Sometimes I find myself asking what is so alluring about the streets? Why, when the boys have perfectly good families, do they keep returning to the streets? And that’s when I always think of Peter Pan and the lost boys. For the street boys, the city of Maputo is like Neverland! Each day they wake up and beg at the red lights for a few coins to buy bread and then they spend their day looking for treasures in the trash dumpsters. At night, they find a place to sleep – sometimes in a shopfront or abandoned house and sometimes they build little houses out of cardboard, sticks, and plastic. All day long, they roam the streets looking for adventure. No adults telling them what to do and when to do it. No one forcing them to bathe or wash their clothes or go to school. It’s a carefree life. What 10 to 15 year old wouldn’t love that life?!
But then there is the harsh realities to life in this Neverland. Sickness. Drug addiction. Crime. Nights of suffering because of the cold and rain. Beatings. Rape.
I see boys that have been on the streets since 2009 when I began working with Masana and I am shocked at how old they look. They are growing up on the streets and because of their addictions and lives of crime, it’s like they’ve aged 10 years in these past 5 years. Their innocence has been lost. Eventually, Neverland looses it’s allure but for many of these boys it feels hopeless. They have been estranged from their families for so long that its hard to go back. They know no other life.
But there is hope. The God I serve is a God of redemption. He longs to restore the hearts of these boys to the hearts of their fathers! And so I’m reminded that God is still at work in the hearts and souls of these boys. He’s still using Masana to restore these “lost boys” to their families.
Proof? In the last week, 2 “lost boys” who have been on the streets for 3 or more years decided to leave Neverland behind and return to their families. God is restoring their hearts to their family. That’s what He loves to do.