By Shona Barnard in Mexico
“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will grant you the desire of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
Hope. For them it can be an ugly, cruel 4-letter word. After 14 years in Mexico, we have come to know many young people who have simply thrown their lives away. Kids who were told they were too dumb to do well in school and whose teachers were too lazy to do a good job, left them well below grade average and without future prospects of higher education.
Or girls who dropped out of school and got pregnant in an attempt to get out from under their parent’s tight-fisted homes; or young men, who despite incredible talent, have to work 10-12 hour days to make ends meet to support their family. No, for such as these, dreams are not practical. They don’t put food on the table.
I can’t help but compare the youth of urban Mexico to what I knew growing up in New Zealand. I wonder, if only these kids had grown up across the Pacific Ocean in a different world, would their dreams have had more of a chance? Of course! “God, that’s not fair!” I once heard a definition of poverty that reckoned it isn’t what people have or don’t have, it’s the absence of choice that really makes a person poor.
But I do believe in miracles… Surely it doesn’t hurt to hold on to the hope that one day, I’ll see one or two rise up and break out of the mould, defeating all odds – just as David did before Goliath, and reach their dreams. One day.
The community centre of Zona 10:14 we’ve set up in Mexico City is a tiny step in that direction. One young girl told me yesterday, “My English teacher doesn’t teach us anything”. (She was talking about her school teacher).
So I asked her what they do in class. She shrugged and said, “Play, talk, gossip. Nothing really.” I tried to encourage her to sign up for English classes at the centre, but she didn’t really think it was important. English is just one of the numerous classes we’re now offering. The centre has us rushed and running, but for all the right reasons. After a fantastic summer club outreach, we’ve now started a Tuesday night kids club, Thursday night youth group and a professional counsellor is running Friday night parenting classes out of the centre. The local church is growing and people are getting saved. I cannot think of a better way to celebrate our 14+ years in this country. But at the same time, I wonder – can we not do more? Can we?…
The Barnard family are ministering to at-risk kids in Mexico City.