We have had some rough and heartbreaking times lately. I've asked for prayer but not given detail because things can change so quickly and I was swimming in emotions. But because I believe in being an open book and sharing all parts of this ministry, I feel like I need to share this as well.
First I want to say that God is GOOD, even on the hard days that we have been walking through. Even when we have to make hard decisions, even when things are feeling out of control and even when things don't look like I think they are supposed to, God is good. On Sunday morning Jeff traveled to Eldoret to donate blood for Lavender and to check in on her. Originally our plan was to go together, but Sundays are crazy here at Mercy Home and our security has a lot to juggle because we have a church that meets in our compound. We didn't feel comfortable with me traveling alone so I stayed and Jeff went. Sunday morning we had 5 boys jump the wall while a security guard had left his post to get his breakfast. Clearly they had been planning this, but 4 of the 5 were caught and returned by the caretaker for the boys. We talked to them and 3 of the 4 ran for silly reasons and wanted to remain here, but one of them was adamant about leaving again for no real reason. Did I mention Jeff wasn't home? And Nickson (one of our drivers who is amazing with children) was off work that day.
After lunch I was told I needed to pay the drivers that carried the runaway boys back home from town. I asked Kepha to get me their phone numbers so I could send their payment to their phone. A few hours later I'm again asked by the caretaker about paying the drivers 600ksh ($6) to which I replied "I'm waiting on phone numbers, Kepha is working on getting those for me." The caretaker then left the office and compound. The next thing I know I'm being asked what I did to "coach" (who was the caretaker for the boys). I'm clueless to the fact that he left. I had Kepha call him and ask him where he went and he told Kepha he was never coming here again. Well okay then?!?
Then for the next hour or two the majority of our boys erupted. Again Jeff still isn't home. I'm trying to answer their questions, I'm trying to defend myself and I'm trying to diffuse the situation, but nothing is making them happy with me. According to them their "coach" blamed me for him quitting his job so they were all mad at me. I was told point blank that if I don't get him to come back to work that they would all leave. I'm talking about 25-30 boys aggressively confronting me and demanding answers some of which I couldn't answer along with demanding that I bring their "coach" back which will NEVER happen at this point. I literally begged them with tears running down my face to not do this. I begged them to stay and have a better life, and in a sarcastic way they said they would. However their actions and attitudes said differently.
Finally Jeff gets home and talks with them and they seemed to listen, but they still had a very hostile attitude. They continued to collect in groups, discuss things privately, no smiling faces, no happiness and over all you could tell they were still mad at me/us/the whole world, but not their "coach" who up and walked out on them.
Monday morning we woke up to a very different group than usual. They were very rowdy, loud, rude and disobedient. They stayed in groups discussing their plans. Security guards overheard them talking about beating Karson before they left. A couple of them told a staff member about how they would kill a security guard and how "you can't mess with streetboys because they have killed someone in town before". Our home was not a safe place with them here. So we called our child services officer and asked him how to handle this situation, he referred us to the police. I went to the police and they said the kids could end up with a life sentence over a death threat and that it is a very involved process. They would not be able to remove the children from our home that night. He did offer security, but it wasn't like they could come into our home and be bodyguards for several of us. He told me that this home was ours to run and we could make the decision who could and couldn't live here.
For the safety of everyone we had to make an incredibly difficult decision and we released 9 boys. We picked the 9 who were being the most combative, making threats to hurt and or kill other people and who were the most destructive to our family as a whole. Late Monday night they were returned to town. Today we have a completely different home. Boys who were previously saying they would also run are happy. We have a peace in our home that we haven't had in a long time.
Here is what I can promise you, we tried! We tried to reason with them, we tried to be different and help them, we tried to show them love, we tried to teach them good things, we absolutely introduced them to our savior. But we are not their savior, we can't change their heart and we can't force them to be part of a family that they want nothing to do with.
Thank you a million times for your prayers! Please continue to pray with us, for us and for the work here in Kenya. Rescuing the older street boys is crazy important to us, but it is going to have to take a different approach. We need to find other ways to help bring some solutions to the street boy crisis here. Mixing them in with other at risk children like we have hasn't worked as well as hoped. However, we still have several former street boys that are adapting well to their new lives with us. We need much prayer and wisdom from the Lord. Life hasn't been super great these last several days, but we know the Lord is for us. He is growing us, He is shaping us and He is leading us...what more can we ask for?