Five days a week our Pemba center fills with children from our community who come for the Agape Kids Club in the Centro de Esperança de Communidade – the Hope Community Center. Each day our doors are open for anywhere from 250 to 500 kids, ranging from 3-14 years old. Any child in the surrounding community wishing to have a plate of rice and beans and hear the Good News is welcome. These two things may not seem like a big deal, but for them, they are huge!
The program's impact is significant as it not only means these kids get at least one meal per day but it also means that the burden for parents to feed their children is alleviated. Without this meal, most of these kids would go hungry. The children’s ministry time is a time full of singing and dancing, praise and worship, Bible stories, games, and prayer and lives are changed! Many children come from families of another faith and the seeds that are planted are carried home and shared with their family members. Each child who enters The Hope Community Center, true to its name, leaves with their hungry hearts and stomachs filled!
Another aspect of the Agape Club that we are developing this year, is getting to know the children and their families better and to build true community with them. We have started home visits to build relationships with everyone living in a child's home to better understand their spiritual and physical needs.
Arsen's Story of Hope
Meet Arsen! Arsen is 14 years old boy living in our community who started coming to Agape Club when he was 9 years old in 2011. At the time the program was held at the primary school (Escola Communhåo na Colheita - Arco Iris), and Arsen lived in the district of Metuge, which is about 45 minutes outside Pemba, with his mother and 5 brothers. When he was young he moved to Pemba to live with his aunt. Unfortunately, he left Metuge without any personal documents – birth certificate or identification. Because of this Arsen was unable to go to school even though he wanted to. He still has not been able to study because of lack of documentation, so instead, he comes to Agape Club each day.
Arsen shared how he enjoys coming to Agape Club and keeps coming to survive and learn about Jesus and other things along with other children. He is very fond of participating in the program. Arsen says he has grown and gained weight since coming to Agape. Usually, he has one other meal at home, so he never thought he would gain this weight. He likes to come with his friends every day and is happy he does not lack food. His dream is to attend school and study! Our staff has been praying with Arsen that one day he will be able to attend school. For now, Arsen is so grateful to the Agape Club for providing him with a meal and the ability to learn and play with other children.
Arsen's life is a story of hope.