The Living Room
The Living Room has a heart to see Christ transform the broken area of Las Americas nightlife strip. We exist in an environment in which every night is a Saturday night, young people come here with the sole purpose of letting their hair down and letting down their inhibitions and boundaries. We see open drug-taking, binge-drinking, vomiting, people collapsing in the street, fighting, nudity, and people having sex in public places. Hundreds of young adults move here every year thinking it will be the answer to all their problems but find themselves even worse off than before and sometimes facing very dark and difficult situations.
We recognise that this is a broken place, full of our young people, who are desperately searching for answers. We recognise that Jesus can do powerful things here. We recognise that the church needs to be the people who will step into these types of communities and not be afraid. We recognise that through relationship and friendship with people we can bridge the gap.
So we step into the messy nightlife culture of Las Americas in order to have an active involvement and voice in the lives of the young people here and to bring them closer to Christ.
We have an active presence in the nightlife community visiting the bars, clubs and streets of the nightlife strip three times a week. The strength of our relationships comes from these times of hanging out, connecting and chatting with people and it is often during these times that God breaks through and the real conversations come.
Loads of young people have come to Las Americas for a good time but they actually find that it's quite empty. They are so close to falling off the edge and yet they are so open to Jesus.
Many off-load issues and problems they are going through, many listen and ask their soul-searching questions, some take bibles and many accept prayer from us. It’s amazing what God is doing here in the middle of the mess!
Through love and months of conversations we have seen someone who was absolutely convinced that science is the only answer, slowly start to wonder what a living relationship with God would be like. A stripper hears the bible explained in a way that she understands and then wants one, whilst a heroin addict who is unsure if he still has a soul, comes to ask us what we think. A man diagnosed with Hepatitis C and sentenced to a slow and painful death is miraculously healed one week and the next a young guy is moved to admit that he wants “what you all have”.
Young people start to realise that sexuality is precious and question the way society lives and lies of the enemy are broken down as Jesus opens up the way for us to speak truth into people's lives.
“Do you think one day I will be a Christian like you?” one girl asks one night.
“Am I going to heaven?” asks another.
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So what does The Living Room do?
We use The Living Room centre (situated on the infamous strip of bars called “Veronicas”) as a drop-in centre and many come to chill out, chat with us, use the wifi, play pool, table tennis, find job or accommodation info or to hang out with friends.
Some, however, come out of a real sense of need when their party lifestyle gets too much for them. This means that beneath the great atmosphere of people laughing and joking around, real and deep friendships are being formed.
We support people, listen to people, share our testimonies with people and often pray with people. Through being involved with people, God gives us so many opportunities to speak into people’s lives and share his love with them.
We have had so many encounters with people on the streets of Las Americas and in The Living Room centre over the years that it's impossible to remember or even count them all. We have had so many young people asking questions about Jesus, wanting prayer, coming to church and opening up about their lives. We have seen people saved, baptised and go on to walk with Jesus for years, becoming pastors, evangelists, leaders and even setting up ministries in other places.
We have seen addiction broken, unbelieving people slowly start to wonder if God is real and people ask for or accept prayer for the very first time in their lives. We have heard young people who have never ever met another Christian before decide we are “quite cool actually” and that we “make a lot of sense”.
We have seen a broken man on the brink of suicide be persuaded that there is hope that things could be better and a young girl abused by every man she has ever known start to believe in a God that loves her. Drug dealers have been reduced to tears by the powerful words of Christ, girls have decided not to sell their bodies anymore.
We have stood bible in hand, sharing Christ, in the middle of the madness, prayed with people in the middle of the vomit and comforted and reassured in the middle of the desperation.
A 20-something year- old lad with no church background stands reading a chapter out of our bible and is amazed as he explains “the words just jumped out to me”, a homeless man, addicted to heroin smiles as we sit and have coffee with him, a child whose mum sells her body to support the family, forgets the situation, whilst we play football with him, the mentally ill become sane as we pray earnestly for them and the sceptic becomes slightly less sceptical as they watch us day after day, night after night loving this community..... all because Christ first loved us.