Wow, I don't even know where to begin this blog, the block party was amazing, however the events following it, have broken my heart along with many others that serve with me at Charm City. This past weekend will be one I will not forget for a long time, for many reasons some sad, some super exciting and some just because this weekend rocked my world in ways I may NEVER be able to explain!
On Friday our missions team from Carpenters Church in Pennsylvania joined us and humbled themselves at the door and served us to the maximum, thanks to them we now have all of the classrooms in the down stairs in working order, they also fixed a toilet, helped us flier the neighborhood with Block Party Fliers and rocked people's world in the neighborhood in the process. Saturday they helped us pull off the block party, which was more amazing than I could have ever imagined. It didn't stop there though, these kids worked their hearts out helping to set up, execute and clean up the block party, then they went to Fell's Point and loved on some our homeless friends, came back helped clean up the church and then in the morning they helped us pull off our Sunday morning service, by rocking us with some amazing worship.
God used these youth in ways they don't even know this weekend, they changed lives with their actions, their smiles and their humble hearts. I can only pray that they all went home changed in one way or another. This morning their pastor returned to set up our sound system for us, I know in my heart this is a relationship that will continue to grow and hopefully we can continue to partner for upcoming events and projects.
The Block Party, wow is all I can say, once again in the end I stood back and thought to myself wow, God used US to pull this off. There were some things we did differently this year, that I really liked including having a Baltimore Free Store Free Market, renting a Block Party Trailer and no stage. Somethings we didn't do this year, I think would have worked out better, but all in all it was a HUGE success. The crazy thing is, that it appears we served more people this year than last and that just down the street while there was a Muslim outreach event happening, while we were having a rockin' party for Jesus!
Somethings that stick out the most to me from the event 8 people got saved that day, I am still getting emails from people who served with us, telling me awesome stories about people that they met and connected with. I met "K" this man who really desires to be delivered from this neighborhood and this lifestyle, as he stood with tears streaming down his face telling us about his life of being broken and battered, I had to hold back my tears. Looking across the lot and seeing the cha-cha slide being danced by everyone, white, black, young, old...it was such a bonding moment, and one that I prayed for. I can't stop thinking about the whole day, images pop into my head and I just think to myself, wow did that REALLY happen...or wow that was awesome...or wow I am so happy we did things this way this year.
One thing that will forever be etched in my mind, is the hug and the prayer I shared with Amanda...knowing that I will never see her again, that we'll never hear here call Pastor Mike her Pasker or that we'll probably never ever see Arianna, Alicia or Josh, or that I won't wave to her on the corner of Payson and Wilkens. It was a complete and total God thing that Amanda was at the Block Party on Saturday and that most of us who've formed a relationship with her, got to lay our hands on her, whether it was a hug or a prayer, we all shared some form of communication with her that day.
Fast forward to Sunday morning, there was an unidentified body found in S.W. Baltimore that morning, the person had been brutally murdered...it turns out this body that had been beaten an left for dead on the corner was our dear friend Amanda, someone we all loved, someone we all prayed for and with, someone that we loved despite the choices she made, despite the fact that sometimes she didn't love us back. She let the streets get the best of her, she made decisions that put her in a compromising position and someone took advantage of that and now she's gone from us.
From the second the Block Party trailer was packed up until the current second I sit here writing this, Satan has been busy in our body, first two vans, same night, within an hour of each other break down, second Bruce gets extremely ill and ends up having his appendix removed, third Amanda is found dead, one of us experience severe personal attacks from Satan, one of us it beaten down so bad it's hard to get back up...and the list goes on and on...so right now I am begging you to lift our little family up in prayer, pray for Satan's hands to be bound in our work and our lives, pray for lives to be changed because of Amanda's death, pray for miracles to happen. We lift up our new Block Party friends and old ones as well.
I cannot begin to Thank all of you for your support whether it through serving with us, donations, prayer or just a thought about the block party. I hope that your lives were rocked just as much as ours were!
<3 and prayers friends!