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Potomac Hispanic Youth “Shower” Langley Park Residents With Blessings
Story by Taashi Rowe
If you walked or drove by the parking lot of the Takoma Park Spanish church in Takoma Park, Md., yesterday you would have heard a live Christian praise team; seen kids and kids-at-heart getting their faces painted, taking photos with the Guide magazine dog and singing interactive songs; while their parents selected free clothing and food and got free immigration and health counseling. As people chatted happily with the young people who staffed the giveaway stations and with each other the atmosphere was certainly festive. Located at the corner of University Boulevard and Caroll Avenue, the church is just blocks away from Langley Park, one of the largest Spanish-speaking communities in the Washington, D.C.-area.
This was the primary reason that Moviemento Joven Adventista (MJA), Potomac Conference’s Hispanic youth ministry, moved this outreach event to this location. Calling it Lluvias de Bendiciones or Showers of Blessings, MJA started working with Spanish-speaking churches around the conference in 2004 to shower this largely poor, immigrant community with key supplies and services around the holidays. Other partners included Catholic Charities and a local supermarket.
“This is a key corner for us. We know that people need these services. Some live four families in one apartment and many don’t have work especially during this time of the year,” said Eliasib Fajardo, the conference’s assistant youth director for Hispanic Ministries. He also pastors Potomac’s Arlington Spanish, the Metro NOVA Spanish and Sterling Spanish churches in Virginia. “We want to show people that Jesus Christ is real,” he said.
Fajardo noted that 99 percent of the staff showing Christ’s love on Sunday were young people like Tatiana Escobar, 15, a member of Langley Park Spanish church. “This is my way of giving back to the community,” she said as she folded clothing. “I notice that people take a lot so there is definitely a need.”
For Maria, who contemplated a pair of shoes for her son, she had multiple needs met that day but the most important was getting her blood pressure checked. “I’m taking some medication for it so it’s good to know the medication is working,” she said happily.