Manuel

Manuel

RiverWalk Church of Christ Wichita Ks  Minister

Let me tell you about a boy. The story is true. His name has been changed. We’ll call him Manuel. Manuel is enrolled in the public school system in the Wichita area. He’s only six years old, but has led a very eventful life up until this day.
Manuel was kidnapped from his mother by his non-custodial father and taken to Mexico in 2015. There, he was subject to abuse…emotionally, physically, and sexually…by the men who were in the life of the father, as well as the father himself.
Just a few months ago, in March of this year, the mother found Manuel and brought him back to the United States. Manuel has several traumatic issues that have come about as a result of his earlier life in Mexico.
While in Mexico, besides the abuse, Manuel fell out of a building. He was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury as a result of the fall, and is now also profoundly deaf in one ear. There may be other physiological issues that have come from that fall that are not apparent or diagnosed yet. Mom is working on getting a full workup of Manuel’s physical problems.
He meets with a therapist once a week, on Thursday mornings. Additionally, a ComCare worker comes to the school on Mondays and spends some time with Manuel. He has difficulty understanding English, and cannot hear well in any case due to his deaf right ear.
Manuel does not respond well to men because they were his abusers. He gets frustrated easily and needs to be given time and space to “defuse.” The school tries its best to find safe spots for him to vent his frustrations without causing undue disruption to the other students.
OK, this is Jay. I tell you this story because it is not at ll an unusual or unique story. There are scores of students in the public school systems in the Wichita area…most of whom are in the Wichita 259 district, who are just like Manuel. They’ve been traumatized, victimized, and neglected. They have issues that defy fixing, and carry around enough emotional and physical baggage for five kids.
Yet the school system is expected to find a way to educate these kids, make them productive members of society, and send them into the world at age 18 with a diploma and an education. And the “normal” people of society who look at an adult Manuel tell him that if he would just have worked harder and would try harder, he wouldn’t have to be on government assistance and could be a productive member of society.
I know that some people defy the odds and become very productive in life. I also know that each life…each soul…each person…is of immense value to the God of heaven, and so is also of immense value to me as God’s child. I’m not ready to write off these kids. I think there are some things we can do to help the Manuels of the world cope and be productive. But it’s going to take more than a few days or weeks. It’s going to take more than a few dollars. And it’s going to take more than a little effort and diligence.
May God bless especially those people on the front lines who call upon the name of Jesus Christ and wade deep into the sin and muck of the everyday lives of others. Those people…the teachers, translators, therapists, psychologists, administrators, and others who work with these kids as best they can…are truly the hands and feet of Jesus.
Manuel is a child loved by Jesus Christ. He should be loved by all of us who call on that name for our salvation and our hope. We must be diligent to tell the story of Jesus…to tell of His love, salvation, and grace. A lost world is dying to hear it.

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