young peopleIt is not uncommon to see another news headline referring to child poverty in Scotland. While these statistics can make us aware of the big picture and overall trends, I am always challenged by the stories of those carrying on faithful work with children and young people across the country and making a difference in individual lives, often with one or two children at a time. Recently I spent time with a number of people working in one of the neediest parts of Edinburgh. As they shared what they did I was struck by their commitment to the young people they were working with. This is not just in spending time with them in the weekly group they are part of, but also following up with them to ensure they come to other events and holiday programmes (particularly SU Scotland Motiv8 Holidays) - and where necessary, getting to know their families. In short, they were willing and committed to being part of these young people's lives for the long haul. At the recent Big Celebration it was exciting to hear stories from those working with disadvantaged young people. There was a necessary reminder that right across the country there are children growing up in broken families or who don't always have their basic needs met. Some are hungry. Others may have food and clothes, but lack love and attention. Some have little family to speak of - and others have to deal with the death of a parent. These children are in your local school. An integral part of the gospel is being there for these children: journeying with them and helping them to see that God is interested in every area of their lives. In the Bible we often see Jesus choosing to spend time with those who would be seen as being on the margins of society, those who were not popular or not part of the in-crowd. My hope is whether we serve in a school or whether we are called to pray for a school, that we pray for these children. If you would like to pray for a school that might be seen as being in a disadvantaged area, please contact Elizabeth. You can also find out more about journeying with young people for the long haul at Equipped to Transform, a one-day conference exploring how we build lasting relationships with young people growing up in disadvantaged communities, in Glasgow on Sat 16 November.