We went back to the juvenile detention center again to give the boys a very special party. For a day, we transformed a prison, into a playground and even though they are here because the are criminals of some kind, inside, like all of us, they are children. We wanted to celebrate their birthdays and bring them some fun, so we planned some games, piñatas, a magic show and got some prizes and treats for them all. We divided them up into 6 groups, one for each of my brothers and sisters and I and made up teams with each a different color and name. We played dodge ball (super crazy and fun:)), had water balloon tosses (even though they all kept stealing water balloons and hurling them at each other so it was a good thing we had hundreds:)), and had wheel barrel races and other games.
Between each game we would take time to sit down and teach them things to help them, like how to give good handshakes and look someone in the eyes and things that can help them get a job. How to speak loud and clear and stand up straight. To care about each other and look out for each other like brothers and ways they can help their community and fix things. We talked about drugs and asked them how much they would pay if someone asked them to carry drugs. Then we showed a picture of a horrible prison here and asked them how much they would pay to get out of prison. When they answered they would give everything they own to get out of prison, they realized that no amount of money is worth running drugs, besides the risk of their lives. And we talked about how to focus and tune out all distractions to begin to read the Scriptures and seek Jesus on their own.
It took a lot of work to keep everything under control, include everyone, keep order, teach them, plus play with them. The piñatas got super crazy with big jam piles of boys diving for candy and having a lot of fun. Then we brought them all together and talked with them more and did a magic show. Many were in tears when we were saying goodbye and it was all over. Honestly, I was at the point of tears too and really came to love my team of 16 boys. They just kept giving me hugs. The director and all the guards and staff were very moved and grateful to us. It was a very special day I will never forget.