Back Tent Seekers tackle former brothel at Salama Urban Ministries

September 16th, 2009

Tent Seekers tackle former brothel at Salama Urban Ministries
Tent Seekers tackle former brothel at Salama Urban Ministries
Tent Seekers tackle former brothel at Salama Urban Ministries
Tent Seekers tackle former brothel at Salama Urban Ministries
Tent Seekers tackle former brothel at Salama Urban Ministries

Last month, the Tent Seekers Adult Bible Study class partnered alongside Salama Urban Ministries in a service project that has changed lives in both parties. But this isn't the first group from Brentwood Baptist to visit this ministry—a group also visited the ministry in May to serve during the Great Day of Service.

Salama, a faith-based organization that works with youth, pre-Kindergarten through grade 12, in leadership, academics, and performing arts development. Their after-school and summer programs give low-income students the opportunity to participate in activities they may not have otherwise.

Every Monday through Friday from 3:00-6:00 p.m. the ministry opens its doors to its students. Tuesdays and Thursdays focus on performing arts, while Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are geared to academics.

Along with performing arts, children are also trained and allowed to develop their skills in drawing and writing. And each child must qualify for the program and auditions take place for the performances.

The 18-20 members of the Tent Seekers class tackled a former brothel turned costume company turned Salama facility, cleaning things out, organizing costumes and props for the students, and donating bins to store everything. They also worked outside, landscaping the grounds of the ministry.

Dorcas Sheffield, a Salama staff member, said, "God's people showed up and showed out as we tackled the costume building! My words of appreciation seem to be so small compared to the wonderfully large gift Salama received from Brentwood Baptist. It was a major undertaking and the joy of it all is that Brentwood Baptist came to work and did it with the love of the Lord in their hearts."

This ministry touts the fact that they're building leaders in their community out of the students who attend. "We're trying to make sure all of our kids go to secondary education," Dorcas said. "We have a huge performing arts piece every summer. It's a major production. This summer, we did Cinderella, but our kids wore African outfits rather than the traditional look. We've also done Grease, West Side Story, and Guys & Dolls."

Just like many other non-profits, Salama survives off the support of various churches, ministries, and individuals. In addition to this, they recruit volunteers to help with homework and each of the specialty areas that the children participate in.

"Right now, I'm looking for college students and retired teachers that can help with homework," Dorcas said. "We've got two college professors and teachers from Metro Nashville schools volunteering. Our teachers have to write out curriculum focusing on their education and development as well as the performing arts side."

Along with volunteer teachers in education and performing arts, Salama welcomes help from people like the Tent Seekers in their facilities, others who want to donate food for snacks, and ladies who want to speak with the girls about hygiene, women's issues, and more.

Dorcas said, "Jesus Christ came to serve and not be served. Some people forget that. They think service was only designated for the church. But Jesus touched people that didn't look like Him. Brentwood Baptist members came and worked as if Jesus was standing right here watching them. They did more than we even asked for."

To find out more about Salama Urban Ministries, click here.
To volunteer with this ministry, contact Dorcas Sheffield at 615.251.4050 or click here.

By Kaylan Christopher