June 18, 2013

Bridge Week -- What and How?

If you are just joining us here in the middle of Bridge Week, read this post to get caught up on the situation  in Encarnación, Paraguay.  Okay.  Now that you know the needs of the young people here, let's talk about the vision we have for meeting some of these.

We've visited a lot of churches in Paraguay and talked with a slew of Christian youth, to find that they would be eager to reach out to their friends and neighbors if they only knew some practical ways to do that.  These young people are active in their churches and growing in their relationships with God, ready to step into the role of being ambassadors of the Good News here in their own town.

And we've met a lot of the students and young adults who live here and know nothing about God's plan for their lives.  We've spent time with them in the plaza, at the skate park, on the basketball court and soccer fields, in the juvenile prison.  They are open to new friendships and looking for something more out of life, not quite sure what that something is or how to find it.

With these two groups of young people in mind--those who know God but don't know how to share Him and those who need Him but don't know how to find Him--we plan to build a Bridge that unites them.

A place where those who might never get the nerve or even the idea to step into a church building, might venture into a café where laughter and music hint at the safe, welcoming atmosphere inside.

A place staffed by volunteer youth from local churches who are eager to get to know new people, building relationships and finding common ground as they share the love of God in a tangible way.

A place for Bible studies and English lessons, training in marketable skills and friendship evangelism.

A place where holistic ministry reaches out to the unbeliever and day-to-day training disciples the believer.

And what would we call this youth center/club/café?  You guessed it.

The Bridge.

Our goal is to fund the start-up expenses of the youth center and one year's rent in order to get a good price for the building.  We've begun a fundraising campaign at fundly.com (That specific campain has ended), and you can join us in the cause in several ways:

  • --by becoming a supporter and pledging to raise a certain amount of money towards our goal (click the box at right)

  • --by partnering with us financially through donating either on paypal (which charges us a small fee) or through our local church (which sends us 100% and gives you a receipt for your tax-deductible contribution--Contact us for details on how to do that.)

  • --by spreading the word about this fundraiser and The Bridge project.

  • --by praying that God opens the doors to a good building in a strategic location, that we continue to have favor in this city, that people hear God's voice as He prompts them to support this project, and that The Bridge can be a catalyst to change in this city.   

Please let us know that you've decided to come on board with us.  This is a giant need and a project that seems bigger than us.  It's a bit intimidating, to tell the truth, but we know that God has given us this vision and we trust that He will provide for it.  We definitely can't do this alone.  We depend on Him to open the eyes of people who recognize the need for this youth center and will support this ministry to a vulnerable generation in Encarnación, Paraguay.  

Will you partner with us as we jump into this mission?

Check back for the next installment in the Bridge Week series, when I'll be sharing some highlights of the youth center we operated in a smaller town in Paraguay and filling you in on a few more details. 

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