May 1 - 5, 2013
Fourteen men recently 'camped out' in at the Eagles Nest facilities in downtown Atlanta. Led by Jimmy McGowan & Ian Lundberg and serving with Pastor Larry Arnold and Elder Harold Smith, this was the 10th annual trip to this location to spread the Love of Jesus Christ.
This annual mission trip has progressed over the years from heavy construction in the earlier years, to more relationship building and expanding the reach of the Gospel.
Serving the Thursday and Friday morning breakfasts to the homeless and working poor is always a highlight. Pastor Arnold or Elder Harold Smith, deliver a short sermon and then its breakfast time for two shifts of approximately 120 people.
This year, for the first time, we went to Hall County Correctional Institute to serve a BBQ dinner to 240 male felons.
To be honest, I was expecting a little hostility or perhaps some sarcasm from the inmates due to the potentially dark circumstances of their lives and environment. What we experienced was the Holy Spirit lighting the entire place!
The Warden and his staff are clearly trying to help the men get their lives back together which includes Christian influences. Ron Kissling's superb Claudes off the Bayou BBQ and enough desserts to feed hundreds from the Ladies of First Baptist Gainesville made it easy to share stories with the inmates.
Friday, we divide into teams for various projects and prayer walks. Some went to the Georgia Baptist Children's home in Palmetto, GA, to do some minor repairs to the girls dorms. Friday evening is the trip to Grady Hospitals Crestview Nursing home. This has been Pastor Arnold's ministry for many years... providing some of the Love of Christ to people 'with no one and nothing'.
Saturday morning was breakfast with the 'Man up' program for men who are trying to get off the streets and lead Christian lives.
As we were loading the Johnson Ferry van to return to GA Baptist Children's home, Pastor Arnold's, wife Genece, suggested a homeless woman, Jennifer, go along with us. As a fairly recent born again believer she said she was uncomfortable going with us 'longer term' and 'more trained' Christians. We talked about the Prodigal son story and our stories on the trip. Once there we set up jump house, some indoor sports, and prepared to serve the cook out food to predominately young teen age women - all from very challenged back grounds. Again, the Holy Spirit moved and Jennifer asked if she could share her story. Within minutes several of the young girls were completely focused and the tears were flowing as Jennifer shared her story. Pastor Arnold joined in to offer additional support. Again, the Love of Christ shown through.
We stayed for the Sunday service at Eagles Nest and enjoyed the sermon on The Church and being involved, followed by some more great BBQ for lunch :)
To Christ be the glory.