Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jaquan

I posted yesterday, but I have no idea where the post went. It has completely disappeared. Very odd.... I will try to re-write as well as I can.

Over the past couple of years I have done some work with Hope Extreme, a ministry I was introduced to through my best friend Amber. Hope Extreme is a ministry/tutoring center for urban kids in Houma (a city about an hour from me). Last year I went every Tuesday to tutor for a few hours. I really learned to love those kids and see how special and unique each and every one of them is. It is so special to be able to see the smiles on their faces when they walk in the door!

Last month, on December 22, one of the kids who was most special to Hope Extreme passed away suddenly. Jaquan had been a part of Hope Extreme since it's beginning. His funeral service was one of the saddest I have ever been to; yet it was filled with a heavenly joy as well. As the pastor repeatedly pointed out, Jaquan did not waste his life. He gave his heart to Christ at the age of 12, and lived every day for his Lord. He didn't die tragically, from drugs or gang fights or other from one of the other dangers to most kids who live the street life. Instead, he wanted to tell his friends about Christ. His dream was to go to other countries and tell the children there about Jesus.

Even through his death, we pray that he will continue to minister to others. We are praying that this will be a wake up call to the other Hope Extreme kids; that they will see that no one, not even a young teenager, is guaranteed even their next breath. Please join me in praying for Jaquan's family, friends, and for Hope Extreme. This is such a difficult time for everyone who knew him.
Jaquan and Amber at the Hope Extreme center


Here is what Tara, the director of Hope Extreme, said about Jaquan:
The Psalmist writes "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me..." In earthly terms our human shadows are caused by a greater light that displays but a vague glimpse of our earthly image. In this passage the psalmist is aware that the shadow of death is also caused by a greater source, the all encompassing light of God shining in such a way that we are to know that "his rod and staff will comfort us."

This past month that shadow passed over Hope Extreme. Sixteen-year-old Jaquan Veal, who had been with Hope Extreme since our beginning, pa
ssed away on December 22. About twenty kids were here at the center the night we learned of his passing; as you can imagine, life here has not been the same. We have mourned. We have doubted. We have cried. We have remembered that God is the God of second chances.

Jaquan had a heart transplant almost three years ago which at the time left him blind and partially paralyzed. God gave Jaquan his life back, his sight back, and his body back and we were so thankful. Jaquan knew that his life was but a fleeting breath and dedicated it to the God who saved him. Jaquan often said that he received two hearts...a physical one, but more importantly a spiritual one, the latter which is eternal.
Though our tragedy is great, through Jaquan's life - and through those who came closer to God as a result of his death - there is greater triumph. And that is how we chose to ring in the New Year, in God's Almighty Triumph.

1 comment:

Jennifer T. said...

What a neat place to volunteer! Good reflections here for me personally as we prepare for the one year anniversary of Gabriela's passing. Thanks for sharing!