We woke up tired from a long week. Several members of our team were battling sickness as we ate breakfast for the last time. I remember feeling a sense of finality and I just wanted to keep eating JB’s cooking.
Prayer followed that morning and we were encouraged by a sermon. Then it was time to set up for the block party. All of the canvassing and preparation was about to come to a head. The skit team collected all their props to prepare to any skit if called upon. James drove the “Black Truck” in and we began to help him set it up. Meanwhile others assisted inflating the Moon Bounce and Moon Bounce obstacle course. We could tell the kids were going to enjoy themselves by the stares of longing we saw on kids faces as they leaned on the fence. Soon the sound was up, VFCC students were trained in how to operate the equipment and the event began.
The sizzling of hotdogs on a grill was drowned out by the rappers Pastor Brian Bolt brought in from Pittsburg City Outreach. They spoke words of life and truth out into the crowd. Kids were buzzing with excitement over the attractions and we even had a face painting table for kids as well. Brittany surveyed the scene helping out in every way and photographing Fun. Joy was being infused into the community and we had the pleasure of doing it. As the festivities continued Jenny and Steve roamed the crowd offering to pray for people and hopefully establish a connection or sow seeds of Christ into their lives. Meanwhile, I was trying to stand up on the obstacle course shouting, “Ready—Set—Go!!!!” My voice was becoming horse. Then the moment came—VFCC was called upon to do our last skit.
Throughout the week we had had the most success with “Everything” and so everyone dawned their costumes. We prayed. The music began and the skit flowed smoothly into cheers as Jesus defeated all of the worldly vices—saving his child. Pastor Brian then followed up with an appeal for salvation. Pastor Angelo rounded them up and began to describe the Christian life, giving vital definition to what they were doing and committing to. We were so thankful for his tremendous leadership on the trip. Before we left, we presented Pastor Angelo, Pastor Brian, and Pastor Kathy with a thank you card and we also gave one to JB, Parker, and “Cupcake” John—the men of the local home in Reading, who cooked, cleaned, prepared, and ministered with us each day. Again, we were so impressed with all of them.
As the parking lot emptied out and balloons deflated, and last of the hot dogs were being given away—it was time to say goodbye. Adios mis amigos…we will miss you Pittsburg and Reading men and women. The trip was blessed and well worth it, but the impact will not be quickly forgotten. 2 Students felt a call to stay and work with the children’s ministry and a group even returned the next Sunday, taking time to personally visit those who they connected with. The church attendance was bolstered by the events and we are excited to see what will happen next as Reading City Outreach takes its first steps into existence.