So, on Friday night, I don’t think I’ve ever been more tired in my life. I got up at 4:30 AM (well, because I couldn’t sleep) and I started my Heritage Valley Spectacular Day. As hard as it was, it was an amazing day. I am so grateful for what God has done. But more on that later. On Friday night, I went to bed and my feet hurt and my knee hurt and various other parts of me hurt. I felt like I had just climbed Mt. Sinai (which I’ve done) and came down the other side.
Sometimes I ask myself if all this effort in terms of reaching the community is worth it. Because events such as the Heritage Valley Spectacular take A LOT of energy; they really do. But, when I see so many families enjoying the event…..dancing, laughing, jumping, enjoying…..I can’t help but believe that something wonderful is going on; that this is an opportunity for families in south west Edmonton to connect and feel like they are part of a community.
Because I’m a serial vision caster, I feel like it’s important to communicate my heart on this. For most of my life, I have been a part of a church that NEVER impacted the community. They existed, but they did nothing in terms of relating to and being a part of the larger community that our church belonged to. They articulated a lot of Biblical reasons WHY we should be a part of the community, but if the truth be told, they did nada.
Now we have the chance to change that equation. Over 4000 people came to this event. We ran a table for our summer programs that reached out to so many people. What an opportunity. Yes…yes…I know that reaching out to the community is hard and challenging and fraught with challenges. But, for a moment, think about the African family that just moved to our community and is wondering if there is a place for them to belong. Think about the Pilipino family that came here to work and send money back to their impoverished relatives in the Philippines and wonders if it’s all worth it. Think about the eastern European family that has come to Canada hoping they could make a better life for themselves and if their children could go to university.
Could we reach them? Could we help them? Could we be salt and light to them? Could we share Jesus with them?
Events like Friday night give me great hope. I’m so thankful for the spirit of The River to offer hospitality to people who need hospitality; to care for people who are new to this country; to bless people who have never known an unsolicited blessing. To love them like Jesus loves them.
As hard as it was, I went to bed on Friday night happy.