THE COUCH SURFING 14 Y/O
Sometimes the stories of the lives of youth we connect with seem anything but positive, but God calls us to engage and to see as He sees, not as the world does. It is through this lens that we don’t see the outward, broken, defeated… but we see the heart, value, the potential. (1 Sam 16:7) We’ve known this young lad for 2 years now – first meeting him at Streetlight, seen him discover Jesus, baptised and even bought him his first bible. Earlier this year however, he found Ben after school and with only his school clothes and bag on his back, he shared the neglect, drugs & abuse he’d been experiencing at home – home was now not an option and he began couch surfing at mates places – still managing to regularly attend school. Ben did the correct reports, and with no agency/government support available due to age, we were able to find some short-term accommodation until things were stabilised. Now a few months later, Ben is journeying with him as he looks forward to what the next steps are for him in the years ahead. With home life disrupted and the ‘normality’ of life as a teenage boy seemingly taken away it is easy to see the negatives. Through regular catch-ups, Ben is now helping him to focus on the positives, even out of challenging and chaotic situations. He is developing a lot of skills and resilience as he grows in willingness to tackle circumstances coming his way. We recently celebrated his 15th birthday (a surprise party!)
A BIRTHDAY AT STREETLIGHT
Koebbie was 16 when we first started Streetlight, last Thursday night was his 19th Birthday. He came out to see us and one of our traditions is to take youth out to dinner on their birthday (when it falls on a Thursday). To see youth on their birthday is both exciting and sad as they aren’t celebrating with family. This night Koebbie wasn’t even with friends, he was alone. His housemates earlier that week – used his money set aside for groceries to buy cigarettes, which left him broke and hungry. He was overjoyed when we offered to take him out for a meal and Ben got to share an analogy with him screwing up a $5 note and explaining it’s value had not been lost – that he too still had value and potential, even if he couldn’t feel or see it. To this, his response was, “Yeah man. Actually, that makes a lot of sense.”
Ben’s been catching up 1-on-1 with some young lads doing it tough, but showing immense potential. Some of these lads come from extremely broken families – with numerous step brothers & sisters, fathers & mothers. Confusion and anger are often the result of years of brokenness experienced or sometimes even abuse. After establishing a good connection initially at Streetlight on Thursday nights, Ben approached a couple of young guys to meet for 1 hour a week and is now able to dig deeper, challenging & supporting them – speaking potential into their lives, sharing his own faith & encouraging them in school, work & relationships. Ben has been meeting one of these guys at a local coffee shop talking through family issues at home as well as managing stress and pressures of school and work. A great joy it has been to journey together with this young lad through some scriptures and discuss them and how stories of faith can be useful for guiding him in what he is going through.
VOLUNTEERS STILL OUT THERE IN 1 DEGREE.
Our volunteers & the youth still rock up each week whether it’s 1 degree or 40. However things became even colder when our patio heater decided to kark it. After a quick social media post, we ended up with 5 separate offers for a new heater! Thankyou to Gayle who bought us a new one! If you’re keen to support Streetlight’s practical needs, and purchase a physical item, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Over 150 year 11 & 12 students across the state heard Ben speak as the key speaker for their retreat this year. Vetamorphus is a SACE recognised subject in Christian Ministry and since the connection, we have had students join our prayer team, run fundraisers & some have even come to check us out. This photo shows some of the VETA (and other student leaders) from Balaklava SA join us at Streetlight one night!
SCHOOLS BLOWING OUR MINDS
It has been incredible to see the support from Christian schools in recent months. Horizon Christian School & Torrens Valley Christian School have both played a part in supporting Streetlight – from Casual Clothes days, making giant games in their tech lessons and some even expressing future volunteer interest. Invitations have included; speaking at staff devotions, assemblies & individual classes. We have enjoyed spurring on young people to get engaged in mission in their local community, sharing their faith & stepping out of their comfort zone.
STREETLIGHT’S FAMILY CULTURE
Thursday nights can be confronting and sometimes mentally challenging for our volunteers on the front line. Ben has been training up new team-leaders, journeying alongside our volunteers on a more regular 1-on-1 basis to encourage, de-brief, equip and challenge. A ‘family’ culture has risen up within our volunteers with ‘family’ dinners, worship nights and games nights. This recent photo shows a Streetlight volunteer family night in Ben & Anni’s lounge room – with around 15 in attendance.