The Journey Blog

Stories and updates from the college ministry at Brandywine Valley Baptist Church!

The Cops Know About Us – Wilmington Outreach Update 12.26.11

Since last Sunday was Christmas, we pushed our Wilmington Outreach to Monday, the 26th instead.  I was actually going to just cancel it and re-convene in two weeks, but some of the students wanted to keep it going, and I can’t say no to that.  There were six of us this week.  I’ve been totally encouraged lately by the amount of support we have been getting for this ministry.  People in the church have been talking about it, donating to it, and asking us to share stories about it (including Kaitlynn’s testimonies at the Christmas Eve services).

Because of all of this support, we were able to up the ante this week – we made some nice lunch meat sandwiches instead of the normal PB & J!  Seems like a minor difference, but I think people really appreciated it.  And the encouragements didn’t stop there.  As we were in Rodney Square handing out sandwiches, a Wilmington Police car pulls up next to us and I could tell the officer was trying to get my attention.  Because of the glare on the window, I couldn’t really tell who it was.  After looking around (as if he wasn’t pointing at me) it was clear he wanted me to come over to the cop car.  I was wondering if he was going to tell us to stop handing out food, or talk to me about the people we were giving food to. As it turned out, it was the police officer we met during our second week in Rodney Square (back in July – see this post for more info: https://journeyde.wordpress.com/2011/12/27/nerves-and-spray-paint-the-first-two-weeks-in-rodney-square/).  He remembered my face and wanted to tell me how impressed he was with all that we were doing.  We had a pretty long conversation, sharing stories about what we’ve experienced in the city over the past few months.  Mainly, my only exposure to the streets of Wilmington come on Sunday afternoons, but they are the day to day reality for this cop.  He went on to tell me about all the violence that has been going on in the city.  “It’s been bad.  Real bad.  I can’t wait for it to get colder so people stay inside and things calm down.  But when spring comes around it’s just going to get bad again.”

That’s just one story – but we met lots of people, handed out lots of food, and had lots of great conversation.

Please pray alongside us for:

The city of Wilmington – that God’s peace and blessings would be poured out to the city, and that God would use His people to be a part of the transformation.

Our friend, the Wilmington police officer (who will remain unnamed here) – for protection and strength

Nerves and Spray Paint – The First Two Weeks in Rodney Square (Re-cap)

Week One – 7/10/11

Some of us were a little nervous.  It was our first Sunday doing this outreach.  We had just gotten back from Nashville on the fourth of July.  We didn’t know what to expect. We soon learned not to expect anything because it’s just a waste of time! There is no way we could ever predict the crazy stuff that happens to us when we’re serving God.

So, nerves and all, we prayed and then started looking for some people to talk to. We walked around Wilmington for about forty-five minutes before anyone would accept food from us! Finally, we were able to feed some people and have a few good conversations. We found the actual square to be the best place to serve. There is a lot of foot traffic from the buses, plus benches for people just hanging out. We’ve been following the same pattern ever since.

Week Two – 7/17/11

One of Train's paintings

Our second week was a pretty memorable one. We found some people sitting around talking outside of the square, so we decided to join in. Our friend Kenny was sitting on a bench with a guy named Train when, suddenly, the guy jumps up and starts emptying out his backpack. We were a little confused and asked him what he was doing. He said Kenny asked him what he did for a living and that he was going to show him. It turned out that Train was a street artist. He made paintings with spray paint and a lighter. So Train leads us down into the square to watch him work. He was starting to attract quite a crowd when a police officer and a couple of security guards came down to see what was going on. People were worried that the officer was going to kick Train out, but he stayed and watched with us.

Train was amazingly talented. And very passionate about his art work! He got so excited talking about it that his whole face would light up. And his enthusiasm was contagious! We all got excited while watching him paint.

Train made a couple of sales that day which would help him move on to his next destination (he got his name by traveling around North America by freight train). But he was running out of spray paint so we decided to pick some up at the store.

Our first stop was a drugstore that was close-by.  We noticed that the police officer from Rodney Square (the one watching Train paint) was standing behind us at the drugstore. We jokingly asked him if he was following us. Turns out he was just picking up some things while he was on his lunch break. It was interesting that we saw him there… we don’t exactly know why, but it wasn’t the last time we ran into this particular police officer! But that’s another story.

