When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me.- Psalm 27:10
A young homeless teenager was attacked by a Rottweiler. It happened in the middle of the night. He was walking to the square where he usually sleeps when all the sudden a big unleashed dog came out of nowhere and attacked him. The dog bit him in the groin area. I don’t know how he managed to get away from the dog but he did. He ran to the square covered with blood. The other homeless teenagers quickly got some money together and tried to find a taxi to take him to the hospital. Fortunately, a passerby noticed the injured boy and immediately called the ambulance. He received thirty stitches but he was not hospitalized. He lost a lot of blood but the hospital where he went is often overcrowded and they could not keep him there. He returned to the square to sleep. The boy’s name is Igor and he is about eighteen. This is not the same Igor from my previous post. Igor happens to be a common Brazilian name. This particular Igor is relatively new to us. We have seen him around but he is quite shy and hardly speaks to us.
All this happened at night and when we saw the teens the next day we were unaware of what had happened. Igor was lying on a thin cushion covered with dirty blankets. He was sniffing paint thinner and there was no evidence that anything had happened. I guess that no one wanted to talk about it because Igor was hurt in his intimate parts and they respected his privacy. However, something was different. Igor approached us and asked to do some activity with us. He asked me in particular to read to him from the Bible. At first I was a little confused because none of the older teens have ever made such a request. He asked me to sit next to him and read the Bible with him. I did exactly this. I read the story about Jesus calming the storm and we talked about what it means to trust God, not just depending on Him to help us through tough situations but entrusting our whole being unto Him. When I was done, Igor wanted me to continue. We read some stories from the Old Testament and talked about them. Then a woman came with some medicine for him. She was the owner of the unattended dog. Naturally I was a little confused with all the medication she gave him. It was at this point when Igor told me what had happened to him.
The owner of the dog is homeless as well and she has three young children with her. The dog was protecting her children and Igor unknowingly walked passed where the children had been sleeping. The dog was still around and it was not far from where we were. However, Igor appeared to be calm. After the woman left, he asked me to continue to read. He sat close by and listened attentively to what I was reading. It was interesting. Igor had just experienced something stressful and he wanted to have someone close by and read something that brought peace to his soul. He wanted a father figure to be near him.
I asked him if he was in pain and he said that he had taken some painkillers. He wanted to know if there were certain foods that he should avoid. He talked a little bit about what happened and then I asked him if I could pray with him. His face lit up and he said “Yes”. We prayed a short prayer and the other teenagers looked on. It was important that they saw what we did. We want them to know that we are willing to sit with them and bring some comfort when they need it as well. They might be homeless but it does not mean that they have to go through these moments alone. Igor experienced something frightening and stressful and he had no place to go to recover. He needed extra care and attention and he had no family to give it. His biological father is in prison and Igor had never been to school. This is a boy who has suffered neglect all his life. Today, he was hurt and wanted special attention. I am glad that he invited us to do something with him. I am grateful that for a short period I was like a father to this young man.