Carnival Conversations

David Rice has a heart for inner-city missions, and loves exposing people to the work God is doing in the city. He and his wife Del-Rae serve regularly at Water Street Ministries in Lancaster as well as Urban Hope in Philadelphia, and would love to include you! Serving opportunities at Urban Hope include participating in Kingdom Kids on Sunday afternoons and facility repairs during the week. For more information about David’s duties or to get involved, contact him here!

Below is a letter David wrote about the most recent trip to Urban Hope with Grace Church. If you missed it, there was another post about this trip last week!

David and Del-Rae Rice
David and Del-Rae Rice

I recently had the privilege to attend a Lititz Grace Church Salt & Light trip to help at Urban Hope in Philadelphia on Saturday April 27, 2014.

This serving opportunity was purposed to join with Urban Hope and help with their Spring Block Carnival held right on Tioga Street in front of the Church.

The day began at 7:00am, driving to Philadelphia loaded with a nostalgic Pop Corn popper, the kind I grew up seeing in the movie houses along with popcorn, bags, oil and the special seasoning that makes it movie-theater delicious.

This antique popper was graciously loaned by Craig and Sherrie Peters and produced popcorn that was worth bragging about. Almost 1,000 bags of popcorn were handed out during four hours.

Del-Rae made some new friends in Philly while making and handing out popcorn. Some of the people were connected with the Urban Hope Church but there were also a few drug dealers a block away, busy managing their street corner businesses.

Who would have known that handing out fresh bags of popcorn to corner drug dealers would be an effective outreach to start up conversations about God and then having prayer with them?

The staff at Urban Hope did an amazing job preparing and planning for the Block Carnival. Every detail of the organization, from volunteers to orientation, set up, activities, sharing the love of Jesus and tear down was coordinated very effectively.

The beautiful people who live in the neighborhoods near Urban Hope are a people much like you and me; they make look and speak a little differently, but they are kind, caring and generous people.

Social networking without all the electronics is alive and well, which makes it so refreshing to be around the people at Urban Hope. We are reminded anew that people and relationships do matter and this is how people come to know the love of Jesus – initially through kindness and acts of love.

I was assigned a job that I love to do, namely, welcoming, mingling and interacting with folks attending the Block Carnival, telling them about Urban Hope, and sharing Jesus with them if the conversation leads.

I was glad to share with a few folks who knew nothing about Urban Hope but came to the Block Carnival after reading an advertisement and wanting to check it out. Talking eventually opened up a time to pray with them.

It was neat to see the folks from Lititz Grace Church spending their day helping with the Block Carnival by setting up, cleaning up and helping with so many other responsibilities.

The Lord blessed the day with perfect weather to be outside. The children, teens, and adults appeared totally excited with all the fun bouncy toys, cotton candy, drinks, face painting, dunk tank, balloon creations and entertainment by the Urban Hope drama team and Liberty University Students who performed on a stage set up at the end of the block.

God is very active within the neighborhoods surrounding Urban Hope, lives are being changed by Jesus Christ because of the direct personal contact of many people who are willing to step outside their comfort zones and spend a day giving, caring and sharing.

I am glad to be part of a Church and Fellowship of Churches that encourage and provide opportunities for people to lead people to Christ and coach them to live for Him with purpose and abandon.

Lititz Grace Church is living on mission!

-David S. Rice