Lucy came to us with a difficult past. She had been living on a "base" (a place where a group of street kids call home) that was near a pile of garbage. She lived there with her mother and father and sister. We know that Lucy sniffed glue and had to overcome that addiction upon her move to the farm. We don't know if Lucy was ever raped but the majority of girls living on bases usually have been (and usually more than one time). Lucy thankfully did not carry the AIDS virus.
I had the responsibility of tutoring English and math during my stay and Lucy was my first student. She later became David's student. David and I both struggled to teach Lucy. She was competitive with her learning but struggled when others did better than her. She struggled with handling the teasing that teenagers often do.
Lucy would strike out at the boys who would tease her by hitting them or name calling. One night, a girl in the kitchen teased Lucy and Lucy, not knowing how to handle her insecurities any other way, stabbed the girl in her wrist with a kitchen knife. We prayed unceasingly for Lucy to change her ways. Her decisions were now endangering the lives of the other kids, who needed to feel safe at MITS. Lucy apoligized to this girl and we thought she was changing.
David and I returned to the US and continued to hear of Lucy's struggles. I wrote her a letter of encouragement to change and to remind her of all the beautiful qualities that I saw in her and how I hoped for her to find a new life free of her past struggles.
Soon after this, we learned that Lucy could not change. Her past was too webbed inside of her and she could no longer stay at MITS. She was returned to her family and to a life living on the streets.
We just visited with a dear friend of ours who continues to work on the streets of Nairobi, rescuing other children from this street life. He gave us news that he has seen Lucy and that she now has a son named Joel. The good news is that she comes to the mothers program and her father has told MITS staff that her time with MITS did change her for the better.
I share this story to remind us all that some people have a past that is so diffcult to free them and while we so desparately want them to have a "normal" and "successful" life, we may need to change our definitions of these standards and in every oppurtunity display mercy to those who need it the most.