Bonding with Youth in Bushwick, Brooklyn
We asked a committed volunteer to share his story of serving with our affiliate, Living Waters Fellowship in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
On a free Friday nine months ago, I signed up to serve with Living Waters Fellowship. Since then, I have been desperately trying to help Ms. Isabel on Friday evenings. Ms. Isabel single handedly hosts and engages kids, sometimes more than 25 in attendance, to give them a place to go on Friday nights, keep them off the street, and engage them in the Word of God.
Each kid has a unique set of difficulties in their lives. Almost across the board, I have learned of a death and/or divorce keeping them from knowing their parents. Many live with grandparents, two with their aunt, and two with their sister. The children deal with various developmental disabilities, from tendencies toward anger and aggression to serious mental handicaps. Living Waters gives them a safe space to be themselves and to grow at their own pace.
These kids do not attend the church and they are mostly unfamiliar with the Word of God. But they have all found Living Waters Youth Group on Friday nights, through connections and word of mouth, as a place to laugh, play, and make friends.
Every week, after organized games and social time, Ms. Isabel gives a half hour Bible lesson. During one of my first weeks, I still remember one child asking, halfway through the story of Paul’s conversion on the way to Damascus, “Who’s Paul?” Having worked with youth groups filled with “church kids” in the past, the difference in dynamics has stunned me. The stories of the Bible are new to this group; they don’t need to be reminded, they need to be told.
Living Waters is opening their space in a way I’ve never seen in a church, serving their neighborhood in a way churches ten times their size should envy and replicate. For me, it has been a joy to participate in serving youth there!
Find opportunities to serve with Living Waters Fellowship with Sam!