Hello everyone! The team here at Urban Hope is so grateful and excited to be able to share with you all what God is doing. Just a little intro, the team consists of Amy Lucas, Holly Murillo, Abby Gnewuch, Abby Ayulo, Sam Johnson, Joe Hamann, and Jonathan Reissmueller, and we are attending a weeklong mission conference in Philadelphia called Streetwise. Urban Hope is a powerful ministry located in north Philadelphia, in a neighborhood called Kensington, intentionally placed to reach out to the needs in the very community that it is surrounded by. The purpose of this conference is really to get us out there with some practical training in how to better reach people with the hope of Jesus. Each team member will share a little bit of what happens on each day as a personal perspective on what God is doing in their life and in the city. We can’t wait to share all that we are learning with our friends, family and church! Here’s a little post about Day 1 of the conference, July 5th, by Holly Murillo.
It’s another beautifully sticky day at Urban Hope. After our morning session we were able to travel by the city train to an area called the City Center. This had a lot of the hustle and bustle and shops similar to LA. We broke into little groups of two or three, mixed with the Operation Barnabas team and set out to find lunch and people to talk with. Reading Terminal was my group’s destination. It can be best described as an old train station turned into an indoor hipster-feeling marketplace. As we got our food (Mac and cheese in a grilled cheese hehe) we searched for a place to sit in the crowded area. We (myself, Abby G, and Sam) ended up snagging a spot next to a young Italian man and made good conversation over lunch. I had the blessing of being able to share my testimony with him since we had similar life experiences. It was so joyful to be able to share Christ’s work in me with this man. My group later grabbed a dozen famous Beiler’s donuts and walked through Chinatown speaking with people and passing these out.
In the evening, all of us with Streetwise piled into busses and drove out to a neighborhood in the Kensington area that is considered the place of the highest amount of drug activity in all of Philly. This is no doubt a dangerous neighborhood where drugs and deaths are a norm. We went out in small groups again armed with the strength of God and boxes of pizza to talk with the people. As we spoke with people, their common reaction was shock that we would be coming to such a place as this. This opened a great door to share our hope and trust in Christ. This night revealed to us not only the brokenness of this particular neighborhood but also the brokenness that we all share as humans. This was such a humbling and necessary realization that had to be made if we were going to accurately share Christ. As we were in the bus and driving back to Urban Hope I took a while to sit and watch the streets, people, and homes that were flying by. My heart was breaking for the people who have no hope and still rejoicing over the victories in Jesus Christ.
Thank you for all your prayers!