With pandemic 2020 behind us, Lighting the Way began an outreach of evangelism to underprivileged children living in Sarasota, FL, in January of 2021. Surprisingly, God led us to begin this to Hispanic children living in a rundown trailer park in the poor area of Newtown, which is known for its crime and drugs. Besides that, these Hispanic families live literally beside a town garbage dump as the vultures fly above the trash beside their neighborhood. It was heartbreaking seeing children being raised in such living conditions.
With many of these families not even having healthy drinking water, we began by bringing them healthy water and food. We distributed fliers about our outreach to the families there and started the Kids’ Bible Club, led by Claudette Litz. She meets with the kids on a tarp spread out on an outdoor basketball court within the trailer park and brings pillows for sitting on the ground; she teaches them songs from Child Evangelism, reads stories about missionaries, and gives prizes for Scripture memorization. The purpose is to see these children saved through Jesus with a hope for a new tomorrow in God’s love.
We were told that many of these Hispanic kids end up in crime, so it was no wonder that these children knew nothing about the Bible when we began working with them. Their parents are now learning the Gospel, too, and they all appreciate us being there. Every week the children are being taught more about Jesus and how to be saved. They are proud of their Scripture memorization each week. We buy NKJ Bibles for all of them, too. There are prizes for doing Bible study throughout the week in his or her own Bible and for memorizing their Bible verses. We buy them lunch and treats and water afterwards, as the families hardly have money for basic food and healthy drinking water. Claudette often stays afterwards to tutor one little girl in the second grade, teaching her how to read, as her mother does not speak or read English.
When we began working with the children they had never looked up a single verse in the Bible and did not know answers to basic questions like “How did Jesus die?” and “Why did Jesus die on the cross?” They are now hearing the Gospel, and the mothers sometimes come to learn more about Jesus, too.