The Youth Outreach ministry is a new partnership this year for East Mountain. It is an organization that serves children that come from unstable homes or environments. There are currently about twenty children staying there from ages 5 – 18. Some of them have parents back at home who are addicted to substances, while others were sent there by their parents to avoid the gang infestations in their communities. There are also children that come just during the day as day visitors in order to receive some food and tutoring help.
The part of the Youth Outreach program that East Mountain specifically works with was started when several youth from a local youth home started attending Stellenbosch Baptist Church. The little kids went to Sunday school, but there was nothing for the older kids to be a part of. So the youth program was started to create a special space for the older youth on a Sunday afternoon.
After several transitions in leadership, it was presented as a ministry partnership opportunity to East Mountain for the residents. Two residents from this year, Rei and Fazlyn, go with Marcie (a staff member) on Friday afternoons. The time is broken up into several sections, the first of which is a check-in on how the youth’s weeks have been as well as some games. Then they all watch an Alpha video together. Alpha is a course of video and discussion times that allows participants to engage in deep questions about life and faith.
After the Alpha video, the youth break up into groups to discuss it together. Fazlyn has thoroughly enjoyed seeing the youth open up and share during this time. There are usually between seven and nine youth present from the ages of 14 – 18 years old. The youth themselves have really enjoyed the partnership with East Mountain, and the specific safe space that has been created for them to have fun, build relationships, and engage in life’s deeper questions. Please keep this new partnership in prayer as deeper community and trust is established with these young men and women.