One of our boys, Luis, is dead. The reason behind it, and specifics are unknown (to me).
What we do know, is that it was gang related, and he was shot.
Luis was a bright and charismatic boy. Shortly before coming to us at Hope, he witnessed his step father murdered by drug traffickers. His mother was fearful of his safety, so she begged the authorities to have him sent to us. Luis had a hard time being with us here. He held a lot of anger towards the people who killed his step father, as well as missed his family. He ran away several times, always getting into some type of trouble before being brought back to us. His father was a well known drug trafficker in his neighborhood, and Luis had every intention of following in his footsteps.
In January, after running away 3 times in two weeks, Luis went back to live with his family. He no longer showed any interest in being here, he missed his mom, and convinced her to let him stay. April 25th was Luis' birthday. He turned 14 years old. That day, I joked with some of the boys here about how if he was still here, they would be eating cake. I got on Facebook and wrote to him for his birthday. The very next day, I read on his Facebook that he had been killed. One day he is celebrating his 14th birthday, the next his family is finding his body in the street outside their home.
Isanon and I stayed up with a couple of the boys until 2am the night we found out about it. They had questions, so many questions. The next morning, Isanon and I sat and talked about the bible studies we had had with our boys - trying to remember exactly how Luis reacted during each of them. We remember, he was knowledgeable. He had answers to the questions we asked. But, he also had a hardness about him. A hardness that I recognized, a hardness towards accepting that God truly cared and loved him. I know his life was hard, and things seemed unfair (and probably were) to him, but I pray that underneath that hardness, there was more than just knowledge. I pray that he knew the Lord.
I needed to post this, because I need to grieve. The time that Luis spent at Hope Mountain, he was Our boy. He lived in Our house, and was Our responsibility, just like the rest of the boys who are here with us now. My biggest heart-cry right now, is that Our boys would grasp and understand that this is the life that we are so desperately trying to pull them out of. That Luis' story did not have to end this way. That there is hope, and that All are made new in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Please, take a moment to remember and grieve Luis with us. Please, take a moment and pray for his family and loved ones. And, please, take a few moments to pray for the rest of our boys. Pray that through their grieving, they would be filled with the hope of knowing that through Christ, their old life is gone and a new one has come.