Today was our first full day of outreach ministry here in Baltimore, and it was packed. We started the day at 0630 for breakfast and Ted shared a short devotional on John 20:21 - "Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.'" A great reminder that it is God (and not our own glory) who is sending us to evangelize to the residents of Baltimore.
After we finished breakfast, we drove to the park and arrived at 0800 to begin cleaning up for the camp. As a result of the drug and alcohol activities in the park, we did find some needles, razor blades, and lots of broken glass. However, the residents were all very appreciative of our efforts and respectful of our presence in the park. In fact, the local government had heard about the camp and they got the police to do extra patrols in the area while we were using the space. By God's grace, we did not run into any issues during the camp. We had two campers from the neighborhood, but Pastor George and Pastor Matt say that it is quite common for the first day to be slower. There also happens to be a district-run summer camp happening in the elementary school next to the park, so they got a lot of our potential campers. Please continue to pray for the kids who will be attending this camp and their receptiveness to the Gospel.
After the camp, we had lunch and then headed to the Inner Harbor district to evangelize and open-air preach. Thankfully, we weren't asked to help with open-air preaching, but the area still proved to be a difficult place for evangelism because of the fast-paced metropolitan/tourist vibe there. It reminded me and Eli a lot of Jack London Square in Oakland, CA. While we were there, there was a thunderstorm that forced us to close up at Inner Harbor for the day. The rain was nice for the heat, but it just made the air MORE HUMID. We then moved to a subway station in the Mondawin district of Baltimore and did more open-air preaching and evangelism. Eli and I were stationed at free water stations, which we found a lot easier than randomly approaching people. By the end of the day, we met at one of their church members' houses to have dinner together and share testimonies of our experiences today. Overall, there were some good conversations and many people were challenged in what they heard from us. However, the vast majority of people either rejected the message or would not let go of their pride to follow Christ. I know that a few of us did have opportunities to get people's information to follow up, so we found much encouragement in that. At the end of the day, we know that we need to pray for God's glory to be made known and for the hearts of the residents to be softened by God.