During our third week, Empowering Youth 2 Serve partnered with the youth from Virginia Beach Community Chapel to spread love and light to the city of Norfolk. VBCC has come on three different trips with EY2S over the past four years. It is always a pleasure when they come back and we get to see the students we knew a year or two ago and see how they've grown.
VBCC brought mainly middle schoolers with a couple of high schoolers who were stepping up in their leadership in the youth group. But the younger years of this group did not stop them from stepping up in leadership and in maturity. In 1 Timothy 4:12, there is a verse that says: "Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." And this group took those words to heart. They served boldly, discussed the Bible study with passion, and laughed loudly with each other.
This was our first week of missions back in Norfolk this summer, which means a whole new set of worksite and outreach projects. For our worksites, the Lord has laid on our hearts to bless one of our ministry partners, Buffalow Family and Friends. It was started several years ago by two wonderful women, Nischelle and Delena Buffalow, who realized that the city of Chesapeake was missing a Thanksgiving dinner for people who did not have a place to go or food to eat on Thanksgiving Day. Instead of waiting for someone else to fill the need, they stepped up. Their first Thanksgiving fed about 35 people. Last year, in partnership with EY2S, they gave out over 2,000 meals on Thanksgiving. These meals included two homemade Thanksgiving dinners and all the fixings. We are so grateful that we get to partner with this amazing group and feed people in the community.
Part of our worksite time was spent at their food pantry. Part of the floor is raised up a step which can make it difficult when they are constantly bringing food in and then giving it away. Our goal this summer was to level their floor and putting in some hardwood. The youth got to move a lot of their food into temporary storage and then level the first part of the flooring. Another group worked at Ms. Nischelle and her mom’s house. We want to provide them with a place to relax and rest when they come back from their long days of serving others. We began clearing out their backyard, laying down rocks, and preparing the tile. Another group worked in the Norview Baptist Church Clothing Closet, organizing and building clothing racks.
For our outreach, we went to Young’s Terrace. EY2S has been involved in the Young’s Terrace community for almost 10 years now. This past year, we partnered with P. B. Young Elementary, which is right across the street from the Rec Center that we used to spend our summer in. This was our first week getting to serve with students inside the school. On Monday, we did prep work for our pop-up VBS, Tuesday we went door to door throughout the community. Wednesday we held an open-air VBS in the park with music, crafts, a skit, and games. A lot of kids and families came and hung out for a while. It was a great time.
Overall, this was an amazing week. Something that really stood out was the student's eagerness for the gospel. Despite being on the younger side, these students were hungry for the Word of God and the wisdom and maturity we witnessed was incredible. Thanks VBCC!!