Personally, this was the day I felt most connected to the people in Rodney Square. It was as if we were a part of their community for a while. There was a mutual appreciation for something (in this case it was Train’s artwork). I know it sounds corny, but it was something we were all able to connect to, and I think that’s significant. As Christians, we need to find ways to connect to others so that we can effectively share the Gospel. We can’t just spit out verses that make no sense to the people we’re talking to. We need to ask God to help us connect to them somehow so that His truth can meet them where they are.

Train in action

Merry Christmas and Party Re-Cap!

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!  There is no Sunday Morning Journey class tomorrow morning, but there is one church service from 10:30 – 11:30 AM.

We had a great time at the Journey Christmas Party on Thursday night – we packed out my house with 33 people!  There was a great white elephant gift exchange, great conversation, and of course – lots and lots of amazing desserts.  Thanks for everyone who came out!

Ok, time to eat some dinner and head over to BVBC for the Christmas Eve service.  Have a safe and Merry Christmas – and don’t forget why we celebrate!

Christmas Presents and Divine Appointments – Wilmington Outreach Update 12.18.11

We’ve basically been doing the Wilmington Outreach every Sunday for the past 6 months now and have so many amazing stories to tell, which we’ll be re-capping on this blog over the next month or so.  Last Sunday was no exception.  We met at BVBC after church to make sandwiches and pack lunches.  There were 8 of us from Journey – which is a great number of people for the ministry we’re doing.  We went downtown, prayed and started meeting people and handing out food!  I went around with my buddy Tim to hand out sandwiches and water bottles.  We didn’t get very far when we were stopped by a guy I had met several times before over the past few months who goes by the name “Rage.”   Unfortunately, he was recently kicked out of a local homeless shelter and is now on the streets with only a t-shirt, a hoodie, and bookbag.  We also met his wife and heard about his family (4 kids).  They have had a rough time this year in many areas of life – finances, safety, jobs, etc. and haven’t been able to get Christmas gifts for their children.

Toys we bought as Christmas gifts for a family we met downtown

They did mention, however, how important it was to them to give their kids something – so we decided to help out.  Everyone in our group chipped in a few bucks and we bought a bunch of toys for their family.  I was amazed at the willingness of our group of college students to jump to the occasion to help this family, and we had a blast doing it!  We know it’s not a long-term solution for this family, but we hope that by this act of kindness we will continue to show the love of Christ and develop a deeper relationship.  Next, we went to Panera Bread for lunch where we talked about the experience downtown.  We had some amazing conversations – what it means to be a follower of Christ and represent Him to everyone we meet, the role of homeless ministries in the city, and how God seems to line up amazing opportunities for us to be the answers to other people’s prayers.  Just as we were talking about these things, a guy sitting across the room came over to us and said “Sorry to interrupt, but I’m currently homeless and couldn’t help but overhear your conversation.”  His name was George.  He continued to share with us his appreciation for the work that we’re doing, some of his experiences while homeless, and a request for prayer.  Wow.  After he left, we all stared at each other, in awe of God’s guidance in our day.  He was leading us every step of the way – even to go to this particular restaurant for lunch and sit at this particular table so we could meet and pray for George.  He was so encouraged by meeting us too, and even got a private beat-box performance from one of our group members!  If only every day could be lived with this kind of purpose, joy, and meaning…

These are just a couple stories from last Sunday, but there were so many more.  Please pray for:

  • Rage and his family – that the Christmas gifts would be a blessing to them, that they’d rely on God’s strength to work in their lives, that they’d experience His love for them.
  • George – that God would provide a job for him and his situation would improve.
  • Children who are living on the streets this winter (see picture below).
  • Everyone else we met and gave food and water to!
  • That our group would have protection and discernment.

Samantha made some new friends!

