Iris Global School: Extended Outreach Testimony

From 5 intensive weeks in class room instruction to two + weeks on the streets of inner city Jackson Mississippi. 12 of us crammed into a van and trekked the 9 hours across three states to WeWillGo ministries. David and Amy Lancaster are saints committed to loving the lost, homeless, and addicted of Jackson MS. They have stories of living in the hood these past 10 years that rival bush bush. We put in our plows and worked side by side reaching out to these dear souls Jesus died for. He loves them and I was pressed to look beyond their exterior to love them like I want to be loved. Hugging a derelict woman known to have mental issues, I was constantly pushing my old limits of trust and love. She had a story just like so many. Its not what you think. WeWillGo was recently given a YMCA and had begun an after school program for the neighborhood kids. These kids are beautiful, and there I was torn. Never being touched in love, always on guard, they don't receive love well. They don't know what a stable home it like and they are triggered easily with the most violent reactions. We went one to one giving them high fives, sitting next to them, offering to play agate, toss a ball. We built obstacle courses and played ball outside until Bible class, then snack and home work. They take home work seriously. I observed several outbreaks, praying under my breath, as WWG staff held the line with kids who pushed the limits. In their face love, that offers mercy with the admission, "Please forgive me, I was wrong” . More than once when a child became violent or used unacceptable language to deal with a situation, they are reminded of the acceptable way we talk and act at The Fountain (name given the YMCA). We all pray at all times they will get a mind change and receive love. One situation erupted into a violent tirade of words so mean, so ugly it took my breath away. Keshawn (not his real name) was angry and the sweet kid I had begun to hang out with became a raging storm. Staff converged, they moved to the front door where those given time out are taken. Keshawn was not having it and his behavior ramped up. After 5 minutes of consistent love and offering hope and mercy Keshawn chose to walk out the door. We wept and prayed and returned to the other kids. It is always the last result to see a child leave. They are thrown out and removed, from school and their homes all the time, this is never our desire. But within 10 minutes he was back, apologizing and asking for mercy as he spoke forgiveness. It was wonderful, a humble, sweet repentance. "Of course Keshawn, we missed you so much, come in and enjoy snack and prayer with your friends".

We all were relieved to see this break through, hard fought for since February when The Fountain first opened. We always debrief after the kids have left for the day, that day we rejoiced and praised God. He is making a difference through our little lives and His great Love.