As I stepped off the van at 1419 Clinton Street in Nashville, Tennessee, the first thought that came to my mind was, “Oh my God, look at all the young people!" My heart began to pound with excitement. There were many smiles and lots of laughter as people lined up to register outside of the building called The Foundry. Eagerly, we gathered our information packages and moved inside the building to collect our t-shirts.
There was laughter in the air as people, began to greet one another, just happy to meet new faces. Instantly, I made new friends. Suddenly, there was a peace and calmness in the room, as the atmosphere was so serene. People began to prepare their hearts and minds for worship. The music and singing began to fill the room, as hands began to wave in the air. Chills went down my spine as people were shouting the lyrics to the song “Tell the world that.”
After worship, each youth group was paired with another youth group to form a team with a team leader. Every team was given a different assignment to complete. There were people painting, cutting grass, hauling trash from vacant lots, cutting trees and cleaning the park. My group's assignment was to pick all the trash we could find on the streets. As we were picking trash from the streets and lawns, people were honking their horns and raising their windows to tell us thank you. It was overwhelming to know that something so little as picking up trash made a big difference in someone’s life.
Before we knew it, it was time for lunch. There was plenty of food and much to choose.
After lunch, we were introduce to three former gang members, two males and a female. They began to educate us about the community, as well as the do’s and don’ts of evangelizing in the projects. Suddenly, I was overtaken by fear, because it was my first time evangelizing in the projects. After knocking on a door or two, inviting people to the big block party, I felt a sigh of relief. There were young and old people, male and female, and their faces lit up like the morning sun bursting through the clouds.
I looked at my watch and it was time, time for the big block party. I was amazed at how many people we had invited who actually showed up for the big event! There was gospel music playing, a clothing give-away, professional bike riders performing stunts, and children running and playing, as the smoke of the barbecue filled the air. Truly, I can say I was thrilled to be apart of a crowd that was making a change. It was an adventure I will never forget.
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