God is working in a mighty way at the Nashville South Corps, especially in the lives of our young people. One of the joys of doing ministry in the South Nashville area is the variety of cultures and backgrounds that are found there. However, one of the shocking realities of doing ministry in this area is the amount of families that live in poverty after arriving in our country under refugee status. If you were to walk into one of our families’ apartment on any given day, you would find a home with a limited amount of furniture, poor living conditions and children with clothing that barely fits, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by the smiles of the children. They are filled with so much joy and energy! Each day when we minister to these children, they bring the biggest smiles to our faces and we truly believe that the source of their joy is Jesus Christ and His working in their lives. Half of these children come from Buddhist backgrounds, but yet they still choose to follow Christ and come to Church each week to learn more about Him. They are living boldly for Jesus at such young ages and it is heartwarming to know that even in their poverty, they are rich with the love of Christ.
These same youth are now able to take part in a new character building activity called Club 316. Every Thursday 20-25 children attend the Club 316 meeting. Through this club, they practice character building skills based on biblical stories and activities that accompany each lesson. Recently our children have earned the Friendship, Bible and Health & Safety Badge, and are eager to earn more!
Our Teen Ministry program is still going strong with 15 members. They are not only involved in their own Sunday School class and youth meetings, but they also participate in our Holiness Service through praise and worship. They have also volunteered on the Salvation Army’s Friday night Soup Wagon ministry serving the homeless, and four of these teens are involved in an intense biblical leadership program called Corps Cadets.
In March, we took 16 of these young people to our annual Youth Council weekend in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This youth conference is organized by our Divisional Headquarters each year. While we were there, one of our very own, Anthony Vannarath, was recognized and given the Spotlight on Youth Award for the whole Kentucky-Tennessee Division. Anthony is such a bright young man and we are so proud of his accomplishments. Like most of our youth, he comes from a family that lives in poverty and yet, he continues to defy the boundaries that are placed on him by society. He continues to witness for Christ and lead’s others to God by sharing his personal testimony. He is a young man who lives to bring joy and love to others by encouraging them and showing them who Christ is by living for Him. He has expressed a call to ministry in the future, but we know that God is using him now and will continue to use him in the future to bring the world to Christ.