Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Turbulent Times

Life over the past 3 weeks have been some of the most turbulent times since coming to Pittsburgh in July. Just to update all of you. James Owens passed away 2 weeks after we saw him in the hospital. That was a difficult time for myself and Jeff. Jeff actually got to know him a little better than me and took it pretty hard. One good thing that came out of it was that on the night after he passed away one of our 10th grade boys called me up around 9 pm on Sunday night to let me know of the passing. I never had been called by this young man prior to this and my only interaction with him had been in the open gym and watching him play basketball on a rival team from most the other boys I know in high school. I asked him if he wouldn't mind calling Jeff and talking to him as Jeff had a lot of questions about James and what happened. The boy said he would. Now...this was a Sunday night around 9 pm and the chances of Jeff actually being up to answer the phone were slim. things go Jeff did answer his phone and not only that he went and pick the boy up and drove around Pittsburgh for 1 1/2 hours talking about the situation. I know this was awesome for both of them and gave Jeff some healing. God's timing is perfect with putting people in our lives, it's just recognizing those times.

Last Thursday I went to the viewing and paid my respects to James Owens and his family. I was able to see a couple of my boys there and it was great feeling the love they had when they hugged me. RIP-James Owens

My other issue was the student whose girlfriend was going in for an abortion. According to my young man, the baby hid! The girl then waffled over the next 2 weeks and and on March 24th, yesterday she went back in for an abortion. God had other plans and took the baby away. The good thing is now the girl and my young man don't have blood on their hands. I just pray that they can deal with the miscarriage and learn from this mistake.

I visited with some friends (Ron and Traci Pensari)over the weekend who were in Jersey and had a relaxing good time with them and seeing where they grew up and friends they have in Jersey. I never knew Jersey was such and diverse and pretty state.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I took the red pill

This month has been a real test for me in terms of dealing with real life issues. I think at this point it's only strengthened my resolve for why I'm here but it definitely has pushed my buttons at returning to a life where things only happen on my tv screen or newspaper article and not in my life. Jeff and I were talking yesterday morning and I had to pull the "Matrix" movie out of the hat as it applied to where I'm at once again. I told him that I wished I wouldn't of taken the red pill as I could still be "asleep", but the problems is I did take it and I can't sit back and let things go by as if it has nothing to do with me.

3 weeks ago one of the youth who've I've been close to since I've moved to Pittsburgh came to me with news that his girlfriend was pregnant. This might not seem like big news to some of you or even out of left field as the boys I'm with are on their own most the time. Well, for whatever reason I didn't see it coming. We started talking I found out the girl's mom and step father took away her cell phone and cut off communication between both of the party involved. I then found out that the girl's parents were on the side of getting an abortion for the girl. This blew me away. Without getting into an abortion discussion I was mortified and my thoughts were "there is a bullet heading right towards this baby and I've got to stop it". It's 3 weeks later and still no abortion and it's been silent on this topic for about a week, which isn't necessarily a good thing. I've had no luck getting in touch with the girl or her parents as the resources for the options that are available to them in Pittsburgh are amazing. Please pray for me as I continue on with this struggle.

Now, for even better news, not. Sunday night, two boys who attend our open gym on Monday nights were arrested for holding up a man a gunpoint and trying to rob him. The man who they were trying to rob also had a gun and one of the boys was shot in leg and torso. He is in critical condition at the hospital. The other boy was found a few blocks down the street running from the scene. Both boys will be tried as adults for attempted homicide.

Yesterday Jeff and I felt called to visit the one boy in critical care at the hospital. Without thinking of all the reasons why not and how we wouldn't be allowed to visit him we went. We didn't hide our intentions as we asked which room the young man was in and we proceeded to the intesive care unit. The doors opened for us and we walk back to where his bed was. It was in a separate room with a policeman outside the door. One of the nurses told us we couldn't go back there and then the policeman asked why we were there. We told him that we worked for Urban Impact and the boy has been coming to our gym for the past year and we wanted to see him. Amazingly the cop changed his mind and said go ahead. We walked into the bed area and where there was a nurse attending, she asked what we were doing there and told us we can't be in there. The cop and nurse exchanged a few words and let us in. (I'm sure that none of the 2 nurses or policeman recognized Jeff as the Jeff Hartings Pittsburgh Steeler) I really felt like Lucas Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars as they walked past the storm troopers. We prayed with our student for about 10 minutes and he held our hands and kept eye contact although he was unable to speak due to the respirator. He eyes moistened and he nodded his head as we asked him if he knew that he could turn to Jesus even now after the bad choice he had made in his life.

I don't know what is going to happen with both of those incidents but I do know that God has me here for a purpose and I may only affect a few kids lives through Christ but that's between them and Christ. All I know is that God has put me on this walk and I must continue to walk.