Guess Whooo Loves You?!?

Each year our church has a week-long mission week. For several years it was in a community just outside of Savannah, GA, but this summer they stayed at home and worked in neighborhood just a few miles from where many of the church members live and work. This was the first time in several years that I wasn't able to participate daily in the Bible camp that we host for the kids where we are working.

Because the neighborhood is in our backyard, our church has made a commitment to continue outreach to the community. We had been planning on a Christmas program with a party and distribution of toys and blankets. But why wait so long? That is what our youth pastor asked. And started planning a block party at the local park.

Have you ever seen an idea snowball? Not the bad kind of snowball. The kind where it grows and grows into something amazing? That's what happened.

Hot dogs, chips and cupcakes grew to bobbing for apples, candy bags, pumpkins for decorating, a "photo booth," crafts, potato sack races, face painting, drawing for door prizes, ball toss games, and kids, parents, and families making new friends.

This doesn't seem like a big deal, but it's a huge deal. The area where the party & festival was held has a bad rap. Actually, that's probably underestimating the perception. It is a section of the city where - in the past - drug deals, shooting, gang activity, and other delinquent activity had not only occurred but been repeatedly shown up and been cautioned against in the local area and media.

When I first moved to the area a decade ago, I clearly remember getting lost a few streets over and seeing a man openly waving a gun in broad daylight.

But things change.

While the neighborhood is still impoverished, the criminal activity has waned.

It reminds me of part of the passage I posted the other day:
"A time to kill and a time to heal,
time to tear down and a time to build (Ecclesiastes 3:3)."

People have gone in to help; to try and show then that they are loved and that they have a future. Our church has been fortunate to be able to have the resources to bring ministry to these families and to make friends with them. We're not done.

Our treat bags had the following verse:
"We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19)."

We love because HE first loved us. It's our responsibility to show love to those in need of love; those who love us; those who don't deserve love. We can have different lives, different views, different circumstances, but we are all equal in His eyes.

"What I’m about to tell you is true. Anything you did for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did for me (Matthew 25:40)."
Today was awesome. I can't wait to see the amazing things still to be done.


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