The sounds over the wall were often angry, even abusive. Gordon and Grace Griffith are situated in a small compound next door to a community of "squatters" in the Philippines, and their hearts were stirred with compassion and sadness by what they could hear from their home. As missionaries of Ventura Missionary Church (Gordon grew up at VMC), the Griffiths have been serving in the city where they live for three years. They have been investing in the lives of street kids (minors who are living on the streets) and victims of poverty and other tragedies of life. Their home is a place of refuge, worship, Bible study and even housing for many of the people with whom they share the love of Christ. For some time, they have wanted to reach out to those living over the wall. It is an area known for drug use, gambling, violence, promiscuity, heavy drinking and more. One day, Gordon and Paolo (a ministry partner and former street kid) ventured into the community to introduce themselves. Not knowing what to expect, they met the only two Christians who lived there. Ging Ging and Christian (ironically one of their names) were very excited about the prospect of missionaries to help share their new-found faith with others in the community.
Gordon, Grace and Paolo invited some of the teens and young adults over to their home, not knowing if anyone would show up. At that first meeting, Paolo shared his testimony and then invited those who came to accept Christ. Some of them responded to the invitation! From there, they formed a formal weekly leadership night to plan and prepare for the "Over the Wall Ministry" they would begin. A Thursday night gathering for the teens and young adults from the community was launched, and 20-30 have been attending each week, to hear the message of Christ, to learn about prayer, reading God's Word, and discovering hope in their darkness. Christian says, "I cried out that God will provide another way for everyone in the community. And God heard, He send us missionaries, Gordon and Grace Griffith and Paolo, and a lot of other people from different churches...a lot of the youths have been receiving Christ already...from the community of darkness God sent His light to let that darkness out of its place."
The children in the community asked if they could have something, too, so Gordon and Grace started a children's program on Sunday afternoons (pictured above). 30+ kids have been coming to that as well. Some volunteers have jumped in to help with games and teaching, while others have donated Bibles, school supplies, chairs, the weekly snacks and more. A discipleship opportunity has also been added for those who would like to participate.
Gordon says, "Since our step of faith, God has been doing amazing things...young people are experiencing the power of Christ. As we teach and pray over these young people, they have been telling us that they feel a release of burdens and a peace that they had never felt. They are eager to learn more about God and explore a deeper relationship with our Savior. Although some are still just curious, others are all-in. Since we started, the youth have begun going back to school, many stopped drinking and using drugs, and many of the young men have stopped abusing their girlfriends and wives. This all happened without us saying or even knowing anything about these issues at the time. The power of the Holy Spirit is amazing."
The younger children have been just as eager to learn and grow in the knowledge of Jesus. Grace says that the sounds they hear over the wall continue to include angry outbursts; however these sounds are now interspersed with children singing the God-glorifying songs they've been learning on Sunday afternoons, and their sweet little voices practicing their Bible verses so they can recite them the following week. Check out this touching video of the children's program. Fittingly, you will hear, "This Little Light of Mine, I'm Going to Let It Shine," as you watch. The sounds of God's light are invading the darkness. Over the Wall Ministry Video