The following post is from Wanda Ashworth Valencia, one of CBF’s field personnel, who serves at Open House Ministries in Homestead, Fla.
Open House Ministries has five rules. That might seem like a lot, especially in a community that resists rules, but I often remind the children and youth that if they would simply live by Rule #5, they would actually be following all of the rules.
Rule #5 is “Do what you know is right, even when no one is looking.”
Several months ago, we had a local church visit us to do some landscaping work. One of our high school students was leading the team that was putting in new plants around the building. He came to me and told me that they had busted a water line with the pick. I was visibly upset, but tried to handle everything with grace. I thought the person who punctured the line with the pick was one of the local volunteers.
I told our high school leader to just be calm and we would figure out some way to fix it later. I emphasized to him that he should make sure the person who busted the pipe did not feel bad – reassure everyone that everything would be okay. The young man looked me in the eye and admitted that he was the one who busted the water line. I was so proud of him for acknowledging that – I would never have known that it was not one of the other volunteers.
When I mentioned this to the high school student, he responded, “Do what you know is right, even when no one is looking.” It is so cool to know he was actually living by this rule! (I am also thankful that I responded in a gracious manner about the situation, so he felt safe to tell me the truth. That part was definitely a work of the Holy Spirit and not me!)
In May, this young man graduated from high school and will begin college in August. When I arrived in Homestead in 2004, our graduation rate was 50%, which meant that half of our youth were not prepared for future employment or education. We have made some gains in this area with our latest reported rate being 73%!
Of course, the integrity of the young man in this story speaks volumes about what is really happening here. God transforms lives and communities!