The smell of Central American coffee was rich in the air. The roar of the blenders making smoothies filled the small coffee shop. High school students were slowly gathering in for their Thursday night ritual of coffee, cookies, smoothies, and Jesus. Andrew had been working as the youth minister at a small mainline Protestant church for a number of years. This small group of high school students had just started meeting at a local coffee shop recently. The owners of the shop had graciously allowed Andrew’s students to meet in the back of the coffee shop where sofas had been set up.
The high school students were scattered on the sofas, some were on the floor, and others had pulled chairs over. Then, Mike walked in. Mike was a freshman in high school. Middle school had not been good to him. He had been picked on, teased, bullied, beat up, face stuffed in lockers. You name it, it most likely happened to Mike. Mike was a tall and skinny guy, but he walked slummed over as if an old man beaten down by age. He found a space on one of the sofas, and slouched down into the sofa with his long legs extending higher into the air than his head.