Last week I headed down to Baltimore with the youth group I volunteer with. We went down to work with Charm City Church. They purposely planted their church in the worst neighborhood in Baltimore. While we were there we spent a lot of time working with the children, as well as the homeless. We arrived on Thursday and started working right away. There's an old abandoned outdoor mall where we set up a block party for the children in the neighborhood. There was TobyMacmusic blasting and soccer games, football games, face painting, and food. The kids loved it. Friday was spent cleaning various places and setting up for a movie night, after we went on a "murder walk". We walked around the neighborhood and stopped at various murder sites, heard the story, and spent some time praying for the families and community. Almost all of the spots were within a block of the church, one of which was on the front step of the church. Saturday was a really busy day. We brought down a whole truck full of donated clothes, bibles, sheets, towels, and toys. So on Saturday we set up a "free store" with all of the stuff we brought down. People kept coming all afternoon for things. It was wonderful. During the free store, I set up a mini version of Help-Portrait. I found a little spot under a tent and put a chair there and then set up my computer and printer. People came in and got their pictures taken and I printed it out for them right there. Everyone loved it. Most of them got so excited and said they were getting a frame for the picture, and some of them even left and came back with more people to get their pictures taken. It was really awesome! I love seeing people feeling beautiful and appreciated. I'm not going to post any of those pictures though because part of Help-Portrait is that the pictures are just for the people that you take the pictures of and not for any kind of personal use. So if you happen to know me in person and want to see the pictures, then I'll show them to you.
Saturday evening was spent walking around the Inner Harbor. But we weren't walking around to shop. We carried signs that said "Free Hugs" and just hugged people and told them that Jesus loves them. It was AWESOME! People were so receptive to it and were even lining up at certain spots just to get a hug. I've never experienced anything like that before. Sunday morning we did two church services. The first one was back in the same abandoned mall that we went to previously. Most of the people attending the church were homeless. It was something that's kind of hard to describe. We did some music, but most of the time was spent praying. I was amazed at how everyone prayed. It was like listening to modern day Psalms. Most of these people have never been to church in their life, but they knew how to talk and cry to God. It was inspiring. After that service we did one back at the main building of Charm City Church. To be completely honest, I don't remember most of it because I was exhausted and pretty much fell asleep a few times. It was a great weekend, challenging, but awesome. Several of the kids that were on the trip with us have ADHD and well they forgot to take their medicine. That pretty much sums it up right there. But I love these kids. I will certainly be back there next year.
Enjoy the pictures!