Friday, March 21, 2008
fridays with kelco
I taught high school for about 7 years. I learned so much in that time, and met so many hundreds of people. I can’t always remember names, but I usually get faces. I counted once…I’ve taught math to over 1000 people. which is insane cause that’s way too many people that had to put up with my stuff.
One of those is Nick Kelco. I taught him back in my first year at BTHS. It was a special year, with special people that I taught that just plain mean so much to me. It was the year I met and married my wife Rachel. And these 150 or so people I taught that year were there for it all. Many even attended my wedding.
Nick was in my 04 Liberal Arts Math class. We talked some, and got along pretty well. I’d hear his name in the years to come. I started hearing it a lot more in the fall of 2007. He got in a lot of fights. And he got arrested for them. His brother Mark got out of jail in the fall, and died in a tragic car wreck only a few short weeks later.
Nick told me that was the low point of his life- up to that point.
Then came that night in winter 08 when he was pulled over in st. johns` by a duval police officer. nick was shot twice (out of 10 shots fired at him) in the arms. the rest of the story was all over the place. and that’s really not the focus I have here.
It’s that he’s alive…and doing better in his heart than ever before. After hearing the news, I just shrugged my shoulders. I’ve known him, and know a lot of his friends from church and school. But during prayer a couple of days later, I felt God say, “Go see Kelco”.
so I did. Didn’t know what to do, but I did. We sat, we talked, and I asked him if he wanted prayer. He said yes, for his mom. We both cried that day. I gave him a Bible and some books. He later asked for a new Bible, a little easier to read, so I gave him the “Free on the Inside” bible that Jozef Miller made so famous recently.
I’ve gone to see him every Friday since. Its’ become a high point of my week to go and get him out of cell block 13. Last week, he had tears in his eyes when he said, “I’m just so thankful. For my friends. For my mom. And for you. You’re pretty much my only link the outside that I get to see face to face.”
He’s from a family that’s been through hell on earth the past year. But his mom came to church last week, and she came and hugged me. To have gone through all of this and still look to their faith and God, I’m so in awe of what He’s doing in this. Nick says on Easter that many of his friends and mom will come to church together.
and at 10:30 that day, he told me he’d have his own little church service in his cell, and try to take himself to the same place they are, while he reads John 17-21 in memory of Jesus’ death, burial,and resurrection.
Keep prayin for Nick and all of those involved in that winter incident that could have been so much worse. there’s a lot of pain that doesn’t end with him. Even when he gets out, he has so many obstacles to overcome. If you are a friend who’s been writing, visiting, calling him, thank you. We all have fallen short, and messed things up. None is perfect. All we can do is know God can change each one of us, no matter how tough the circumstances.