Wilmington Outreach – How It All Started

This past June a group of us went on a mission trip to Nashville, TN.  On one particular day we went downtown and split up into groups of six.  We were given a list of things to accomplish before meeting up with the large group a few hours later.  The list included sharing our lunch with someone who was homeless, talking to a police officer and asking their opinion on the issue of homelessness, etc.  So we set out to find someone to share our lunches with.  We walked for a while until we saw a man selling newspapers on the street corner.  He was selling the homeless community’s newspaper called The Contributor in which all the writers have experienced/are now experiencing homelessness.  Talking to a Contributor vendor was on our list too!  We figured we were killing two birds with one stone.  The man’s name was Ben.  Ben was a fascinating person who had a lot to say!  We were talking to him for a while when we noticed hundreds of people lining up in front of a church across the street.  We asked Ben what was going on and he said The Contributor was having a meeting in a few minutes.  Then he asked us if we wanted to sit in on the meeting.  We responded with an emphatic, “Yes!”  So ten minutes later we were sitting inside of this huge church with hundreds of people who were all without homes.  To say it was moving would be an understatement.

Our view from the back of the church at the Contributor meeting

The Contributor editors held a press conference, which was pretty interesting.  But once that was over they began calling out vendors’ names in order to give them their next assignment.  There were tons of people waiting inside the church, so we thought, “We might as well start striking up some conversations right here!”  Why leave to “finish the list” when God had given us this awesome opportunity to witness right there in that church?

We split up into even smaller groups of three (we didn’t want to scare anyone away).  Our little group was so nervous!  We just stood there for a second looking around asking ourselves, “Who should I talk to?” and “What am I supposed to say?”  Instantly, God turned our attention to a man sitting quietly in the pew.  His name was Tyrus.  We began talking to him and the conversation soon turned to God.  The Lord gave us the words that Tyrus needed to hear.  We told him about being a new creation in Christ, and how the blood of Jesus can wash away any sin.  Tyrus was deeply affected by hearing the Word of God and how powerfully He transforms lives.  He could not deny the truth being spoken to him, but he said, “I think God will show me when it’s time [to accept and follow Jesus].”  We pointed out that God was making it pretty clear what he needed to do.  We said, “Well, six strangers from Delaware are standing here telling you about Jesus… that’s a pretty big message God’s sending you!”  He said, “You’ve got a point there” and proceeded to stare into space.  (At this point we were about to burst with anticipation!)  Then he said, “Ok, let’s do it.”  We prayed with him to accept Christ into his heart and turn away from sin.

We realized something after leaving the church: we submitted to the leadership of the Holy Spirit and were able to lead someone to Christ.  We realized that we needed to offer ourselves to be used as witnesses all day, every day.  This outreach is an expression of that realization. We commit our Sundays to be used by God to share His love with people living on the streets of Wilmington.

Sunday Morning 12.18.11 – Be Christlike on Christmas

There can be a lot of difficult things about the Christmas season.  It’s easy to build up lots of expectations about what the “perfect Christmas” should be like only to be hit by a reality that falls short.  For many, church is a big part of the Christmas experience. But how many times can we sing the same Christmas carols and still mean it?

This past Sunday morning, I challenged everyone at Journey to try to be more like Jesus this Christmas season.  Instead of making the whole experience about us, let’s focus on others.  We looked at this video about an extreme (and pretty funny) example of how crazy the consumerism mentally has impacting the shopping days leading up to Christmas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dIBL4tYQPI

Then we watched this video from the Advent Conspiracyhttp://vimeo.com/30556886, which shows another way to celebrate.

The main focus of the morning was on three attributes of Jesus and trying to live them out as best as possible as we are experiencing everything the Christmas season has to offer – from the silent nights to busy shopping and family feuds.

Humility: Philippians 2:4-11; Luke 14:1-14

Service: Matthew 20:20-28; John 13:1-17

Love: Luke 6:27-36; Mark 12:28-34

It’s not easy, it takes strength that only God can give, but if we all reflected these attributes of Jesus this year, we will be able to worship more fully and experience Christmas closer to the way it was intended.

Welcome to the Journey (BVBC) blog!


Journey is the college-age ministry at Brandywine Valley Baptist Church in Wilmington, DE.  We’ve been meaning to get a blog started for a while now to keep people up to date on all our events, share resources from recent lessons, ask questions, and engage in an easier way throughout the week – especially for those who are away at school!

This will also be the location for any posts about our weekly Wilmington Outreach, which takes place on Sunday afternoons.  For more info about that, see the “Wilmington Outreach” link at the top of the page.  Also, you can find the latest about our small groups, Sunday mornings and other events on the links above.  Stay tuned…

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