The wind was howling outside and the cold rain was pounding down, but the family gathered in the RV were together and safe in the midst of the storm. This was my experience with Streetlight this past Tuesday evening. With the torrential rain already starting, I wasn’t sure how many would be coming out to the mobile youth centre. However when the doors were opened, the downtown youth gathered. I asked a few of the youth what made them want to come out on such a cold, wet night. Their answers resounded, “…because we’re family.”
And family it was. One of the youth’s children, Andy (who turns five in March), came up to me and began to share how his day was going. He then straightened out his arms and said “Lift me!” Keeping his arms straight, I began to lift him until his arms couldn’t hold any longer and then I caught him before he touched the ground. Laughter filled the RV and I was quickly surrounded by other toddlers asking to be lifted. I now know why I raised children when I was younger and more fit. 😉
Volunteers and youth were playing games, having engaging conversations and sharing food together. It was a full house in the RV as youth were coming in but not many were going back out. At one time we were shoulder to shoulder in the mobile centre, however no one seemed to mind. It was family time and everyone was welcome!
While I was outside with a few of the youth, I looked at the row of covered strollers under the canopy and had to swallow back a few lumps in my throat. To these at-risk youth, we were their family. I was like an uncle (not a grandpa) to their children. This was a home that they could find peace and rest in the midst of the storm. And not just the physical storm that was passing through London that night, but for the mental, emotional and spiritual storms they face every day.
I am constantly humbled to be part of a meaningful and engaging ministry like London Youth for Christ and programs such as Streetlight which journey alongside the most marginalized youth every day. As we journey with youth, we have the opportunity of sharing the tangible love of Jesus. And He tells us that in his home, there is lots of room for everyone!
I am equally humbled and grateful at the thought that this ministry would not be possible without your generous financial partnership. Thank you for continuing to journey with us.
Together we are family!