I spent last night hanging out with two 16 year old girls. That's not so unusual for me - the wife of a youth minister. But this was different. We didn't hang out at Starbucks or go to a movie.
We hung out in their prison cell.
It wasn't K's first visit to Rivarde Juvenile Detention Center. She'd been many times before, almost always for fighting. H found herself locked up and awaiting trial as an accessory to murder. She showed us the newspaper clipping that reported the story.
K is the oldest of her mother's children, but the youngest of her father's children. It is a fragmented family. While she's serving her sentence, her 6 month old son is being kept by his father's family. The cycle has already begun to repeat itself.
H lived with her grandmother. She has no idea how long she will be incarcerated. The 17 year old girl who committed the murder has already been tried as an adult - and found guilty.
Both girls have hopes and dreams. They desire a different life. But somewhere, somehow the cycle has to be broken.
That's why First Baptist New Orlean's Rivarde Team goes week in and week out. We know that a relationship with Christ can break the vicious cycle. Christ is the Ultimate Cycle-Breaker. He came because humanity was stuck in a sin-sacrifice-sin-sacrifice cycle. True repentance had been replaced by rote ceremonies and sacrifices. He saved us from such drudgery. And because of Him, we have crossed from death into life.
God forgives, reconciles, restores and makes all things new. Pray for K and H - that they will allow Christ to break the cycle and make them new. Pray for the Rivarde team who speaks words of life into the lives of incarcerated teenagers each week.