H.I.S. Bridgebuilders Buffalo, New York Branch
In the Fall of 2011, a group of men from Restoration Church in Buffalo, NY began spending their Tuesday nights with Will Coplin, a faithful servant of God and director of Urban Christian Ministries, a youth driven ministry founded in 1970. Will shared the Gospel with gang members and young men, who for the most part didn’t graduate high school and were relying on worldly wisdom to survive. The men from Restoration and the young men who showed up on Tuesday nights for Bible study started developing a trust despite their differences. A bond formed that resulted in time spent with one another during the rest of the week. Soon a community evolved with influence extending to one another’s families and friends.
Since then H.I.S. BridgeBuilders has been established in Buffalo by continuing to build relationships with influential city servants like Will who have worked humbly for decades in the city of Buffalo bringing glory to God and the message of Jesus Christ to the most impoverished neighbors of the East side. By allowing us to serve with them we have had the opportunity to be present in community centers, health clinics, and homes praying for God’s grace and mercy on an oppressed people going through physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual battles on a daily basis.
Our eyes have been opened to the realities of some very difficult socio-economic circumstances and government systems that create unhealthy welfare dependencies and steady rates of poverty. Buffalo is currently the third poorest city in the United States and three of the high schools on Buffalo’s east side have a graduation rate below 35%.
Where does the next generation find hope? Our Savior says, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). So we’ve been sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with an oppressed area, encouraging men, women, and children as they go through various trials, weeping with them and rejoicing with them as they see God bring light into dark places. Our ministry of reconciliation and restoration is founded on one person, Jesus Christ, who despite the darkness that pervades our city, is still in control and ready to redeem it for His glory.