Establishing Trusting Relationships
The All Saints’ youth spent a week this summer in Aliquippa, PA, an impoverished and seemingly forgotten little city just outside Pittsburgh, where they conducted CVBS in three neighborhoods. The first site was a tiny playground on Baker Street; the second a run-down trailer park, and the third, a community area outside some ancient apartment buildings. At each site, the team used sports and games to bridge the significant cultural and age gaps among the children, and to draw even the shyest children into the conversations.
Many powerful testimonies grew out of these encounters, but perhaps the most poignant was a discussion with a very young girl on the day the VBS teaching centered on Silas in jail. That very morning this child’s father had been arrested and taken into custody while she watched, eating her breakfast. Upon learning that Silas was able to sing to Jesus despite being in prison, she asked the group to pray for her daddy, that he would meet Jesus in jail and be comforted to the point of singing with the same joy Silas showed. How could they not?
Every year this group returns to Aliquippa, not only to conduct CVBS but to form relationships within the community. While there they help a local bicycle ministry repair bikes for children whose families can’t afford to do it themselves, they visit a medical facility for extremely debilitated handicapped children, and they visit homes in the most destitute neighborhoods, praying for the residents and for the city itself. To the youth from All Saints’ Church, it’s tough, fun, heartbreaking, mentally and physically exhausting, but victorious work, and they wouldn’t miss it for the world.