Great day here in Baltimore! We started out this morning with a 7am small group hike down to Starbucks. I could tell these folks were serious about Starbucks, because the rest of the group didn’t have to be in the lobby until 8:30am. They are seriously dedicated to their caffeine. I was just trying to be kind and take them…to satisfy my own caffeine addiction! Seriously though…it is the walking and talking with small groups that have made our trip so much fun.
We left the hotel on a bus that a local church was kind enough to offer us for the day and headed down to Ft. McHenry for a tour. If you don’t know about Ft. McHenry, you can read all about it here. It was a little cold at the fort since it was breezy and sprinkling rain. At one point, it was sleeting a little bit. However, once again…no complaints from our crew. They enjoyed touring the fort and hearing all of the stories of the battles fought there. The movie about the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner was pretty good. We finished up our tour with a lesson from the park ranger about The Battle of Baltimore.
From Ft. McHenry, we got back on the bus and headed to the Freedom Academy of Science and Technology (FAST) to eat lunch and get to work. The Gallery Church is starting a second campus at FAST beginning Easter Sunday. When we got on the bus, Jake Dupree asked me if we were going back to The Gallery Church to eat lunch. I told him that we were actually going to FAST instead. He looked mortified. Then, Dr. Hedges helped us realize that Jake thought I was telling him we were fasting…not eating. I assured him that I would never consider that. Food is very important to our whole crew!
After lunch, Dr. Hedges led us in a devotion based on the story of the Feeding of the Five Thousand. She talked about the fact that God has gifted us in certain ways to do the specific things that He has called us to. Even though we don’t realize it, God is working through us in Baltimore and through the other Spring Term teams as well. God is calling us to be obedient to serve Him by serving others in His name.
We had some interesting projects for the afternoon. We had to clear out a big room to get it ready for the worship space for The Gallery Church. That included scraping old tape off the floor. Then, we broke back up into our walking around groups from yesterday to tackle four other jobs. Two jobs focused on getting paint and dirt off the floor to get areas cleaned in the lobby and one of the classrooms that will be used for a children’s ministry spot. The third job consisted of clearing out a classroom, cleaning the floor, and putting some special mats together for another children’s ministry room. The last room was my crew. Our job was to clear out and organize a storage room. All four teams had a blast and in the end all worked together to get the jobs done. Robert from The Gallery Church came back to check on us and could not believe how much work we had gotten done! If you talk to the Baltimore team, be sure to ask them about: singing while cleaning the floors, Abbey and Lerzo and the mixup, backing the floor cleaner up all the way through the building and then doing doughnuts on it, scraping paint, breakdancing with Monel, and Kelsey moving the books again!
After all of our work, we came back to the hotel to take an hour break before heading out for dinner. We walked back down to the Inner Harbor for a couple hours of eating, shopping, and hanging out. Taylor and Jessie even had the privilege of giving a meal and a blanket to a homeless man. They saw him when they were with their friends and decided God was calling them to help. They were so excited to know that they had demonstrated the love of Christ to this man.
Many of our students had opportunities to hand out invite cards to The Gallery Church’s Good Friday and Easter services as we walked around tonight. Tomorrow morning is our late morning. We are meeting for devotions and heading out to be at Camden Yards by 10am for our tour in the morning. Please pray for a pretty day! After the tour, we have a fair amount of walking to do in order to get back to FAST to do our work and prepare for a block party we are helping host for the neighborhood. Only a day and a half left to go here in the city and our team is ready for the opportunities God still has for us here!
TOGETHER…Cultivating Hearts. Challenging Minds. Impacting Culture.