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Volunteer Makes the Difference in a Young Man's Life

After graduating from college, Bethany W. started a year-long volunteer program with Emmaus Ministries, a Chicago-based outreach to young men involved in prostitution. Many of the young men come from profoundly broken homes and become lost in a lifestyle of drugs, sex, and violence. According to Emmaus' website, the volunteers "build relationships of trust with these men" so they can "help them get off the streets and cultivate a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ." During her one-year program at Emmaus, Bethany often doubted if she was making a difference for Christ. But then she had the following experience with a young man named Devan:

Another staff member and I went to court with Devan in a neighboring city where he had been arrested for shoplifting a year ago. He stood to face several more years in prison, since this was a repeated offense. Since his arrest, however, through Christ's love he has made tremendous strides. He has gotten clean from alcohol, joined a halfway house, and become disciplined about finding jobs and improving his life.
After both lawyers presented their arguments, the judge turned to Devan and started asking him a barrage of questions: "How will you keep this from happening again? What is your support network?" And finally she pointedly asked, "And by the way, how were you transported to this court room?"
He slowly turned around and looked back at me and the other staff worker, the only other people in the courtroom, and said, "These two workers from Emmaus Ministries brought me here." In the end, the judge gave Devan probation, as long as he continues making progress on his goals. Although Devan has initiated positive changes in his life, I also can't help but wonder the way God has worked in his life through our consistent presence, truth and love.

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