Each day it seems we are just scratching the surface in becoming aware of what great need exists here in Airds. Our purpose throughout this trip is to build relationships with and be role models for the many troubled teens here. . . and there are many! Gangs abound right here in the neighborhood, the teen pregnancy rate is through the roof, and of the 500 current students enrolled in high school, it is expected that only 10-15% of them will graduate. Before they reach that point many of them will drop out or be expelled. Because this is a very diverse area, cultural clashes occur frequently.
The youth center down the road exists to provide a safe haven for kids to come and hang out after school, play games, do homework, etc. We are grateful for the opportunity to show Christ's love at the youth centre and care for these teens by purposely going where the kids are, lending an ear or just playing games. In fact, one boy by the name of Ryan is so fascinated by these silly Americans that he sees each day, that he follows us around, comes to the house to play and is starving for attention. Please pray for Ryan.
Yesterday and throughout the rest of this weekend we are leading children and youth activities with the Birrong Church of the Nazarene and it's surrounding community. As with Airds, Birrong is home to a large population of islanders, so we find that our fair white skin is easily spotted among the beautiful brown of our new island friends!
We're out of time. More later!