News from the Bronx
After a two-week battle with mono, Carissa was right back at work last month sharing Jesus with teens and their parents in the Bronx. Carissa has found a great way to connect with women of her block. She invites them over for a painting party. See the picture below to see how the women enjoyed spending time together and sharing their creative skills.
In sharp contrast to this fun event, Carissa reports that this past month that around 1 am on the 20th, a 16-year-old was shot directly across the street from her home. He is in stable condition, but she fears that this is just the beginning of what the summer may bring. Although Carissa doesn’t know this teen well, she knows many of his friends who live across the street. All are very active in gang activity, and not very involved in her ministry, Uprising Bronx. Carissa reports that after this incident residents sensed the heightened tension on the block the next day.
And one more story from Carissa that gives you a window into the lives of the teens and their families that she serves in the name of Jesus:
“Right before I flew out to spend some time with my grandmother for her 90th birthday, we unintentionally had a big game night. We cleared out my fridge, tried on expensive sneakers, and played games for hours. By 3 am there were still 6 kids here and a parent had sent over a giant McDonalds order for everyone. After a little begging and a lot of promises to help clean up, I gave in to the almost 4-year-long question I’ve been getting... 'Can we have a sleepover?’ Thinking about the three exhausted parents raising infants and toddlers, I agreed to host their older youth so they could get a little break. Another perk of having this entire apartment which now includes 5 couches!** I know this time was so meaningful to the 5 youth that stayed. From making face masks to more games and dance-offs, it was pure joy in this home. We made it important to gather around the table together for our 3 am McDonald’s and our 2 pm breakfast. If it’s not clear yet, I love gathering around the table together, and so do the youth! They call it ‘family breakfast’ or ‘family dinner’ because that’s what they see on the Disney channel, but have yet to experience in their homes. Conversation flowed from prayers of gratitude to one youth confessing he was supposed to take part in a recent local stabbing, but chose not to. Although he faces ridicule for declining, he felt safe enough to share with us, and this group was quick to encourage and support him for not participating in the crime. This is a foreign reaction in our hood.”
**Your donations to The Flow Foundation make it possible for Carissa to rent the apartment (no roommate needed to share the costs) and to use her entire apartment as a hosting site for Bronx Uprising Ministry.
Carissa continues to host two church assemblies a week for teens in her apartment while also adhering to Covid-19 safety protocols, as well as being a friend and confidant to moms who struggle with abusive partners and the struggles of raising children in their neighborhood. Carissa asks us to be praying for Ant, a 14-yr-old youth who is exploring the possibility of being more active in Uprising, and less active in the gang life and his current job of dealing drugs.