The saints in New Orleans found a new way to reach out and touch their local community. This is the way church should be. What a blessing.
Enjoy! ~ Flip
Out Reach Event Report
By Dale Sochia
Blessings to all!
As I begin this report filled with incredible testimonies, I pray you take the time to read it all and forgive me if it is long. As you are aware this last Sunday we reached out into the community ofSt. Charleswith an event that has been in the makings for a couple of months. It was compiled of $1,200.00 in FREE gas, 150 BBQ meals, several dozen Krispy Cream doughnuts, Free Car washes and Free groceries (to any needy family) and above all, PRAYER. When folks asked that we keep them in prayer, we would pray with them and for them right on the spot.
We decided over a month ago we would cover this event in prayer and fasting. So we would lift this event up every week. We would fast every Sunday until Monday, thus we knew we were preparing for the Lord to show Himself mighty in the event. Two weeks ago we posted the event in the news paper, followed with a posting this past week too. The day after the paper came out we began to receive phone calls asking, “What’s the catch? Is it really for free? What do people need to do?” Time and time again I received these types of phone calls. Then, a reporter for the St. Charles Herald Guide called. He too asked me the same types of questions. I began to share with him our hearts behind the event. He asked several more questions; I answered each one with spirit and truth. Little did we know this interview would be posted in the paper the Thursday before the event (the article can be read in its entirety on line). The reporter’s name is Kyle Barnett, and he left NOTHING out, it was incredible! http://www.heraldguide.com/details.php?id=11020
As the weekend approached, the entire area was under a flash flood warning and the Sunday of the event was to be the worst of the weather. Upon arriving at church that morning the rain was coming down in a deluge! But I had such a peace with the Lord, besides I knew that God rains on the just and the unjust. We had a few visitors come to the service, and two especially that came because of the outreach. I was informed both women wept throughout the entire Praise and worship service and both were deeply, deeply touched in the reading of the Word. I could see God was moving heavily on the people during the service.
Having a metal building, it is not too hard to hear the rain when it falls, and falling it was! As I was closing the service it was raining very heavily, but I still had the peace of God. When service ended one of the ladies came forward weeping and asked for prayer, which we were honored to do. As we began to head to the doors to set up outside, (wondering how we were going to pull this off with the rain), IT STOPPED! Not only did it stop, but it did not rain over the church for the next five hours!! GLORY! We prayed all week that God would split the clouds around us if that is what it would take, and that is exactly what he did! Truth, Jay Barone, my elder at the church, told me he could look down two city lights and it was pouring. Reports came in all around us that not only was it raining, but it had been raining so hard one church canceled an event because of street flooding, (sorry).
You might think this is just a pastor making it a more tasteful testimony, but I talked with the reporter Kyle, who came also to cover the event. As I talked with him on Monday for a follow up to his article and the event, he told me that when he left from the event around two o’clock, right down the road it was raining so hard he almost had to pull over because he could not see in the driving rain! Friends, I tell you, not only was there no rain during the event at the church, the roads were dried up! Some people were even having their cars washed!
Which brings me to a truly blessed group of young adults, our youth. They held signs, they washed cars, they served food, but above all, they showed awesome Christian conduct to the visitors! Testimony after testimony have been rolling in. Wayne, Jeannette, Eric and Barbra handled the gas giveaway; they took the time to fellowship with the people, to hear the folks, pray with them. They would invite them to the BBQ. Most of the folks in the gas line told them they were deeply moved by our love and generosity. Some said they just moved to the area and have been looking for a church and they would be visiting us, PRAISE GOD!
I had one local pastor of the Baptist Church, (in line for gas), personally pray for me then he told me, “Today, you have turned this community upside down, it will never be the same.” Even as I followed behind the last car in line to make sure none others would be waiting for gas as we ran out of prepaid cards, I shared with them we still had BBQ across the street. Andrew Nadeau was monitoring this and told me 80% of those folks did make the U-turn and headed for the BBQ. So many of these people would ask upon arriving at the BBQ, “What do we have to do to get BBQ?” The response from our folks, “Come, and receive freely!”
Several key people were positioned to greet the people, help them with plating their food, then share with them the gospel of Christ Jesus! I think what deepens my soul, is the fact that most people’s perception of the church today is that it too has become a business, and not even the gospel is free. Too many “Fund Raisers” have clouded the purpose of our being the light in dark places. Jesus said, “Freely you have received, freely give it away.” I did share this with some in line for gas, and another thing is “The church is supposed to be a NONPROFIT organization,” why are we trying to make money? I have had the pleasure of being part of this church for well over a decade, almost two now. And one thing we incorporated in the year 2000 under former Pastor Anthony Marquize is this, “We don’t pass the offering plate, if people want to give they can give under direction of the Holy Spirit.” Since that time we never have and never will pass the offering plate, yet we own our building, our bills get paid, we support several missionaries around the world and here in theU.S. every month. Plus we are still able to do such an incredible thing to change even our little corner of the world!
Well it is not over. We will be having TWO more outreaches this summer! I want to, in closing, thank the wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ for their service, commitment, dedication, financial giving. From manning the pumps, to taking time talking with the people in the line, to the cooking and serving of the BBQ, to those who watch our beautiful children during the event, to those who reached out, shared the gospel and prayed with the people, to those young folks who even held signs, to those who prepared a weeks worth of groceries for the needy families, to all mentioned and even to our guests who came to help out, to any area I might have not mentioned, BLESSINGS TO YOU ALL!!