Oh what a day it has been! To start things off, I’M AN UNCLE!!! I just got word that my sister gave birth to Richard John Christian at 9:57pm (CST). He’s healthy, and currently has the most proud uncle in the world. Richard, if you ever read this, know that your uncle did the biggest fist pump in the world when he got the text saying you were born. Praying for ya, little guy!
While that’s huge, I’ve got even more to be thankful for. Monday has been an incredible day, so let’s dive in.
Early this morning, we kicked everything off with an orientation to the Salvation Army as a whole, led by Jason Pope. Jason works for the northeastern headquarters of the Salvation Army, specifically overseeing youth and missions operations within the area. He and his wife, Kelly, were actually our hosts in Atlanta last year, so seeing them again has been awesome. Jason explained to us that the whole purpose of the Salvation Army is to show the person of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible. Getting a big picture of the denomination itself really helped put into perspective everything we’re involved in this week.
The rest of the morning and early afternoon was spent doing various projects throughout the Salvation Army Harlem Corps., where we are staying for the week. As you can see from the picture above (which only shows part of the building), the facility is huge and hosts a wide variety of programs throughout the week including; soup kitchens, social work services, an after school program for tons of kids, youth outreach nights, and tons of other ministries we aren’t even aware of yet. In order to help them with these ministries, we did a lot of deep cleaning and organizing around the church. Below, you can see Adam helping the church administrator with business.
My group’s main focus was on reorganizing the church library. While I’m awful with numbers, I would guess that there are several thousand books within the library, many of which are outdated or unnecessary to keep in the church anymore. Also, since nobody has really organized it in several years, most of the books were just thrown onto whichever shelf they fit into. I actually found a children’s book sandwiched between an almanac and a Bible commentary. There was literally no method to the madness. But hopefully, by the end of the week, we’ll have organized the books and cleaned house a little bit. Here’s a couple of pics of my team doing their thing:
While my team was working on the library, several others were working throughout the church. Some groups were organizing storage closets while others had the opportunity to serve within the after school program at the church. Unfortunately, due to legal issues, I can’t post any pictures of the kids. But know this: they’re a pretty awesome group!
After dinner, we were able to spend some time in worship together as a team with a few staff members from the Salvation Army. Two volunteers from the Corp. led us in music, and I was given the opportunity to preach out of 1 John 1:5-2:1. God led me to preach about the dangers of having darkness in our lives, and that God’s desire is that we would walk in the light with Him. At the end of the message, I allowed some time for confession, and encouraged our team to take whatever darkness was in them and confess it to God. Later on in the night, during small groups, I know a lot of people shared what they had confessed about. While I don’t know the details of everybody’s story, I know that God is moving in some amazing ways through the crew. I can’t wait to see what He’s got in store for us the rest of the week.
Later on in the night, we went on a prayer walk around Harlem, stopping at various places to pray specifically for the people in the city. Even at the beginning of the week, it was so great to be in prayer for those God has called us to serve this week. I would challenge you to pray for the residents in Harlem as well.
As I was walking around Harlem this afternoon, I saw this sign posed on the sidewalk:
If there’s nothing else to take away from Monday, it’s that God is good. All the time.
Through the work projects, the organizing of storage closets, the sweep of floors, the preaching, the prayer walks, and everything else we’ve done, God has been so good. We really are blessed to be on this trip!
Lastly, I want to thank you all for your prayers. It means a lot to know there’s people outside this trip who are praying for our team as a whole. That being said, please feel free to add your comments down below. Any comment made on these posts will be read out loud to the whole group, so please keep sending your encouragements this way!