In this election, protection of human life is of preeminent concern to Christians, and Christians are right to defend a culture of life in our country. I'm using my blog today as a platform to feature one such ministry doing this here in Chicago: Lydia Home.
We connected to Lydia years ago when we were members at Harvest Bible Chapel. I don't know exactly how it was that Ryan and I decided to involve ourselves in their Safe Families program, which is essentially short-term foster care, but in the summer of 2006, Juwuan came to stay with us for a week. His mother, a heroin addict, had gone suddenly into rehab. Juwuan (8) and his younger brother and sister spent the day at the rehab clinic waiting for someone, anyone to commit to caring for them. A state worker called in Lydia, and Tom Maluga started the placement calls. We agreed to care for Juwuan short-term until a more permanent home could be found for him. (Other families agreed to care for the brother and sister.)
Juwuan was a scrawny, agile boy with a wide smile and a tender heart. He was well-mannered and easy to care for. At the end of the second day in our home, he'd taken to calling me, "Momma." At the park, he could do a dismount worthy of Shawn Johnson from the swings. At home, he'd strap on Nathan's tool belt, take a wad of fake cash from the toy cash register, and saunter into the kitchen. "What needs fixed?'
Juwuan left his home with nothing but a bag of dirty, old clothes: a random assortment of women's undergarments and over-sized t-shirts. He slept with the light on, and when I asked him why, he mentioned the nightmares. And the horror movies he'd seen.
His first night in our home, we put him and our kids to bed, and I curled up with a book in the family room. Hardly five minutes had passed, and I could feel his warm breath on my neck. I turned, and his crocodile tears started to fall. Awkwardly, I took this gangly 8 year old boy on my lap. "It's going to be OK." He sobbed and shuddered, and in this moment, I knew something of what it meant to be the hands and feet of Christ.
Juwuan left our home after a week. Others came (Jevonte, Jaylyn). Each has broken our heart in different ways. Each has taught us more about the love of Christ.
If you're in the Chicago area, would you consider taking a child into your home? Safe Families is experiencing incredible growth. Recently, David Anderson, the Director of Lydia Home, met with Mayor Daley who wants every Chicago police station and school and hospital to know about this program. This is a ministry to support life: life of the born children whose parents struggle with addiction, joblessness, poverty. Any of you can also support the ministry financially as well.
Find out more at www.safe-families.org.