Dear Old First,
A few weeks ago, I invited you to volunteer alongside members of our most recent service camp, Exhale. I’m happy to say that two members of our community, Tim and Clark, accepted the invitation and volunteered with them at Broad Street Ministry.
Below are Clark’s insights from his time with Exhale at Broad Street Ministry. Graciously he wrote about his experience to share with you.
But before reading it, I would like you to keep this in mind….It’s an irony that we send others off in service, but fail to serve ourselves. And in turn, not have rewarding and exciting experiences to share with others. Experiences that so many of our service campers have to share amongst themselves, friends and family back home.
I know we live busy lives that are quite often filled with meetings and commitments. But from my short time here, what I can genuinely say is that Old First stands out. It is a church that is filled with compassion and the passion to serve. Outreach is truly a big part of the church. As such, I hope that in the midst of our busy lives, we continue to do our part by serving others who need it most.
-Alesha, Outreach Coordinator
Volunteering With Our Urban Service Campers
I was blessed in so many ways working with our service campers at Broad St. Ministry. The staff gave us an excellent orientation, including their reasons for how and what we would be doing- providing dinner and clothing for their guests.
They also explained that each of the 300 individual guests have at least one significant trauma they are dealing with, including homelessness, housing insecurity, domestic abuse, drug and/or alcohol addiction, mental illness, and some have a combination of these and more.
The service campers were from a rural area where they see endless amounts of corn, but no people who have these intense needs. They were genuinely thrilled to part of this ministry and their joy was contagious. The guests, the staff, and the two of us from Old First were all blessed by their excitement.
We worked together to set up the tables for the dinner: tablecloths, place settings, center piece, and pitchers of water. One Old First member worked with the service campers to serve dinner to the guests. There were personal exchanges between the guests and service campers, with smiles all around. Staff were strategically positioned to assist if necessary. They provided a context of support and safety that allowed the servers to be themselves and let the love of God flow through them to the guests and back.
I went with some of the service campers to the clothing cupboard where we were each assigned a guest as they came in. We helped them personally to find what they needed. This created a connection that was one blessing after another.
If you ever have the opportunity to serve with our future urban service campers, don’t miss it! You will be richly blessed.