The Journey Blog

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

Archive for the tag “homeless”

Brief Relief 2011 + other events from Christmas break!

"My Name is Drew" performing at Brief Relief 2011

$737 and 116 pairs of underwear.

Brief Relief is a benefit concert run by BVBC every winter, spotlighting local bands to raise money and clothing for the impoverished in our own community. It all started years ago, when we found out that one of the most needed clothing donations at homeless ministries is underwear.  While it’s common for homeless shelters and clothing banks to get shirts, pants, etc, it’s easy to forget that they have to buy underwear.  So we started a benefit concert where admission is either a package of underwear or $7.  This year, all the underwear donations are being given to Wilmington’s largest homeless shelter, the Sunday Breakfast Mission, and the financial proceeds will be donated to Urban Promise, another ministry that does great work in Wilmington.  For more information about the event, including the band lineup, see the BR Facebook Event.  Also, check out this video of Nick Taylor and Jack Shepard from “Rain Falling Up”:

This year’s concert was another great experience – lots of people and lots of donations raised.  We also had a guest speaker from Urban Promise, Jeff Thompson, who came to share with us what was going on in their ministry – how God is using them to bring love and hope to a city that needs it desperately.  So it was a night of music, food, catching up with lots of friends, making a difference in hundreds of people’s lives, and learning about what God is doing in our city.  Sounds like a good night to me.

In other Journey updates – we had a great time last week with our Ice Skating/Cheesesteak trip to Philly on Tuesday and our prayer & worship night on Thursday.  During the prayer & worship night, we had a good chance to reflect on what God has done in our lives in 2011, and looked forward to what He’s going to do in 2012.  It was awesome!

McKinley Short performing at Brief Relief 2011


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:  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

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.

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