Monday, March 29, 2010 3:30pm EDT BALTIMORE TEAM
Our morning started EARLY today! Everyone had to be in the lobby by 6:30 for breakfast and by 6:50 we were walking to our bus stop. We have really enjoyed the free bus here in Baltimore that they have for tourists in the Inner Harbor/Fells Point area. It gets us to most of the places we need to go and even has a cool name…The Charm City Circulator.
We arrived at The Gallery Church of Baltimore at 7:30am for our orientation. There is also a group from Knoxville here this week and we enjoyed meeting them. Derrick, Robert, and Ellis all took turns telling us The Gallery story and helping us understand their plan for evangelism here in the city. For the most part, they talked about intentional relationship building. It fits right along with our “I’m Third” theme…God first, others second, and I’m third.
One of the major problems in Baltimore is HIV/AIDS. For so long this pandemic has been ignored here in the US and the church is finally beginning to reach out to this population. Gallery Church has a relationship with a doctor at the University of Maryland that is one of the premier researchers in the nation on HIV/AIDS. The doctor is glad to see churches reaching out to people to encourage them to get tested. If people who have the virus will get tested, they can get treatment and counseling to help stop the spread of the disease.
Every so often, The Gallery Church of Baltimore partners with other local organizations to host a free HIV/AIDS testing site for people. Our group was responsible for walking around the neighborhood handing out cards encouraging people to be tested. We broke up into 4 groups and had 1 adult with 5 students. I purposely split up students that were rooming together and those that normally hang out together. We were given a map with directions of where to go and where not to go and we headed out with our stacks of cards.
It was a blast seeing our students get excited about talking to strangers. God is developing a real sense of boldness in our team and He is honoring their faithfulness. We handed out all of our cards over a matter of a few hours of walking up and down several streets. Too bad we didn’t bring pedometers, we covered some serious ground this morning! If you are looking for us…we are the skinny ones!
We headed back to the testing site to grab our lunch and dry off from the light rain. Lunch was great and the fellowship was even better. It was interesting to hear the students mentioned how much they enjoyed getting to know some students they don’t always hang out with. After lunch, we handed out a few more cards and then walked the mile and a half back to The Gallery Church to pick up our stuff. Jessie Loya did a great devotion from Romans and 1 Corinthians talking about the roles that everyone fills on the team.
From there we headed back to the hotel for a rest and some dry clothes. We are heading out to Fells Point tonight to do some shopping and eat dinner. I asked each student to pick up 5 Gallery Church cards promoting their Easter services to give out over the course of this week. I know that many of them are hoping to give out some cards tonight.
Tomorrow morning we are headed to Ft. McHenry to tour the historic fort where Francis Scott Key penned The Star Spangled Banner. The rest of the day will be spent at the Baltimore Freedom Academy cleaning and painting for The Gallery Church Easter service this Sunday. They are starting a second service every Sunday at BFA to reach the people that are too far away from their location on Fleet Street.
We are having a blast. Everyone is working hard and has a great attitude. This is an incredible team of students and adults and we are genuinely seeing God at work in our midst.
TOGETHER…Cultivating Hearts. Challenging Minds. Impacting Culture.