Top, L-R: Micheal, Veassna, Krumm, Jonathan, Hocklee,
Middle L-R: Rene, Paht, Tia, Pov, Vanny, David, Joe
Bottom L-R: Caleb, Logan, Kosal, Sam
We try to have schedules and "to do" lists. Most days they don't work out.... The things at the top of the list or in time slots are often set aside to build relationships with the guys when they need it most.
When we are beginning a project or in the middle it, often one of the guys needs to feel loved. We like the fact that relationships come first for us here. It is a pleasant change from a construction site manager where the project always has to get done ASAP. I don't have to weigh Person vs. Project. This is a very large plus considering the pasts that the guys here have had and their various emotional states.
Some times it starts with a conflict. Maybe a test to see if we love them. Some times a genuine issue. It might be a desire for any attention, positive or negative. There are countless reasons. Whatever the reason, we get to work through the issue and find out what's on the other side. I'm encouraged that most conflicts are resolved the same day and the relationships are much stronger for it. Some have taken longer. It bring me joy to say that all conflicts are resolved to date. I'm sure there will be more on the horizon. That's just how relationships are built.
Many of the guys here have not felt like they have had love and encouragement. Having a safe environment to express their emotions has been a problem. The guys have said things like:
"I don't let people get close. It's just easier"
"I don't have any friends"
"I don't know how to talk about my feelings"
"I'm sad and mad that I don't feel comfortable with my feelings"
"I should have learned this from my parents"
"Why didn't I have this sort of relationship with my parents?"
"What is Love?"
"How do you know your in love?"
"I finally feel like some one wants to know me."
"You guys are the only friends I can talk to"
It is encouraging to see them being freed from their past and how their lives are being redeemed.
We love being able to talk for hours about what is going on inside of a guy. Many times it has to do with their past and how it is affecting their life now. Some of it has to do with just growing up and sometimes the questions about "Girls". We feel so privileged to speak into the lives of these young men. It is so amazing to see them growing and maturing.
I suppose the projects will just have to wait!
OUR JOB ROCKS!!!