We attribute the success of our kids’ back-to-school carnival to the Holy Spirit and the prayers of many who partnered with us in the weeks leading up to the event. Every Sunday for three months, members and friends of GCI Glendora were encouraged to pray for enough volunteers and for God’s will for the carnival.
A week before the event, our Love Avenue champion took the initiative of emailing and mailing out a specific prayer list of what to pray for before, during, and after the carnival. We prayed not just for ourselves and the volunteers, but also for the Holy Spirit to prepare the hearts of the neighbors who would come. Some members performed a “prayer walk” in the surrounding neighborhoods, while going door-to-door to pass out fliers announcing the carnival.
We are compelled by the love of God to serve our neighborhood – that’s our central reason behind neighborhood engagement. Specifically, we held this initial event because we desired to:
• get to know our neighborhood and have some fun with them,
• allow the neighborhood to get to know us and know that we exist,
• bring about a change of mindset from inward to outward,
• provide training for volunteers to be more effective at future activities, and
• create an opportunity to celebrate obedience to God’s call to reach out and serve, regardless of the outcome.
We would have been content if only two kids had attended – but we were amazed and grateful that approximately 200 people showed up! All our neighborhood engagement and carnival preparation has been an act of faith in our God who provides so much more than we expect or imagine.
Through this new Love Avenue experience, we are learning the slow and consistent process of getting to know our neighborhood and how we can best serve with the gifts we already have. It’s as if God is saying to us, “Trust Me. Watch and see what I will do through your obedience to me.”