I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.-Philippians 3:14
Not all our work occurs in the streets. Our street work leads us to the homes and families of some of the children. Previously I have mentioned Yuri and his family and how we have been helping Yuri redefine his place in his family and life in general.
Yuri has been in the streets since he was ten years old. He has been used to dealing and using drugs. However, after his final stay at the detention center, Yuri decided that he needed a change of mind and heart; these were his own words. He asked for our help to fulfill his goal.
Yuri’s biggest problem was time. He had too much free time and he did not know what to do with it. He wanted to do something useful and yet he felt helpless. He did not like this feeling and it was this feeling that led him to the streets in the first place. He wanted to do something helpful for his family. We suggested that he cook for his family while his sister is at work.
We started with giving cooking lessons. This worked for a while but Yuri still was feeling restless. He felt that this was not enough and he was not making any real progress with his life. He finally got a vacancy in night school and he began attending classes. However, he was placed in the lowest grade possible for his age and he had lot to make up for those years spent in the streets. Fortunately, Yuri did not mind. He was going somewhere now. However, he was still free most of the time during the day. Yuri himself admitted that this was not good thing. While he was in the detention center, he told our team that he wanted to be a hairstylist. When we asked him if he was still interested in doing this, he told us that it was still one of his goals. It was something he enjoyed doing. We decided that it would be a good investment to enlist him in a hairstylist school. We decided to spilt the cost of the school among ourselves and pay for it.
Finding a hairstylist school wasn’t easy. Yuri is fifteen and he is below the regular age limit. Besides this, he does not have the necessary school grades to qualify for the course. We explained Yuri’s situation to the director of the school and pleaded for him to make a special concession. He agreed to do it. When we told Yuri this news, he was really excited and he wanted to start right away. The hairstylist school has training three times a week and it does not interfere with Yuri’s school. We had to buy professional hair trimming instruments and then Yuri was all ready for this new adventure.
It has been a month now since he started and we discovered that the school is not very good. The teachers do not actually teach the students anything. They cut hair without any orientation. The students basically teach each other. Despite this, Yuri is actually happy. He is learning new things from his fellow students. He is gaining confidence and he even injured himself while cutting a client’s hair. He is determined to complete the course. We were disappointed with school but we are glad that Yuri is not discouraged. He wants to learn and he is going to take every opportunity that is available to him. We asked Yuri if he wanted us to find another school. He told us that he wants to finish the course in this school first and then perhaps find a better school in the future.
The school is near the center where Yuri used to sleep in the streets. He does not have any desire to go back to the streets or meet up with his old friends. Instead every Thursday after his training he meets with one of the team members to talk about his faith and struggles. He has opened up tremendously with us. He recognizes the good things that he has in this life especially his older sister, Suelen, who has been with him through thick and thin. The last time we had a meeting with him, he asked if we would take his younger sister and him for an outing. He said that he wants to spend more time with us. This made us happy.
Previous posts about Yuri: