y now, most of you have likely heard or read about the attempted arson at Restoration Church back in April. This past week the man responsible for the damage done to the church as well as the acts of vandalism and slashing of dozens of car tires in the neighborhood surrounding the church was caught and arrested. Feel free to get caught up on the situation from local coverage here.
It is bizarre to hear about all the ways in which this man lashing out at the world and then to hear that the only reason he could point to for doing so was that he’s “had a hard life”. As strange as that might seem, it might seem even stranger to some that Ross, the pastor of the church that had been displaced, inconvenienced, and hurt by this man’s violent actions is ready and willing to offer forgiveness and acceptance not just from himself personally, but on behalf of a like-minded congregation. I hope that you will join with me and Restoration Church as we pray for John Serina to come to faith in our Lord through these experiences and through his interactions with Ross.
This whole situation gets me thinking about a number of things as I contemplate moving to the area to start an organization offering hope to hurting young people and their families. The first thing it does for me is affirm the need, literally in the neighborhood of Restoration Church, for youth to have more safe environments to give and receive support and to form positive connections with caring adults.
The second thing I have been wondering is what if there had been hope? How different could things have turned out for this man if Hope for Youth would have been a regular part of his life as a young person? He might still have been able to say he “had a hard life” growing up, but he would have known that he is not alone, that he is loved without strings, and that he is lovable, capable, and worthwhile, no matter what everyone else might say to him. He would have healthy outlets for his emotions and tools to reach out when he found himself in any form of desperate need. He would have had hope.
Help us to offer that hope to teens that are currently experiencing that same “hard life” that Mr.Serina once did. Pray for Hope for Youth as an organization, that we would not lose sight of the mission to which God has called us. Please consider giving financially to help us accomplish our goal of reaching as many hurting youth as possible with the message of hope. I appreciate your time and your willingness to give in any form and pray that you will be blessed in return!