Churches key to slum ministry

By June 7, 2016

Democratic Republic of the Congo (MNN) — Churches are normally the center of ministries, or at least a large part. And as often as there’s a story about how different ministries are coming alongside churches, there are also churches coming alongside ministries.

(Photo courtesy Every Child Ministries)

(Photo courtesy Every Child Ministries) It’s slums and dumps like this one where churches are so vital to showing hurting children the love of Christ.

Mark Luckey, director of Every Child Ministries, says, “Churches are really the key to ministry in so many ways. They’re the key to bringing the Gospel. The key to helping with community development.”

And with ECM, churches are key to helping abandoned children who are in great need by providing a safe haven, love, and the life changing hope of the Gospel. One particular way Luckey has seen this play out was during his recent trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the capital city of Kinshasa’s slum.

“As a Church, you’re being available to help those in need. And that was one of the things that struck me in meeting a couple of the kids who were being helped by this church. They were both street boys, still technically are street boys. No one had given them a house to live in or taken them into their family. But the church had become their family,” Luckey explains.

Now, though the two boys don’t officially have a home, and the church can only provide so much because of the lack of resources, the boys do have a place to lay their head every night, within the church walls. And though they don’t have biological family coming alongside them, they have a church family and a heavenly father who loves them more than anyone else could.

That Sunday, Luckey had the joy of joining this particular church for worship, “One of the things that struck me, was one of the Sunday school classes that was meeting, was right next to just a huge dump of garbage in the road, which you fairly typically see in places like that. And just the contrast there of the singing and dancing and reciting of scripture. The enthusiasm and excitement there in the midst of that kind of situation and those kinds of conditions.”

Yet, why are these kids on the street in the first place? Well, for a number of reasons. Some might have physical defects, their family may have been too poor to care for them, some have been trafficked, and for others, they may be on the streets because they became a Christian and their families didn’t approve.

And life in the streets isn’t easy. Kids are as young as seven or eight, waking up in a busy downtown street with no one around who cares about their existence. No one, despite being surrounded by people, takes positive interest in these kids.

These kids have no food, they’re hungry, and their only way to feed themselves is by begging. Then, there are the kids who’ve been trafficked and are expected to turn over anything, whether it’s money or food, over to their controllers.

Life is utterly hopeless. They’re unloved. They have nothing in every sense of the word.

Eventually, to relieve the pain, these kids will turn to drugs or whatever else they can, to escape their personal hell.

But, there’s hope.

“We really have a heart for street kids at ECM. You know these kids, they’re not just poor, they’re really battered and bruised in almost every way. And really almost no one cares for them or loves them and they’re just so often abused. They’re very, very vulnerable, and we need caring adults to step in and help them,” Luckey explains.

(Photo courtesy Every Child Ministries)

(Photo courtesy Every Child Ministries)

ECM offers child sponsorships to help get these kids off the streets, provide them with regular meals, and give them an education to help them be successful later on in life. And for barely a dollar a day, you can help.

You could sponsor a child and become a part of the loving community each of them needs. But also, through this sponsorship, you could help introduce a child to the healing power of God’s word through Jesus Christ.

But please, above all else, pray for these kids. Pray for them to know the love and joy of Christ. Pray for them to get off the streets and for the right sponsor to come along for each child, and pray for their protection from the world’s coldness.

Want to sponsor a child? Click here!

Find out how previous sponsorships through ECM has changed lives in this link’s video!

To learn more about ECM’s ministry in DR Congo, click here!

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