Written by Pat Nudera,
JJM Volunteer

“It is not My Father’s will that any of His little ones should perish”

(Matt. 18:14)

Working as a volunteer chaplain with JJM and Rockford Reach-Out certainly has been an eye-opening experience!  The battle that is “raging” for the young people in our community is overwhelming.  After working in the Juvenile Justice system for 25 years, I thought I had seen it all–not hardly!  When I retired, I wanted to do whatever I could to keep young people out of the system, but I never realized what that actually meant!  As I drive to Detention now, the Lord reminds me of what Jeremiah said about his calling, “You are My war club, My weapon for battle.  With you, I shatter nations…and destroy kingdoms” (Jeremiah 51:20). That’s my passion–who I am, for the sake of these kids in tough places.

I have experienced a double suicide attempt by one of the boys, unsuccessful, thank God!  I experienced another young man grieving the loss of a brother and his mother, all within just a couple of weeks.  But…

I worked with another young man who thought he was going to the Department of Corrections. He returned from court and announce, that the truth had been revealed; he was going home. I was blessed to lead and watch another young person give his life to the Lord.  In the weeks that followed, he would always ask for more scripture.  It kept me on my Biblical toes!!

I call them my “Gospel Sons,” the ones the Father does not want to perish.

So, you ask, “Why?  Why do you put yourself through this roller coaster of emotions?  Why do you care?”  My answer is LOVE.

Scripture tells us that God is Love.  It’s because of His Love and desire for a relationship with us that Jesus went to the Cross and died a horrendous death.  It’s this Love for us that held Him there. Conquering Satan, death, and hell He rose from the dead.  Because I am a child of God and He lives in me, I can share that same Love.  That’s why I do what I do; it’s why I care. I want God’s love for me to be poured out on these broken kids, “my little ones,” as Jesus called them. I call them my “Gospel Sons,” the ones the Father does not want to perish.

Many years ago, I read Isa. 6:8 and said to the Lord, “…Here I am.  Send me!”  He has, and I am incredibly blessed and thankful that He did.

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