With all that we do we strive to be an engine for spiritual and social change. We believe that this change, lasting change, is only possible through the gospel of Jesus Christ. When all is said and done, a life conformed to Christ matters the most. In the meantime, how does the gospel intersect at the corner of I have no food to eat or no warm clothes. You can read about those ideas in some of the previous posts. Let me tell you about life change in the form of a boy named Lamont.
Lamont is the brother to 5 others in his family. He has a single mom that does her best to make it on what the government provides. When we met Lamont over 2 years ago he started showing up at the house because his older brothers, Randolph and DeAngelo (D) were coming over. We encouraged Lamont to enter our after-school program and he did.
Here was a typical day when we first started working with Lamont; comes in happy and eats the food provided, then we would fight for 20 minutes about getting homework out because it is “hard”. The first problem was that it really was hard. At that time Lamont was in 3rd grade at the age of 10. He really could not read, had a hard time writing and spelling and basic math, 4+6, was difficult without counting on fingers. The thing that was necessary at that time was that he knew, for a fact, that we loved him and had his best interests in mind. Let’s face it… in his world Santa wasn’t exactly dropping down the chimney!
Once we established that fact then we moved to the fact that his back was up against a wall and that this would require an immense amount of hard work. It would not be easy but it would be worth it and that he could possibly catch up to others over time. Well, he was held back in 3rd grade again which was not as much of a set back to him because in the midst he was starting to see small victories.
Fast forward to now- 12 years old and in 4th grade. Lamont reads, writes, does double digit multiplication and fractions and leads his other 4th graders in math proficiency in our rocket math assessments. He isn’t where he should be however the strides that he has made are incredible.
I told him once that I was proud of him for the hard work and that it was paying off. Lamont’s reply, “yeah Phil, but I had to change my attitude.”
Lamont professes to love God and our hope and prayer is that God is more tangible to him than He has ever been. All the intentionality on the part of Megan in running the program, setting things up intentionally and doing a fantastic job as well as Linda working directly with the families in visits to homes, working with the school system and more are all designed that kids would SEE that God loves them. Building strong relationships, being real and tangible, speaking truth in love, and loving in ways people may never have experienced were all things that Jesus did. We are just taking a “page” out of the greatest book ever written and following our Savior in hopes that others come to know Him. We love Lamont as a son, much like we love all the other kids and we know that he has a great future ahead of him!