said to him in a year. And he stopped. I just pray that some day the voice he hears will be God's.


The other incident happened today. I have been teaching a lot of baptism classes recently (6 this week!) and one thing that we have consistently struggled with is the Sermon on the Mount - specifically with regards to understanding persecution and generosity.

Today, the persecution of Christians in Iraq was burning on my heart, so I told three of the girls about it and how even little kids were being killed for following Jesus. We talked for a bit about it, and one of the girls asked why they didn't just say they weren't Christians.

"Well," I answered, "Which would you choose? Heaven and eternity with God, or living a little longer?"

"Yeah...I'd pick God," she said.

We then went around the circle and prayed for them all and for their protection, something they have never done before...praying for someone they never met. Afterwards, I told them that I was going to send some money to someone I knew who was helping the people who had escaped from being killed and had no food or clothes or blankets. I asked if they wanted to also. Now, these kids occasionally get a dollar to get something from the store. They don't have much to work with, and generosity is a completely foreign concept. One of the girls is quite proud of the fact that she never gives anything to anyone.

So I offered them an option. We usually have them do cleaning jobs and put it in a little notebook of "Oaks Credit:" $2 for a 15 minute job. I told them I could take some of their credit money and send it to the people in Iraq. After all, which is more important: a brownie, or someone's life?

One of the girls decided she wanted to do jobs all afternoon, and just keep 50 cents for herself for next week. Her sister decided she was going to do a sidewalk sale of some of her toys because she wanted to send more money than just her credit. And, most miraculously of all, my little tightwad even contributed a dollar of her earnings.

There is so much deep and abiding tragedy in this situation with our brothers and sisters in Iraq. But across the globe, God is using it to teach three little city girls about what really matters, to the tune of $10 of love in a selfish world.


  1. Thanks for being God's voice to these people. You and Christina are doing awesome work! Loveya! ~Cara-Anne

  2. We living last time difficult time somewhere and our sisters and brotherr are in very troubles in Iraq and Syrian and we must pray fort them and ur God knows that situation too in heaven and his the eyes are watching daily and the martyrs blood are to our the lord very hard too ,thanks and bless,keijo sweden

  3. Wonderful post! I know all that you talk about as you know. I experience so much violence with my girls too. They are all extremely saddened by death but will in heart beat turn and want to beat someone up over something so trivial. God is working Miss Hannah. He is. I also talked with my girls about the same thing- violence- how fighting can turn into someone's death. I pray for you and Christina and Oaks. I pray that the Lord uses your vessels to get them to hear what He is saying. How much He loves each and every one of them. You are doing an awesome outreach. <3

  4. Very much enjoyed your sermon today at St. Paul's. Thank you for relaying such uplifting news. ~Rose