Just Getting Started

For the last year and a half, Michael Loney has been spending time with a group of guys at the Garrison Community Center, one of our Friday Night Outreach locations.  We played ball and had a weekly Bible study with a group of 15-20 young men. Gradually he began focusing on a few middle schoolers and gathered them together for a basketball team, building on the fine work of a few of the community center staff, Greg and Ramone, who had already been working with these boys.There have plenty of ups and downs over the past year with the guys, with lots opportunities for Michael to quit. But these are the kind of boys who need someone to prove their love over time.  Change doesn’t often come quickly, especially when so many forces in their lives are working against you.A few weeks ago Michael organized a banquet for the guys to celebrate how far they’ve come in the last 18 months, with guest speaker Tyrone Flowers (thanks Mr. Flowers). The next week he took them out to rake some lawns to raise money for the next basketball tournament fees.  The work isn’t close to being done. Hey, how long does it take to raise a child?  My kids are in their 20’s and I’m still not done! But those who know these boys can see a difference.  Statistics show how significant just one person can be in a child’s life.   And looking at the pic from the banquet, the Lord has put several good men in their lives – Michael, Greg, Ramone, Kevin, and a host of others praying for them. But even with that support, there will lots more bumps on the long road to maturity. Check back in 10 years, we’re just getting started.

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