By Anna Anderson
The summer camp had just gotten started at Conetoe Family Life Center in Conetoe, North Carolina. Takiya Delbridge, a Student.Go worker from Portsmouth, Virginia had come to Conetoe after an unexpected change in plans for the summer. She had previously agreed to work in a transitional home for women, but the change of assignment to Conetoe for LaCount and Anna Anderson meant that she would change also, and now be working with children, many of whom were at risk and coming from home situations that most certainly meant they would not be eating regularly at all during the summer if they were not coming to this camp at the Family Life Center.
During that first week, the older children decided to pull a prank on some of the counselors, which included Takiya.
They decided, after learning that the counselors would be bringing some books to their room to keep their reading skills sharp through the summer, that it would be funny to lock all the counselors out of the room when they left to get the books. Upon returning, it took a long time for the instigator of the group to confess to the idea of locking the counselors out when they had left to get books. As it turned out, the ring leader was a 14 year old girl.
Her punishment for this prank was to hang with Takiya close by her side for the next 2 weeks. They got to know each other, and learned that they had a lot in common. Both were raised by single mothers and fathers who were either unknown completely or not present in their day to day lives. They learned that they both had a kind of rebellious streak, and neither of them liked school very much, and that they had a lot to be angry about.
Takiya vulnerably shared her story with the girl, and how she had learned a lot about herself by the time she had gotten to college and what the Lord had done through her in leadership efforts with some other girls in her campus setting. She finally asked the girl, “so, why did you think it was a good idea to lock us counselors out of the room the day we went to get the books?” The girl replied, “when y’all said you were going to get books for us to read, I got scared and embarrassed, because I can’t read. I was ashamed for you to know that.”
A lot of time spent together meant that Takiya and this girl became good friends through the summer, where camp happened for 8 weeks.
Relationship building is only one aspect of the Student.Go program, but it’s a huge one.
We applied for a Student.Go worker last winter, and frankly, forgot about it. When a change in our ministry setting meant a change for our worker that we were assigned also, we never dreamed what the intern would be doing or how much of an impact she would be making upon the lives of children who needed her. Your gifts to the Offering for Global Missions mean that we can be present. Present where children need us. Present where relationships can be formed. Present where those who are hungry and lonely and weary of life and afraid and ashamed can have friendship. Present where college and divinity school graduates can work alongside us in building a future in ministry, and learning what missions is on a first hand, day to day basis. Bearing witness to Jesus Christ, creating Beloved Community, working toward transformational development – being present.
Anna Anderson is a CBF field personnel serving alongside her husband LaCount, who serves as a CBF mission engagement partner in poverty ministry in Northeastern North Carolina. Learn more about and support their ministry at www.cbf.net/anderson, and learn about the CBF Offering for Global Missions at www.cbf.net/OGM.