On one recent Sunday afternoon, children climbed, swung, and slid on two colorful and strong playground structures in East Vancouver, British Columbia.
Two days earlier, before it was filled with volunteers, the playground was a vacant lot in one of Vancouver’s most diverse and economically impoverished neighborhoods.
The playground is a stone’s throw from First Christian Reformed Church in Vancouver. A community initiative called MOBY (My Own Back Yard) and MOSAIC, an adjacent children’s center, spearheaded the project.
Rev. Julia Prins-Vanderveen, co-pastor of First CRC, served on the planning committee that worked out designs, applied for grants, and raised funds.
“I am most amazed by how a number of our neighbors who were previously anti-church or really in the dark about what kind of people Christians are, made comments about how great they thought it was that we became involved,” she said.
Rebecca Bokma, 21, a member of First CRC, was one of the construction volunteers. “I see this playground as the redemption of land in this neighborhood, and I believe God is pleased with the efforts of those who worked so hard to see this project through,” she said.