November 18, 2004

Adventures in Youth Ministry

Chapter 1

On Wednesdays, I pick up a whole mess of kids from Lincoln Elementary here in Richmond. I think I know 35% of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders there just through King's Club. This week, As soon as the first kid hopped in the van, he was telling me how Eric, another kid who attends our King's Club program, broke his head. I asked him to explain, and he told me how Eric was running around and jumping through the guard rails on the ramps of the temporary buildings and he fell and his head was bleeding.

At first, I thought he just fell and got a cut. But then another kid got there and told me the same thing and that Eric had to be taken away by paramedics. It seemed a lot of kids had seen what happened, or at least saw the aftermath of it. From their descriptions, there was a lot of blood that came from this little kid's head. During our program, my director gathered all the kids together so they could talk about what happened. A lot of them were scared because they had never seen someone hurt so bad. When we put their stories together, it seemed there might have been a point when Eric passed out or something because he stopped crying. We encouraged all the kids that day, even those who didn't go to Lincoln, to pray for Eric. Many did. The rest of the day, the KC staff was worried about what might have happened to Eric.

Today, we were able to contact Eric's dad, and he told us Eric was going to be okay. He had 27 stitches put into his head so it must have been one freaking huge gash. His head is pretty small, too. He's going to stay home for about 2 weeks, but should be fine after that. Praise God for that.

Chapter 2

Part of my job at work is to make sure all the kids get home safely, especially the younger kids. I was driving the kids home in the van and I get to a kid named Sebastian. The car is not in front, so it looks like nobody is home. Sebestian tells me he can hop the gate and go in through the back door, which is unlocked. I wait to see if he can get in, but it turns out the back door was locked. As he gets ready to head over to a neighbor's place, his big ol' dog comes running out to the street. Sebastian jumped over the gate to get to the back yard, but was unable to climb back out, so he had to open the little door to get out. So now the Baja Men know that it was Sebestian who let the dog out.

This 4th grader tried unsuccessfully to order his dog back inside the gate. He chases it around and tried to drag it back, but is no match for the canine. I, along with the two other kids still in the van are greatly amused by Sebestian's efforts. He tries to hit the dog with a stick, sits on the dog and tried to pull it, and even kicks it a few times. (If you know me, I think dogs make great soccer balls.) After a few minutes, one of the kids suggests that maybe I should go help.

So I reluctantly get out and try to help him corner the dog and run it back inside. It doesn't work. Then since this dog likes to jump at me, I would make it chase me inside, then we would shut the gate and run out. It would follow me until we got close to the gate. The path was really narrow and we couldn't lock the 4 foot door from the front side. So I'm standing there in the backyard with the door locked, but we can't get out because the freaking dog is still jumping at me, grabbing my arm and occasionally trying to bite me. I give Sebastian a boost to get over the gate, and he tells me to just kick his dog, since its old and fat and stupid and it won't feel it. I thought about it, but I resist the temptation to play Pele. I would have felt bad if I hurt the kid's dog.

Eventually, we decide that Sebestian has to come back over the gate, I would climb out while he was keeping the dog away from me, and then I would pull him over the door. It worked. I ended up with a few scratches on my left arm. But now I can add dogcatcher to my resume.

By the way, if anyone wants to make some financial contributions to a charitable organization this holiday season, here are some Bay Area Rescue Mission stats:

For every dollar donated, 6.05 cents goes to admin and overhaead, 12.35 cents go to fundraising costs. That means 81.59 cents go to funding programs and services for our clients. (and 0.0008 cents per dollar goes to my salary)

$1.79 pays for one meal
$8.02 provides for an overnight stay with 2 meals for an individual
$9.81 provides a full day of care (shelter, counseling, etc) and 3 meals for one person

Feel free to contact me or check out the website for more info.

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