The first time I met Amy she was blowing a large stream of bubbles through a sawed-off water bottle, one of the many creative uses for discarded items you learn at Juntos. As the stream grew we talked about her growing up and what she wants to do with her life. Julie is 10 and her answer shocked me. “I want to be like my friend’s mom”, she said, “She gets paid for playing video games all day.” Now she had my attention. If Amy had really figured out a way to get paid for gaming all day I wanted in.
It turns out her friend’s Mom, like many others in Amy’s circle of influence, is on public assistance. It’s not that she gets paid for gaming; it’s that she gets paid because she isn’t working. So this is Amy’s aspiration: to chill at home, playing video games. I was glad for the chance to tell Amy that God made her for something more. That the gospel tells us that God made us to flourish, to thrive.
The Bible also tells us, as Christians, what we need to do with the gospel. When Jesus told us to go with the gospel, He said go local, go regional and go to the ends of the earth (Mark 16:15). It’s not a multiple choice; it’s a mandate to take the gospel to Amy and to others in the nearest and farthest regions who don’t yet know that they have been made to thrive.
It’s a privilege to go local with the gospel and to hang out with Amy and others like her at Juntos. There is a certainty in my faith that I’ve gained from seeing God at work in Juntos. To see people like Manny, who grew up in Juntos and has now graduated from UNM, works fulltime and is a leader at Juntos, thrive! To hear stories like Danny’s, a dad with two kids in Juntos, who teaches on Monday nights. His story about how God takes our brokenness and makes us flourish is one of the most inspirational I’ve heard. What a blessing to learn people’s stories, to see how God has transformed their lives and how he uses people just like you and I to do it. I’m so glad for the gospel and for a place like Juntos to see it grow. For me, it takes God’s kingdom out of the abstract and shines the light on its reality here and now.
I just know that Amy, and other Juntos kids, are going to make a difference in their neighborhoods. Someday a kid is going to say, “I want to be like Amy, she is thriving.” If it weren’t for Juntos I might miss it.
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