Though I have been at Agora for 3 ½ years now, I continue to be surprised by the trust that parents place in us. Many parents have never even met us.  They may have come out with their child the first time that they got on our vans, or perhaps they called to ask us to pick their child up.  But beyond that most parents have had little to no interaction with the people that pick their children up and are responsible for them twice a week.  To be honest, I have always blamed this on poor parenting.  I could not imagine doing the same if I were in their shoes.  This week God completely shook up that notion.

A few of the children that do chores on Wednesday and Saturday evenings like to save their money so I keep it in an envelope for them.  Once they have saved up about $5 I take them to the store so they can spend their money.  This week two girls had finally saved up enough money.  They had been begging me to take them to the store so I finally made some room in my schedule and took them.  Monday night I picked up Alyssa and Kerstin at their homes; both were so excited.  Kerstin even put her coat on upside down because she was in such a hurry!  As usual the parents did not ask any questions, even though I had not called ahead of time.  One parent had never even met me before, but I did not even get to introduce myself—she chatted with me the whole time I was waiting!

After the evening was over and the girls were home, I was thinking about all this as I drove home.  I realized that perhaps I had been wrong about why parents seem so comfortable with me (and other staff members) taking their children, even when they barely know us.  These parents know that we are from a church, that we are Christians; they know the values that we represent.  In their minds Christians are good people, so why would we not take good care of their kids?  This thought truly surprised me.  In the media and in my college classes I am often bombarded with accusations about Christians being hypocrites.  It was entirely new to me to have someone trust me especially because I am a Christian—This is how it should be!  We need to be living up to the example that Jesus set for us, not the one that the media presents.  People should see a difference in us because of the one who lives in us.  In this neighborhood the difference between followers of Christ and followers of the world is staggering, but I had to think: do I seem so different outside of this neighborhood? Do I stick out in my college classes? Do I stand apart in less obviously lost communities? The answer I think is no. What a humbling thought! I pray that God will help me to live like the person he has set me apart to be so that my life can be as obviously different to my peers as it is to the parents and children we work with.

Romans 12:2

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.


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