We moved into our house last August, 6 weeks before Noelle was born. Travis and I specifically chose this neighborhood for several reasons - it's the same neighborhood our church is in (actually within walking distance), about 5-10 minutes away from Travis' work depending on traffic, and we could afford it. :-)
One thing we were excited about was that over the past 4-5 years, our church has been building up a community outreach ministry to the folks that live around our building. Let me describe our neighborhood to you. It's made up of older couples/widows that bought in this neighborhood when it was just built 30 some years ago, Latino families, and African Americans. Lots of single parent families. This is the kind of neighborhood where the kids walk and ride their bikes out all day and just wander around from house to house until the parent(s) get home from work. Not much adult supervision around here. Our church saw the opportunity where we could connect with these kids and tell them about Jesus.
Sometime after the first of the year, we met Kathryn. Kathryn is an 11 year old Peruvian girl who lives at home with her single mother, older brother Carlos (around 17 yrs. old) and little brother Tito (4 years old). Her mother doesn't speak English hardly at all so I've never even been able to carry on a conversation with her, and she doesn't seem to want to get to know us to be honest. The dad took off about the time that we got to know the kids and comes around sporadically.
We initially met Kathryn because I found her two puppies wandering around in the street and I put them in the backyard with our dogs so that they wouldn't get hit. She came up to our door panicing because I had her dogs she thought we were taking them. After assuring her that I did NOT want two more dogs, we talked for a bit. Kathryn started coming over after school 2-3 times a week just to hang out. Usually she wanted to watch a movie, but sometimes we would just chat about school and Noelle and get to know each other. After she had been coming over for several weeks, her little brother Tito came with her. Kathryn has a pretty good command of English - she's been in public school for about 2 years. Tito speaks mostly Spanish at home, and what English he knows, he has picked up from his sister and her friends. He calls Travis "Mr. Traaaaabis" and follows Travis around constantly.
God has so obviously placed us into the lives of these two kids that I am honestly overwhelmed. They frustrate the life out of me most of the time. They come over at the most inconvenient times - I'm trying to make dinner, Noelle is napping, I'm napping. They want to help Travis with yard work, washing the dogs, whatever they can do to follow him around and make whatever he is doing take twice as long. :-) What sobers me is that I am a representative of Jesus to them. How well am I representing Him to these kiddos? Kathryn and I have had some good conversations - most of which come completely out of the blue. Are we going to have Noelle baptized as an infant? What if Travis and I get a divorce? When does Noelle take her first communion? All big questions that have allowed us small opportunities to show them our faith.
I decided I wanted to introduce Tito & Kathryn to those that read my posts so that, if you feel inclined, you might pray for these kids. And I can also share about them regularly and there is some context as to who they are. :-)