“What’s the Word on the Street?”

September 28, 2010 at 2:57 pm Leave a comment

For the young people we work with, this is a common expression. You and I may ask, “What’s going on?” or “What’s new?” People often ask us what Straight Ahead Ministries is up to. This week I wanted to give you a bigger picture than normal so you can read for yourself. This is Straight Ahead’s Word on the Street:

Three to four times a year Straight Ahead staff and volunteers (Bible study leaders, PROMISE Recovery Group leaders, prayer partners) meet for a time of mutual encouragement, prayer, and ministry updates.  A few weeks ago we all got together again. Thirty-three of us made it out for the evening during which Straight Ahead staff members gave updates on what the ministry is up to. There is a lot going on and this month we wanted to share some of it with you.


Angel Guzman oversees our community-based aftercare ministry to youth making the transition from lock-up to independence. Angel, who has served in this role for two years, is now involved with over 80 young people, providing mentoring, discipleship, job readiness training, and life skill development. Angel is perfect in his role. He is a strong believer in the Lord, a native of Worcester, and is bi-lingual. Some of the youth he serves have parents who speak limited English. Being fluent in both Spanish and English is a huge asset. He was also raised in one of Worcester’s toughest neighborhood housing projects and so can relate personally with the experience of many of the kids. And, his life is a visible demonstration of what Christ can do.


Over the years Straight Ahead has distributed over 100,000 copies of A Way Out and Doing Time With God to incarcerated teenagers. These are books of testimony and devotionals, and include a section on how having faith in Jesus Christ’s work on the cross results in forgiveness of sin. Each book also includes an address to which kids can write to us. Consequently, Straight Ahead has received thousands of letters from kids in lock-up from all over the country. And each one is personally answered by one of our volunteers. Out of these correspondences came an idea…that a book of kids’ letters and Straight Ahead’s responses, sorted by subject matter, could be a great resource for other kids in similar situations with similar questions. Entitled, Dear SAM, we hope to have it available for incarcerated youth by Christmas 2010.


For the past two years, Straight Ahead has teamed up with Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary to teach graduate level courses in the area of juvenile justice ministry. Five courses are available and can be taken in any order. Classes can be taken for college or graduate school credit, for CEU’s, and for a certificate. All Straight Ahead staff and volunteers are able to take these courses free of charge. I’ve just completed all five courses, myself, and benefited tremendously from the practical instruction.


John Kinsley, who oversees each of the New England State Coordinators, also directs our International Outreach. In nearly 20 years, John has faithfully served with Straight Ahead here in the States and abroad as well. He has helped write an international version of our Bible Study Manual, which is being used in 30 countries. He has also led trainings for Bible study leaders and house parents in Nigeria, South Africa, and the Ukraine.  For several years, John has sensed God calling him to the Ukraine on a more permanent basis. This month John is heading back to the Ukraine for a year of ministry.

Please keep all of this in prayer.


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