Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade, who is Associate Pastor of Outreach Ministries at the Wooster (OH) Grace Brethren Church (Robert Fetterhoff, pastor), sends along this exciting set of photos and reports on a recent event at the Wooster church:
On Saturday, October 25, our church opened its doors to our community for an evening of fun, food and fellowship. We do it every year right around this time as a family-friendly, safe alternative for Halloween. But this year it was extra-special because we were also inviting people to come inside our newly built Student Ministries Center.
We served a free meal in our new café, had many inflatable games inside our gym, as well as other carnival games, which the children and their parents loved so much. In addition to that, we had a world-class Christian juggler, David Cain, who is known as “the juggler for Jesus,” who shared the Gospel through his many tricks and presentations, someone who drew caricatures, face painting, puppets, etc.
A closing program drew a large crowd, partly because of the 10 fabulous prize bags we gave away (all donated by businesses in our community), partly because of the fact that we were featuring a 7 foot center from Sudan, who is playing basketball for the College of Wooster. He shared his story of how God brought him from a war torn and financially devastated country to the College of Wooster and many people were inspired by it.
All told, about 1200 people came through our building that night, many of them first time visitors. A conversation that was overheard in our busy hallways that night perhaps typifies what was going through the minds of our visitors. A father was shepherding a couple of his children from the gym to the arts and crafts area. He asked his boys, “So do you like this church?” In unison, the boys said, “Yes!” “Do you like the way they treat children?” Again the answer was “Yes!” “Would you like to come back?” Another resounding “Yes!!”
I trust that those children and their father will return. In fact, they may already have returned because the very next day, on Sunday morning, our church had a spike in attendance of over 300 people. Obviously the building looked a lot different then and I wouldn’t be surprised if the children kept looking for the games to no avail. But hopefully they found the same kind of love and care that prompted the father to ask them if they wanted to come back.
We believe these types of events help people get inside the building and once they are inside they will be open to coming back. We’ve seen big changes in people’s lives because they took that first step to come to a safe and fun environment with their children. We praise God that we are able to do these things.