Four Young Men, One of Them Dead

This is a story of four black teens. One of them is dead.

Let's be optimistic. Let's start with the three who have so much to live for.

I went to LAX last Friday night at midnight to pick up two kids from Africa. They're twins. They share a rare disorder on their hands. They have three fingers on each hand, twelve fingers between them.

They just turned 13.

They were endlessly amused by the automatic doors at the airport. And that is (literally) only the begining.

In Ethiopia their family lives on $22 a month. A month. They shine shoes in front of Mother Teresa's Home for the Destitute and Dying. I have been there. It's worse than the name. They make about 80 cents a day.

They barfed (sorry, I should have warned you that was coming, but you don't always get a warning with vomit) riding in the car. Reminds me of Sandra, the little girl from El Salvador who stayed with my family for four months. She had never been in a car before coming here. She threw up 10 times on the 10 freeway.

The kids come here with Mending Kids International. I am proud to be on the board of this charity. We help the sickest of the sick and the poorest of the poor. Our doctors travel the world but sometimes kids come here for surgery. They stay with "host" families while they heal.

LA is a big change for kids who have never been in a car, never taken a shower, never flushed a toilet.
But we bring them here to change their lives.

The twins had surgery Saturday at Cedars Sinai.

The doctors did 18 surgeries in 12 hours. Nine kids from around the world (Ethiopia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Ghana) and nine kids from LA.

The doctors donate their time. The surgeries are free. We have had medical missions around the world. We have helped kids in 48 countries. But this was our first "Home Town Mission."

The twins are still a little happy from the drugs (I'll have what they're having). Hopefully they will be happy with their hands. Hopefully they will have more opportunities in life.

Another teenager from Ethiopia had hand surgery Saturday. Before Mending Kids this young man named Werkneh lived inside Mother Teresa's for the Destitute and Dying. He would have died there.

He was hiding from the world because people could not stand to look at his hands. He had 10 pounds of tumors on his hands. They looked like scary Mickey Mouse hands.

Werkneh is still a little happy from the drugs. But he is always happy. After having several surgeries he is a walking, smiling, basketball playing, Laker-loving miracle.

Those are "my" African teens.

And then there is the dead child. He was African-American.

I'm not going to retry the case in this blog... but if George Zimmerman is not guilty, is Trayvon guilty?

George Zimmerman told Sean Hannity that he did not regret the events of that night. He said it was God's plan.

I believe in God.

I do not pretend to know his plans.

But I cannot imagine God planned for George Zimmerman (who was on his way to Target) to stop and shoot that kid.

I'm doing what Trayvon's mom asked us to do. I'm going to church.

I'm putting my hands together and praying that the other three teens will do great things with their new hands.

At least I hope that's God's plan.