We put on a lot of miles today and got a lot done. We pulled more weeds at the ball field in Englewood for Pastor Bone and his little league team. Read the amazing story of how we got the same dirt as the Chicago White Sox on Rob’s blog. It is on days like this that I shake my head in wonder at God. Two phone calls, and these boys from one of the worst neighborhoods in America will be playing on the best dirt in America. God is awesome.
As I was pulling weeds and getting blisters from raking mud, I could not help but pray for those boys. Pastor Glenn and Carla don’t look at themselves as coaches to 30 9-11 year old boys. They see themselves as the only hope these boys have to stay out of the gang/drug scene which leads 99% of the time to jail or death. That was my motivation to push through the heat and the blisters.
As we were cleaning up the field, the neighborhood drug dealers stood on their corner watching us. I was within hearing distance to them, and I heard one say to the other with a smile “They are cleaning up this field! Can you believe that?” He couldn’t believe it. One of them let us use his hose to rinse the kids off after they waded in the mud all day. An old man walked up and down the road shaking his head and talking to a few of the adult leaders. I asked one of them what he said, and she said the man told her that when he was a young man, he had a vision for saving the lives of the boys in the neighborhood just like Pastor Bone. He had a team and they played on the very field we were working on. He said his heart has been broken to see the field destroyed by lack of care. He was so excited to see us fixing it up for the neighborhood.
As we were driving in the car today, I said to my girls, “you realize you do not have a normal life.” They nodded their heads and smiled. Instead of the usual “What I did this Summer” essays, Maddie and Whitney’s will read something like this:
“This summer I went to middle school camp and helped kids pick up trash. All of the kids loved Jesus, and loved me. Then I went to the worst neighborhood in Chicago where the drug dealers like to hang out. Right across from their watchful eyes I pulled weeds and swept a puddle the size of a lake away so inner-city boys will not join gangs and end up in jail or dead.”
Not a normal life.
Tomorrow we hit the American Girl Cafe for a celebration dinner. My girls deserve it. They have been amazing troopers this summer.