Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Love Always Hopes

A few posts back I introduced you to Heather and Dillon, 2 older teenagers our son brought home a couple of months ago and have been with us ever since.
I'd like to share with you about another young man our son Josh brought home last fall (we're so proud of our son's servant heart). Ronnie truly has no one. He was living at local shelter when our son found him and brought him home. He had been recently released from prison ...combine a criminal record with severe disabilities and his chances of survival were bleak at best.
Ronnie is a character and adorable! He has personality plus and wiggled his way into our hearts very quickly. He and Josh hit it off and really enjoyed one another. They hung out, fought, and wrestled just like brothers.
Ronnie got the best of poor Josh! (Note the bald heads... I could have killed both of them for shaving all of that glorious hair).

Ronnie lived with us for several months. We celebrated with him his Birthday and Christmas. He said the Christmas spent with us was his first Christmas ever celebrated.
His family deserted him several years back and he floundered from one boy's home to another until his 18th Birthday when they finally asked him to leave... as a young adult with disabilities and no support, he was expected to make it on his own. Frightened and homeless, he robbed a man. Thinking he was taking the guy's wallet, he took his cell phone instead. The authorities didn't know what to do with him, as he had no family, so they locked him up in an adult prison for a year (and he had no prior criminal record). A month after his release, our son found him and brought him home.
One thing we were always thankful for is Ronnie's extraordinary honesty. We may not have always liked what he had to say, but we could rely on the truthfulness of his story.

Little by little, we noticed some of Josh's things were disappearing. When we approached Ronnie with this, he admitted to the "crime" and said that Josh consented to pawning his things because he never uses them anyway and could use the money. Josh's disabilities prevent him from thinking rationally all of the time. He can be easily coerced into doing things he wishes later he hadn't done.

Ronnie imposed his "street smarts" onto Josh and reasoned with him why the cash would be better used than the "toys" hanging out in his bedroom.

Over time, it went from Josh's things to our things that Ronnie thought we wouldn't notice were gone right away (Like my husband's tools, dvds...). As we learned of our things missing, we were more sad and disappointed than mad.

Finally, several months later Ronnie came to us and said it was best that he move out. We didn't ask him to leave ...he decided this would be best on his own. We believe that he has a serious problem (kleptomania) and because of that, he didn't want to hurt us anymore. We also believe he grew to really care about each of us and for that reason he was willing to give up his "home" for the streets so his dysfunction would no longer wreak havoc on our lives.

We let him go...

Shortly after, we heard he was arrested again for robbing a community warehouse. Our hearts sank! We've prayed for Ronnie and we still care deeply for him. It is our will for him to have a miraculous transformation.

A week or so ago, we received this letter from Ronnie in the mail and I'd like to share it with you:

"Im so sorry, and I thank you for all you have done, Im looking for the lord and have fond him, Im locked up but Im not dissauponted the hard time heplps for my sins have cout up.

Josh I thank you, you have helpd me and I thak you for the shelter your family has gave me.

It may be hard for you to trust my word I am sorry for all my rong doing. I hope we may be frindes.


Ron (plz right back)

I mentioned to my husband recently that I would like to go visit him in prison.

God says in Matthew 25:34-36 "Come, you who are blessed by my father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."

Hebrews 13:3 says to "remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners..."
We've been blessed with a wonderful family, a home, and careers. How much more should we be reaching out to those less fortunate ...we've learned much from our son (and are still learning) who has the innate ability to see the good in everyone (he doesn't have to scratch through the surface like many of us do). No one on this planet has affected my life spiritually as much as Josh. If only I could see others the way he does...

Poor Ronnie has a rough surface and a battered spirit, but we have all witnessed the good in this young man. We aren't willing to chalk him up for another lost soul, exempt from redemption, but rather a prodigal son yearning in his heart for something greater, something with eternal dividends.

I don't know how this story is going to end... my faith in a loving, merciful, forgiving God says GREAT... no question!


Brittany said...

Ok, I have a couple of things to say on this one..... One: you have got to read Riven. I know you keep saying you don't think you are ready but for some reason it's been on my heart that with all of our recent situations I need to convince you to read it and after this blog post it's very heavy. I'm telling you. You will be amazed at how incredible that book is. It's $15 at borders and worth every single penny. There will never be a better time in your life to read it than right now. Two: I need ronnies address to write him. I have a lot of things that I have wanted to say and I think this is a good opportunity. I said a lot of things that I regret there at the end and I feel awful about that last week in Indiana. So, if you could send me is address that would be much appreciated. Thanks mom,


Anonymous said...

I would like to write to Ronnie too if that is alright. I would like to bring you letters for you to mail to him if that is ok. You are an amazing inspiration friend... and I have to tell you about another Josh that I met that is very much like yours. Love ya,

Anonymous said...

I agree about Riven.... it is the best!!!!! Slow getting started but left a lasting impact. Marisa, read it. hehe

Marisa and Brittany said...

Thanks you two! I truly love these kids... I really do! Misty, I think that's wonderful that you would like to write to Ronnie... he needs the discipleship and friendship right now. I am happy to take your letters to him.

Brittany, I love you and I will read Riven. I started reading it a couple years back (about a pastor who becomes a prison chaplain and befriends a young guy on death row, right?) At the time it became a little to emotional for me to finish, but perhaps now is the time.

Love you both!!!

Marisa/mom :o)

Angela said...

Wow. I keep trying to figure out how to write my comment and I am really having a hard time. This is such a humbling story. How beautiful to see your life as a Christian in action not words. I am deeply touched. I can't say I have your level of love or faith right now, but it is a beautiful and touching thing to see yours. Thank you so much for sharing. Angela