For most teenagers, school holiday means working on nailing that 180 kickflip on the half pipe, clocking the latest XBOX 360 shooter game, or hanging out with the girls catching the latest chick flick at the movies. But for thirty-one teenagers it meant signing up for YOUTHSERVE Street Invaders '09 and gathering at Ranui Baptist church West Auckland every morning at 8am from Monday to Friday of the first week of holidays, to put their faith into action as they got down and dirty in the community.
They focused on three needy streets in Ranui, went door knocking and offered to do jobs for nothing in return. Many residents had trouble grasping the fact that it was free help! With support from Eco Matters and Housing New Zealand who supplied skips, cleaning equipment, and paint, they helped local residents clean up backyards by removing rubbish, doing gardening, painting fences, playing games with the local kids, and giving out free Bibles donated by the Bible Society.
A retired elderly Indian couple were extremely grateful for the teenagers who cleaned their ceiling, something they were physically unable to do.
Another elderly lady in her sixties was taken aback by teenagers were willing to give up their school holidays to shift and stack 3801 bricks obstructing her driveway. She was quoted in the local paper saying, “They're amazing. This is their school holiday and all they want to do is help people” and “You know when you see someone doing good you tend to give the old halo a bit of a polish.”
There were tears in the eyes of the local dairy owners as team members sanded and paint over the graffiti-covered wall replacing it with a lovely mural.
They helped clean the grounds of the two local primary schools, and put on free carwashes in the church car park where the YOUTHSERVE campers went through a personal beliefs survey with the drivers over a hot cuppa, opening up conversations about the Christian faith.
They put on a family fun quiz night, and opened up the doors of the church to the community with an afternoon of face painting, Singstar, table tennis and pool competitions.
As a church we are extremely grateful for the servant hearts of these teenagers. They have planted seeds of God's love and hope in our community.