A couple of years ago I was getting new tires at Discount Tire. The guy changing my tires recognized me. Though his face looked familiar, I wasn't sure where I knew him from. As we talked, I realized the last time I had seen him was at Central Dallas Church when he was probably 12 years old. (Kids change a LOT as they grow into young men and women!). We chatted for a little while and I encouraged him to come back and visit Central Dallas Church. I may have given him my card. I don't remember. I remember when his family was there before--mom, dad, brother, and two sisters--they were all wonderful people who were very involved. I didn't ever know what happened or why they left.
Monday, I had a message on my desk saying Rodrigo Sanchez (not his real name) called. The name didn't sound familiar, but when I called back Rodrigo reminded me who he was. Rodrigo is 22 years old now. He explained that he is really struggling. He said he tried to find our church, but since it had moved to the Washington Street location, he couldn't find it. He wants to "do something with his life." He wants to "get back on track." He thought Central Dallas Church would be a way to start.
Rodrigo began telling me what he's going through right now. He said he's been in "some trouble" but wants to get out of that. When I asked him what kind of trouble, he said he has a problem with drinking. He's ended up with a few assault charges--one was a felony, the other two got dropped to misdemeanors. He talked to me for about 30-45 minutes talking to me about what has happened to him over the years.
He explained that after the first or second assault charge, his probation prohibited him from using drugs. He gave up cocaine and some of the other hard drugs he had been using. When he tried to go back to them, he didn't feel the same so he decided to quit. He has been free from them for about 2 years. However, alcohol continues to be his vice. After the last assault charge, he woke up his sister the next day and asked her to go with him to AA (Alcoholics Anonymous).
Of course, with the felony, he has a hard time finding a job. His mom keeps telling him everything will be ok, but he realizes that unless he does something to change, it won't be. He doesn't want to be like he is. He expressed that over and over again. He's not sure how to get out of doing what he's doing, but he's trying. When he couldn't find the church, he called. He's meeting me this Thursday to go with me to the Bible study I go to on Thursdays, which is primarily geared toward ex-offenders.
He has two kids he wants to change for. I pray that his desire to do things different will continue. I pray that some of the resources I hope to hook him up with will be some that he can fit into and feel connected to. He's young. I know it's hard to try to make such a change when so many around him are continuing down a destructive path.
He's taking the initiative. He's already stopped using drugs. I know he has it in him to change the rest as well. Please pray for him.