Last Friday (Oct 25) our Operation Barnabas summer ministry teams were able to join together again for a reunion at Urban Hope Training Center Philadelphia. Our students from Indiana and Ohio traveled throughout the day to meet everyone in Philadelphia Friday evening.
After an introduction of Urban Hope staff and of the training center, students were sent out immediately to canvas the neighborhood advertising for the Fall Festival happening over the weekend with Urban Hope Community Church. We came back together as a team to eat some pizza before we were off on our next opportunity. Our team, plus some others from another church, took the HopeMobile truck down to Somerset and Allegheny where we were able to hand out some bagged meals, snacks, and clothing items to many people living without homes and others in need in the area. Students encouraged and spent time with people who struggle with severe poverty and addictions, and they were able to share the gospel through prayer and love. HopeMobile played worship music where we were able to sing alongside individuals in the community. A member of the Urban Hope church was able to share his own testimony, coming from a background of addiction and prison himself. The Light of the Lord was clearly shown from our students in a seemingly dark place.
The following day our team had breakfast together before we started preparing for the Fall Festival block party happening in front of Urban Hope Community Church that same afternoon.
Students signed up for different jobs throughout the block party. Many ran different carnival games for the kids, while others made popcorn and cotton candy for everyone who attended the block party. Students assisted by running foods, drinks, and candy back and forth, while everyone else was able to interact and spend time with people in the neighborhood who attended the block party. Throughout the afternoon, there were different contests and competitions for people to win prizes, as well as worship and testimonies. The church handed out bags of groceries to over 50 families who attended this event. Both teams shared two programs, with dances and songs, to families on the block during the event. One student shared the cross illustration with a child who accepted Jesus for the first time. The Fall Festival continued into Sunday afternoon and was an incredible opportunity to share the love of Christ through community outreach.
During our time together this weekend, our team shared some of the ways God has been using them in their homes and communities since being back from Operation Barnabas. Whether this was through individual opportunities to share their faith with a loved one, through an opportunity to lead a Bible study, or through other doors God had opened for them, it was obvious our students are following the Lord’s lead and applying what they learned over their previous summer.
Saturday night, part of the team spent time together in Philadelphia visiting the Liberty Bell, the Rocky Steps in front of the Art Museum, and other sites around the city. The rest of the team stayed back at Urban Hope and spent time together during our last reunion evening.
The following morning, our team parted ways for the final time.
Thank you for your constant prayer over our teams last summer and last weekend. All the Glory goes to God for the way He moved in the hearts of our team members and in the individuals we were able to serve along the way. – from cenational.org