Youth in Transition
There is something about a young boy being beaten to death. Something that doesn't sit right. He was around 13 years old, with tattered clothes, and covered in dirt and sweat. His shoes had fallen apart and were half way off his feet. Without family, without a home, without food, and without hope, he had been living on the streets. He was on the streets for some time, probably sniffing glue, begging, and occasionally stealing to survive. Now he had been caught in the act. As the crowd yelled "thief" this time justice wouldn’t let him go. What struck me most was that the boy offered no resistance. He didn't try to fight back or run away. He just received each blow as men continued to strike him. He absorbed punches in his head and strong kicks to his body. His small bones bent awkwardly and snapped beneath the force. Yet he never screamed or tried to resist. This young boy who had been beaten by life didn’t feel like he had a right to anything else. He had been abandoned by his parents, cast out by his family, and rejected by society. He probably knew little of love. There are thousands like him in Nairobi. As he fell hard to the pavement of Tom Mboya Avenue, I pushed my way through the crowd and walked quickly away. . . Somehow he reminded me of Jesus. Since then I haven’t been able to look at a street boy the same way.
Street life is dirty, violent and short”, says George Nyakora. As director of SOS Children’s Villages in Kenya, and he should know. In Nairobi, the country’s capital, 250,000 people have no roof over their heads. Of this mass of people ravaged by poverty, war and globalization, it is the children who have to struggle most. Some are sent out by their impoverished parents to work or to beg. Others have lost their families through war or illness, and some have simply been abandoned because they have become too much of a burden. These street children scrabble to maintain the most basic form of existence. They polish shoes, wash windscreens, pick pockets and beg. Most of them take drugs when they can, are malnourished and are sick. http://www.street-children.org.uk/african-street-children/kenya
SAMS Missionaries David and Lucy Chaves serve with Church Army Africa to disciple and empower youth in Nairobi, Kenya. They coordinate discipleship and economic empowerment programs and help to counsel and encourage youth in a city with 40% unemployment.
One of the projects they work with is Light and Power Centre, located in Kawangware Slum. Here young men gather for mentorship and to gain job skills and children come to dance, sing, and learn about Jesus. They share a meal, often porridge and bread, which for some may be the only meal they have in day.
How you can help
The first thing you can do is PRAY about your involvement in global youth ministry. The Lord will show you His will for your involvement in the lives of young people not only on the streets, but in all situations seeking for Truth in their lives.
People who have been called to be involved in ministering to youth globally need prayer and financial support, too. SAMS will help you connect to a missionary who is involved in global youth ministry. Your praying, giving, and practical support will help those who are already ministering or it will help raise up new SAMS missionaries enabling the church to SEND many more laborers for the ripe harvest.
GIVE to help ministry to youth globally. Create opportunities for raising funds within your church, workplace or neighborhood. Giving toward ministries for youth can offer renewed hope in Gospel transformation of individuals, families, communities and nations.
GO! Many nations have a very high proportion of the population as youth. The need is great because often the church globally has limited resources in this area of ministry. If the Lord is calling you to missionary service, we have a place for you. Consider serving as a career missionary or as a Missionary Bridger from a month up to one year. If you are interested in putting together a short-term mission team to come alongside missionaries who are ministering to youth, SAMS can connect you in a variety of ways to fulfill God’s calling of you and your church.
Missionaries Primarily Ministering with Youth