Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter @ the Park!

Greetings all! Our Easter pancake breakfast at Westchester Park went really well. I want to get some good pics up!

We had a few goals. First, we wanted to worship our God who raised his son, Jesus, from the dead by GOING and serving our neighbors - wrapping our worship around our mission, so to speak. We had a great morning of fellowship during set-up which culminated in a wonderful time of prayer, and all day we sensed God's presence moving in our conversations.

We also wanted to create a chance to truly connect with people where they lived, rather than asking them to come to us. Let me just say, for the record - it works!

Set-up was a lot of fun, and it took a couple weeks to work out. But we were pretty organized - props to our supa-shoppers! as well as all those involved in organizing, setting up, and cleaning the gear.

The park district stood firmly behind us, encouraging us to use a certain spot, making clear they were with us in spirit. Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf were AWESOME, supplying us coffee and creamers and cups and sweetener. Here's a picture of Terrence and Joshua picking up the coffee - I think Terrence is trying to teach Joshua how to eat pancakes or something:

In all, Westchester Naz, Hope Chapel, the Park District, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and Youth First! all helped out. A friend from Journey of Faith lent us a stove! The day featured fun for the kids -

as well as many conversations and points of connection where Jesus' name was lifted up. Pairs of our guys moved out across the park, taking Jesus' love and the news of free pancakes :) to everyone. Everyone became ministers to over one hundred and twenty people and children who were not at a church building for an Easter service that morning - some sharing about God, telling stories, listening, serving food, cooking pancakes, praying. Awesome sight to behold.

Now, we don't have a lot of pictures because at about 10 AM, the park filled up! Things got going! And so if anyone has more pics, please comment on the blog and let us know - we'll get them up here! We want to see them.

If you joined us or walked through the gathering, you would have been blessed. (This was the highlight of my day.) Some of my favorite quotes:

"It's God's kindness that leads us to repentance."

In response to the question, "Why are you doing this?": "We are celebrating the day Jesus conquered death." And, "Jesus gave us NEW LIFE, we can give our neighbors pancakes."

One young couple was there with their child. When they heard "free breakfast" their faces lit up with excitement, and the man spun around - and with a small grin - asked, "So what's the catch?" Someone called back, "We love you! That's the catch!" and all three burst into smiles.

Many shared stories about Jesus' power over sin and death and how he has changed their lives. One women has lived near the park for seventeen years, and in between bites she said, "I've been noticing a huge change in this park over the last six months. God is doing something in our neighborhood, isn't he?" That was so exciting, coming from someone who has been around the park for that long!

There's a lot more to share. We need to get together soon, and just have a time we can tell the stories of our experiences. God is good!