I can hardly believe that our back2school outreach event is over. Looking back and listening in, there are some amazing things that happened, and I want to spend just a few minutes unpacking some blessing for you.
- 938 students came through the door on Saturday along with a parent or family members. Some of them brought mom and dad or grandma and grandpa. That means that around 2,000 people visited us for this great event.
- Over 400 haircuts were given by some non-stop, over-the-top hair cutting machine like people. Every time I passed by this area there were smiles on every face as the scissors and shears were buzzing.
- We had an incredible 230 plus volunteers who joined in. That is more people than attend The Community Fellowship. Some drove many hours to be here to help. Friends from at least 12 different local churches pitched in to help. Several area pastors were here. Next year my prayer is that we will join forces with local churches and organizations to serve more students. Pray for this.
- This year's donors gave as little as one dollar or as much as a few thousand. I will miss some, but here are just a few that partnered to help make this event successful: The Community Storehouse, local BB&T bank, Brooks Septic, Martinsville Pediatric Clinic, McCabe Baptist Church, Martinsville Hospital, Oak Hill Cathedral of Glory, btw21, Arovik Signs, Samaritan's Feet, Piedmont Community Services, CrossPoint Church in Bassett, several restaurants in our local area, Pepsi, Adams Grocery, STEP Inc, Law Office of Andrew Hall, and lots of individuals and families. I hate to stop there because there are many, many more.
- backpacks, school supplies, clothes, gatorade ... shoes and socks as each student's feet were washed ... prayers, hugs, encouraging words ...
This event takes lots of people and lots of dollars. Last year's event was also a success, yet we left that event still having to raise a few thousand dollars. This year we are in the black, covered, blessed and thanking God for providing it all. Even with the difficult pieces we have had to deal with, God has come through with answers, resources and giant breakthroughs.
On a tough note, we are having some problems with some shoes. Pray for this, and I am grateful to Samaritans Feet and to some of our volunteers that are taking care of the issues. If you know of someone who is having problems with their shoes, let us know because we are replacing them with great shoes. Call the church at 276-647-8231. Thanks for your help.
The stories that we heard on Saturday were awesome. I love to see some of our local people who bring friends and invest in their lives to help make life a little easier or better. We heard stories about going to school for the first time, of families that are in critical need. There were stories of baseball games and summer fun. There was laughter and even tears. There were connections that will outlast this event. The overflow is enormous.
Walking out of the clothes closet on Saturday was a precious little girl holding her new clothes really tight. She then kicked her foot up in the air to show one of our volunteers her brand new shoes. This little one was smiling from ear to ear with joy and excitement. Come of find out she came to back2school with her six brothers and her dad. Stair steps describes them well from the age of 3 to almost 10. Mom works at a local factory, and dad takes care of the kids along with going to school full time. They were sweet. Dad shared with us that he would not have been able to provide these items for his kids. Their picture I shared at the top. I love it!
The stories don't end there. back2school is not about giving stuff to kids. It is about offering HOPE and sharing Jesus with the people we are honored to meet. We believe that by serving others we win the right to share with them what God has done in our lives. We serve by literally demonstrating the love of God to our community, and this is maybe the most graphic picture when someone washes your feet. Jesus did that for his disciples. It was not many days before He was nailed to the cross. He said and showed that the greatest people in the world, the most successful people in the world, the God followers in the world will serve the people they meet. Washing the feet of these children and sharing with them Jesus' story is the most important part of this event.
Thanks to everyone who came out, to everyone who served, to all who prayed, to those who gave, to everyone who played a part in making this event happen. You are incredible people, and God will bless you for giving.
Sunday morning was the kicker. Our worship service at 10:10am was overflowing but not just with people. The excitement in the air was electric. The testimonies were filled with stories of people who tugged at hearts and have given our people reason to press on. Through God's help the sermon took a little different direction, and God moved as several people unpacked some things that happened to them and how the event will leave them forever changed.
The best part of Sunday morning isn't those things or the stories. The best part falls on Randy and Armando. Randy is in his 30's, I would guess. Armando is in middle school. Randy and Armando asked Jesus into their hearts Sunday morning. That was incredible, life changing and eternal. It is also what all of this is about. God is good ... all the time.
Take a minute to share with us your story from back2school by clicking on THIS LINK and using the comment section.