As I write this, it is almost-to-the-minute exactly one year since the we first met with the vice-governor of the state of Espirito Santo. On April 15, 2011, he not only promised support for our Hope Mountain program, but also asked us to engage with his staff in developing a new paradigm for caring for the children in the juvenile justice system. In other words, to help them “find a solution for the children’s prisons.”
The answer. Case closed. Our struggles to keep Hope Mountain open resolved.
But it hasn’t worked out that way.
I remember turning to the story of the Exodus last spring when it became apparent that there was not to be an immediate and easy resolution to the challenges we faced at Hope Mountain. I’ve always been fascinated by this story. Hadn’t God spoken, very clearly, when the Israelites were in Egypt? Hadn’t He already declared that they were to prosper, that He had a plan for them and their generations?
Then why all the travails of the wilderness?
Because it is His timing, not ours. Because there are still lessons to be learned about trust and dependence. Because He sees the big picture in ways we never can.
And now, at last, we may be seeing the end to this part of the journey. Last Thursday, just three days short of an entire year of working, struggling, seeking to remain faithful, the state finally seems ready to fulfill the promises of twelve months ago. The Ministry of Justice has asked to have an agreement in place within twenty days. The agreement would mean that we stay at Hope Mountain; not only caring for the children who come from the streets, but opening our doors to those who, at present, are consigned to the children’s prison system.
Another way to care for the least of these.
And so, perhaps our sojourn in the wilderness is coming to an end. But we must remember, when the children of Israel crossed the Jordan, there were still battles to be fought.
Even there, God was faithful, and we will enter this new journey of ministry knowing that He directs our paths.
Maybe, just maybe, we are finally to the point of resolution.