Saturday was a great day doing ministry in the city as a family. On Saturday morning, the kids and I headed with our team into Gerardo Barrios. This is a squatter’s community where we have recently begun a regular Saturday morning kids program. It includes songs, games, a craft, snacks, a Bible story and a memory verse. The kids earn points each week and at the end of the six week session they can win prizes. Tori and Ian have been participating each week along with the kids in the community. I love watching them interact with the other kids. These kids live in houses made of sticks and garbage bags, with no running water, and poverty conditions. But my kids don’t see that…they just see new friends. While we were in Gerardo Barrios, Jon was at the airport picking up a new staff member from New Jersey. Yeah for new staff members!
We grabbed some lunch with the DTS students at the base, and then headed out to CISNA for the inauguration of a new game room there. CISNA is close to Gerardo Barrios and both are located in the middle of “gangland.” The gangs are active in recruiting from this area so we see reaching the kids at risk here as a crucial task. The new game room at CISNA is part of the plan to help the boys in this center by bettering their lives and giving them incentives for positive behavior.
At the inauguration we talked with several governement workers, one of which was from the neighboring girls gang prison. We have been looking for an open door into this prison, and we are grateful that Jon got to chat with the director. The director of CISNA said a few words, and then the boys were free to play in their new game room!
We want to say a special thanks to everyone who donated to make this a possibility. Some of the items in this room were sent down on the container, others were bought with funds donated from Pittsburgh, and others were donated by other non-profits working in the center. We also want to say thanks to our short-terms teams who helped clean and paint this summer. Tori and Ian also had a great time playing games with the boys at CISNA. By the end of the day, we were all exhausted but glad to have such a great day of ministry together!
Here are some pictures of the new game room:
Video game corner
Couches for hanging out.
Board game center
Work out room
Pool table and Foosball table