I returned last Wednesday from an amazing week in Venezuela. I and others were invited to help launch the child abuse prevention campaign called “Buen Trato.” It was a fascinating week of teaching, listening and building friendships. The Youth For Christ team from Uruguay called “Claves” did an amazing job in leading us all through the campaign process. Half way through our week several of us met with a news station and talked about the campaign. That was a first for me! Twenty-three out of the twenty-four states were represented and those participating had plans to return to their state to kick off the campaign and train local leaders. At one point all sixty of us hit the streets to talk about child abuse in public. I believe it was a good opportunity to get the word out that the church is concerned about these kind of issues.
After my time in Valencia promoting the campaign, I spent several days in Caracas reconnecting with friends and young men who were once children at the Lighthouse Ranch. A number of them are doing really well. My time in Caracas was both contemplative and therapeutic. I miss the opportunity to work one on one with young people in helping them see the potential they have to realize their dreams, yet I am confident that God has us training and preparing Christians to be effective in care of children at risk for a reason.