Little Lights 31×31
This past spring break, My friends and I from UVA had the opportunity to go serve at Little Lights Urban Ministries for a week. As we spent the week in Southeast DC, we got to bless the staff at LL, and also the children that they work with. Though our week/trip was very shortlived, we were able to really 1. experience God’s heart for his people, and 2. The ways in which God is working through the brokenness that goes on, just minutes from where we live.
I think playing with the children was something we enjoyed most as a team. We came in with the thought that we could pour out our love to these children, but in our short time with the children we received so much more from them than we could ever give. These children are beautiful.
As beautiful as these children were, we also encountered a lot of brokenness. Let me tell you right now. Kids are such observational learners. The amount of influence that older teens and the community itself has on the children is ridiculous. And in a community where street culture, drugs and violence is the norm, it’s only plausible for one to wonder what’s going to happen to these children when they reach their teens, once they leave the little lights program (right now they only have the funds upto middle school), and once they’re not so cute anymore. Even just a week or so before we got to DC, we received the news that a teenager who came out of the program was stabbed in the area.
During one of our debrief times we just somehow prayed and worshipped over this brokenness that we encountered. And as some of us broke down into tears, I felt my heart break for the community. It was as if God kind of gave us a small glimpse of how his heart breaks for his suffering children. How he created each and every one of these people young and old, in His image, and how He loves them personally even to the point of going to the cross.
As we wrestled with the thought of how much he loves us, a sense of peace and victory came to our hearts. We realized that why would a God, by nature abounding in love, EVER, even for a second, turn his eyes away from His children? We realized that he is faithful. Faithful to not any of our vows, but to His promise that He is mighty to save. Even in the darkest situations where it feels like nothing is going right in this world, He is doing something and we must trust that (Habakkuk 1:5).
During our short time, God definitely took us out of our bubbles, and opened our eyes to where God’s heart is: the brokenness in our community. He gave us a glimpse of how much he cares for his children, young and old. He even showed us the potential inside the community, and also the beauty that resides in the broken neighborhood.
The next step that Little Lights is trying to accomplish is to build on its Teen Internship Program. And let me emphasize how crucial this program is. It provides teenagers a job where they can mature and learn to be an employee. But most importantly it provides the children good role models that they can grow with and learn from (I mentioned earlier about how the children are such observational learners).
On that note I want to leave with the 31×31 Fundraising Program. Little Lights is trying to raise $31,000 by May 31st since the grant they received for the teen internship program expires this year. I think they have recently hit the 20,000 mark, but there is still a little over a month left! Thanks for reading if you took the time to read through. Here’s the website on 31×31 if you would like to learn more about the program or donate. 31×31