STORIES FROM THE STREET: DISCIPLESHIP RELATIONSHIPS

Last year, while going through Downline Ministry’s Emerging Leader program, I decided to volunteer at Club Nathan. I loved their vision for the children of Binghamton and wanted to build relationships with people from different backgrounds.

A couple of my friends and I ended up co-leading the nine–eleven year old girls. Up until last year I had never really worked with youth and I do not consider myself a teacher. So I knew this was going to be a challenge. And it was, but I was so thankful to have my Downline material as a resource…and the Internet when I needed last minute lesson plan ideas. Club Nathan quickly became the highlight of my week as I fell in love with our group of girls and started to see glimpses of the Holy Spirit working in their hearts and lives.

When the 2017-2018 school year rolled around I couldn’t wait for Club Nathan to start back up! Thankfully, we got to stay with our same group of girls. Over the course of the next couple of months I noticed how hungry one of the girls, Jade, was for the Word. She asked questions during Bible study and always stayed late to talk about what we were learning. A couple people began to comment on how well we clicked and one friend approached me about potentially discipling Jade. I was hesitant at first, but as I prayed over where to invest my time I began to see what an incredible opportunity this could be. I believed the Holy Spirit was leading me to pursue a discipleship relationship.

Jade and I have been meeting up now for about a month now and I truly believe the Lord has blessed our time. I had no idea how hanging out one-on-one with a nine year old would go! But Jade is faithful, attentive, teachable, and loves to talk! And I have a great support system at Club Nathan. The Lord literally threw me a softball! But discipleship is also messy…I’m continually reevaluating how to teach someone 14 years my junior. My prayer has been that I would “love and feed” her. By “love” I mean doing everyday life things together in the context of relationship (going to dinner, meeting her family, practicing Spanish, watching her favorite YouTube music videos). I hope to “feed” her by helping her understand the truth found in scripture and how to study and apply the Word of God in her life. Over the course of the next year (and hopefully longer) I hope to teach Jade how to cultivate personal alone time with God, memorize scripture, and equip her to reteach what she’s learned. I’m excited and hopeful, but mostly humbled at the privilege I have been given to walk through this season of life with Jade!

Autrey Eastman

“We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God's Good News but our own lives, too.” 1 Thessalonians 2:8

STORIES FROM THE STREET: FINDING PEACE

After spending many years at Nathan Street, I can truly say it is something that has molded my life.  Nathan Street has been a place where I can find peace; I have also met people from all over the United States here.  I’ve learned so much that I could talk about it for days and still have something to say.   I learned my first Bible verse at Nathan Street and I have memorized so many more because of that experience.

I have seen this place grow from a small Bible study that happened bi-weekly to an enormous gathering each week.  Mr. Willie has taught me the meaning and value of the Christian life; I truly don't where I’d be without him and Nathan Street.  Many involved at Nathan Street come back each year and we have become familiar with one another over the years.  Nathan Street is one, big family!