There are a few areas of Barrouallie where I minister to children once or twice a week for what we call “Bible club.” Often on Fridays we play some games with sports balls, it gives the kids a chance to work out their energy, and I get some exercise!
One of the groups had an older sister who went to Secondary School (High School). I could tell she wanted to take part in our clubs, but felt she was too old for such a thing. Sadly this reflects a more serious problem because many of the children in SVG (and other countries) lose their innocence very young.
I’ve seen countless times the change in lifestyle of a child when they go from the age of ten to eleven. The young person who at 10 was respectful and interested in the things of the Lord seemingly overnight has no interest in God at all. Part of this is puberty and becoming a teenager of course, but the real problem is a culture that offers adulthood temptations to children at a very early age.
Sadly there is little structure for teens in Saint Vincent because most of them live with a single parent (usually mother) who is caring for the youngest child. This means the older ones have few rules to follow. Just to be clear, I blame the men in this situation who will not stand up and care for their family, choosing to be gutless cowards instead.
Loss of innocence comes when a teen is faced with the temptations of Satan, and has nobody to protect them, or guide them through it.
There are no easy answers to this problem, but at the same time the Lord has placed a burden upon my heart for this young lady and those like her.
That burden led me to create a place where they could just be kids.
The thing is I knew that teenager wanted to listen to our Bible stories, and play games with us. Inside of that “grown up adult” was a little girl who still wanted to relive a simpler time. My job was to be patient and let her know she was welcome.
Friday she finally started interacting with us…..
She started by throwing a ball back and forth with her little brother. This was actually a huge help to me since I try to be “referee” on Fridays who makes sure the balls are being shared, and nobody cheats (kids will be kids). Eventually she started playing less with him, and enjoying herself more. By the time I left she was bouncing a ball high in the air, and having the time of her life!
I am grateful for the Lord’s reminder Friday that ministry doesn’t have to be complex. It could be as simple as letting a teenager be a little girl for a few brief moments.