The Best Journey in Life Leads to the Cross
Moses is a young man who grew up in the worst of circumstances. His parents and family members were involved in gang activity and introduced him to a life of crime at a very young age. His home, if it could be called that, was filled with drug abuse, prostitution, and the worst type of violence you could possibly imagine. Most children who grow up in these homes end up following the same downward spiral of their parents and raising their children to do the same. It’s the same repeating cycle of self-destruction passed down from generation to generation.
On occasion, there’s a child that will awaken to their inner conscience—God planted—and flee for their lives. That was Moses. Getting kicked out of his home was emotionally traumatic, but it did increase his odds of staying alive, slightly. Life on the streets can be especially dangerous for children. Time passed and somehow Moses ended up in Foster Care. Again, a slight improvement, but in some ways, not much better than the life from which he fled. He still felt trapped and was desperate to find a better solution.
We need to acknowledge a reality here. While there are many good foster parents, unfortunately, there are some who treat kids like chattel—just another opportunity to suck profit out of a broken system. These are throw-away kids, conveniently ignored by society and forgotten by most. After aging out of the foster care system, most will go back to the streets. Some will end up dead or strung out on drugs. Many will fill the commercialized prisons we build so that suburbia can look the other way… “Out of sight, out of mind.”
The authorities contacted us out on the ranch and asked if we had room for Moses. “Yes” came easy for us. Bottom line, I understand kids like Moses. I was one. But for the grace of God, I would not be alive. Today, my wife and I obey a wonderful calling from God. He chose us to intervene in the lives of orphans, one-by-one, for as long as we live as pilgrims on this earth. If you’d like to learn more about me, StevieRay Hansen, the Founder of this ministry, check out my autobiography by clicking here.
In the case of Moses, we’ve said “Yes” on three different occasions. His first two stays at the ranch didn’t go so well. He still carried the weight of the things he had seen and done. Unable to receive love or even understand it, he left… twice! We wondered if we’d ever see him again as he walked away that last time.
As the months passed, my wife and I began to wonder if something needed to change in the way that we took care of these throw-away kids. “What if,” we imagined, “each kid that we take in lives in a travel trailer parked next our ranch house? What if, we employed them for a year or two, helped them complete their education, and taught them the skills to manage a ranch. Then, after they have matured enough to live on their own, we move their travel trailer to a location of their choosing where they can settle into a new job, or perhaps even attend college.”
No sooner than we had made the decision to move forward with the new strategy, Moses reached out. As they say, “The third time’s the charm.” At first sight, we could see a definite change in Moses. Where he had been defiant, he was now eager to learn. Where he had kept everyone at arm’s length, he now hungered for positive attention. Earlier, he didn’t want to acknowledge the emotional and spiritual side of life. Now he is growing in both… communicating, listening, soaking up information like a sponge. Moses is setting goals and riding saddle bronc horses in rodeos. What a difference!
Here’s where the story gets really good. Moses decided that he wanted to become a Believer, follow Jesus Christ, and get baptized. My wife and I were elated. Genuine change had arrived. Life’s best decision without debate, and grace like rain poured down on him like showers of heavenly blessings. Quickly, we called a pastor friend who had met Moses earlier and asked, “Can you come out to the ranch and baptize Moses?”
“Absolutely,” he said.
Here’s a little backstory for our audience. Our ministry is called The 127 Faith Foundation for a reason. It’s a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that my wife and I set up to answer the call of the New Testament Book of James, chapter 1, verse 27:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Our heart’s desire for The 127 is to be Christ-centered, pure, faultless, and to look after distressed orphans. The “look after” part of the verse is perhaps the most challenging, but it’s also the most rewarding.
The pastor arrived rejoicing after a two-and-a-half-hour road trip. We all gathered together on the second floor of our ranch house. Moses asked many questions about the decision he had made. We counselled with him, read many Scriptures, and then prayed.
The water tank—that’s what we call it in Texas—was filled with water the day before. Yes, it was cold, perhaps not so much as when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan river. The pastor and Moses navigated two ladders—one to climb up, the other to climb down into the water. Next, the pastor placed one hand on Moses’ shoulder, the other raised to the blue Texas sky (that is, the heaven where God dwells, seriously). Then he said,
“Moses, because you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of your life, and because you are obedient to follow him in baptism, I baptize you as my brother in Christ… in the name of Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Buried with Christ in Baptism…”
Moses took a deep breath and went under. You might ask at this point, “What’s the point?” Oh, don’t miss the beauty of the symbolism here. Baptism represents the washing away of sins, the burial of an old toxic life, and the resurrection of the new person with a fresh start.
As Moses reappeared, head above water and standing on his feet again, the pastor finished, “Raised to walk a new life.”
That’s what it’s all about. Moses exchanged his old life for a new one. Does that mean he will be perfect from this point on? No! It means that his story is really just beginning. But it’s a new story. Or you might even say, “A News Story.” The word “gospel” means “good news.”
So, we end this story with a smile. Yes, check out that smile on Moses. It’s genuine. Ours are too! What we love most is impacting the lives of these young men. We could spend our whole lives ranting and raving about how bad the world is becoming, but we live to make a difference. As a wise man once said, “Don’t shout at the darkness, light a candle.” You see best when you see light. And Jesus said, “You…” my dear friends, “are the light of the world.
Did you know that you can participate in helping young people like Moses? You may not have the opportunity to park a travel trailer next to your home, provide food and supplies, and help someone get vocational training. However, you can help the people who do. Check the opportunity to support The 127 Faith Foundation by clicking here. Every cent you give supports orphans like Moses. Nothing goes anywhere else.
Also, be sure to sign up for our newsletter. We’d love for you to stay in touch with his progress.
Here’s our family photo album.
God bless you!!!
StevieRay & Laura Hansen
Here’s a follow-up from the pastor who baptized Moses:
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