A Teen Challenge Christmas Story

Homemade Cookies. Fudge. Bags and bags of candy. Hot chocolate mix. More Candy. More Cookies. Lots and lots of goodies arrive at Teen Challenge over the Christmas holidays, sent by parents and grandparent of the students. But let me tell you about one box that arrived for one of the 1st platoon boys with Happy New Year wishes for the staff and students.
It came from NYC – overnight UPS. Inside the box were 2 large bags of cooked rice, 2 large bags of red beans and rice, 4 containers of what looked like baked beans but with some added goodies, a pork roast and a bag of gravy. (Oh, and a couple bags of mini-chocolate bars!). The food arrived still a little frozen, so we put it right in the fridge and figured out what day we could serve it. Gary & I were “on” for New Year’s Day, so it seemed the perfect chance to serve this food that had traveled so far and had come with such love. But since we weren’t exactly sure how it all “fit together” we called the son in to act as our guest chef. As would be the case with most 14 year olds, he really had no idea how it “fit together”, but he offered what advice he could and was pleased to be part of the process. Since I had to add some rice to the dishes, I asked him to give it a taste, since I really had no idea what it was supposed to taste like (not being an expert in red beans and rice!). Little did I know it is against regulations for the cadets to taste any food before it has been served, so he refused (very politely, of course!). After much persuasion and assurances that he would not be written up, he finally took a spoonful of the rice. One taste and with his eyes closed, a smile spread across his face.

“It tastes like home.”

So thanks, Mom and Dad, for sending that little bit of home. And for letting us share it with 40 other young men who were longing for “home”.

All the “boys” are back from their Christmas break, we’ve said good-bye to our Sower friends who were here in December, and ten new Sower couples have arrived for January. Should be an exciting month – especially if Gary gets to start some of the A/C –Heating work.

And if tomorrow’s Monday – it must be spaghetti and meat sauce day!

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