Today was our fourth time into Green Hill, a Youth Detention Facility for teens/ young men ages 15-20.
Today, even the grounds looked different when we pulled into Green Hill...I saw it for what it truly was. nothing worse, nothing better. Green Hill has been our band's hardest place to play for years with gangs clustered together, so to see the difference on arrival felt like a gift from God. The turnout was smaller than usual but that was okay. I was just taking in that these young men were not bigger than life, but boys wounded and hurt by those adults who were not capable of being what they needed.
I met a few boys and introduced myself before the concert- both 16 and one a songwriter...that common connection kept them rivited on our concert...For the first time I saw these boys as boys - as young men...some had their issues of acting inappropriately, but I could see it for what it was...not as threatening but their own way of coping...We did our concert and 3 of us shared...all powerful...they listened more than ever before...Glenn shared about his brother's death, another friend shared about his anger when his daughter was raped - giving it over to God and eventually being able to forgive.
I shared my story but with more detail and reality. We talked about abortion...I said some of you have girlfriends who have been pregnant...that abortion is a long term not a short term decision that effects a girl for the rest of her life and a young father too...many teared up...I shared about a babysitter abuse at 2 and how that effected my world view and trust of people who should care for me.
I paused and told them that I was so sorry for the adults in their lives that had failed them. I asked them to let me stand in their place - in the gap and said I am so sorry - pls forgive us. This seemed huge... I spoke value into their eyes and hearts and told them they had gifts and abilities and passions and that they were going to make a difference - I told them I wanted them to hear that and receive it. I shared how even in my anger and synicism as an adult how God answered me -even when i didn't pray...He showed up...I shared about a relationship with jesus, not a religion. Tonight, 4 prayed at Green Hill and I prayed for another 4 who had been wounded or disallusioned by the church.
I'm not sure I can fully explain, but today was sooo different, and I believed God gave breakthroughs we have not seen before. The chaplain came up to me afterwards and thanked me soo much...he said it just gets better every time he hears us share. This has been a deeper year for all of us, so to hear that was a gift and we received his gratitude.