Hello from Medford! (pronounced "MEE-FAH" by locals)
SummerLink Boston is winding down quickly and with mixed emotions, as we reflect on how the Lord has worked in the past six weeks while also looking ahead to what's next. No doubt the last month and a half has prepared us for the next chapter we will embark upon: school for some, jobs for others, and GenerationLink for the rest! Our diligent team leaders, Joel and Jen Smith, are preparing to head north to Toronto this Wednesday with Abbey, Jonathan and other RHCmembers. They will be serving Trinity Life Church, a church plant that's one year old this September! Lauren, Amanda, and I all head home the same morning, while Griffin and Chloe stay until Thursday.
Now, for a quick recap on the meaningful parts of this last week- SERVE MEDFORD WEEK!
We've been gearing up all summer for Redemption Hill's biggest event of the year, Community Fun Night, right in Medford! This night was only made possible with the help of the 130ish volunteers from 8 different churches around the country, but more about this night in a minute. First, a huge thank you to these people for their efforts the entire week. Our team got to welcome these committed volunteers at the airport and offer an introduction to Boston's public transportation system via the T (train) and the bus. By 10:30 Saturday night, all teams had safely arrived to the Hyatt in Medford. The next morning, RHC got a peek into the future with 130 additional attendees that Sunday for church, lunch and training, (foreshadowing of the growing numbers that are to come)! Thank you to Griffin for picking up the 37 pizzas for all of us! Pastors Jon and Tanner provided helpful insight about being on mission in Boston, and the teams took a group picture at Tufts University library with the city skyline in the background.
Monday, the rains came and so did the floods here in the Hyatt, with water nearly covering parts of the first floor. Thankfully, the staff reacted quickly and the sun came out, so all teams reported to their designated places to serve Medford. Service included putting on kids' camps for two government housing complexes, park clean-up, cleaning the Boys and Girls Club (aka: RHC on Sundays), cleaning/painting in Medford high school, activities for older adults in government housing, and directly serving businesses in Medford Square. This continued Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Some fabulous stories from these service opportunities were shared Thursday night at Hope Fellowship Church where the Broken Lantern Project band from Florence, SC, led a worship night. Before team members shared stories from the week, Pastor Tanner reminded us of Psalm 111:2 "Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them." Here are a few examples of how the Lord worked this week:
- Pastor Jon Chasteen received a few calls from people who were handed invite cards & gum/granola bars at T-stops and wanted to know more about RHC. Jon was able to share the Gospel over the phone
- Two team members had a Gospel conversation with a woman suffering from terminal cancer while doing door hangers for Community Fun Night. This lady believes she has to do good works to be saved, and she was open to hearing about salvation by grace.
- A lady driving by a park saw our volunteers doing park clean-up and gave RHC a friendly shout out via Twitter.
- Our service team from KY shared the Christian movie "Facing the Giants" to the older residents in government housing, and the residents loved the film, applauding at the end!
- Two volunteers from Clemson SummerLink reached out to a non-practicing Muslim family from Bangladesh who welcomed them into their home. The volunteers shared about the Bible from creation to Revelation, and the family was receptive!
- Two volunteers prayed with a man who accepted the Lord right there with them on the street!
- Tara from Team Tulsa shared her excitement over getting to work the T-stops and reminded us that if just one person out of the 14,000 who are handed invited cards comes to know Jesus, then it is worth it!
To wrap up, I'll share about Community Fun Night that was Friday, August 1st from 5-8 PM. We had a huge field to work with at Playstead Park, and Abbey brilliantly suggested we keep the different stations (registration, food, popcorn, snow cones, games, bouncy castles, resources table, story tent, balloon animals, face painting) close together so as to foster a greater sense of community. This worked beautifully, and despite our efforts to pray the gathering gray clouds away, raindrops made an appearance about half-way through. But don't despair- the weather proved to create even greater community under the trees, tents and especially under the story tent where Bible stories were being told! One non-believing family stayed for 45 minutes soaking in stories from God's Word. Our fearless event planner, Abbey, could be found in the middle of the field, rain hitting her smiling face and laughing with the kids who barely noticed they were wet. Lots of people hung tight with us and returned to the games and food once the shower subsided. I'm confident the joy of the Lord was present in our volunteers, and this undoubtedly shone through to the families. We are SO thankful for the many opportunities RHC members and volunteers had for meaningful and Gospel-centered conversations. Many of the interactions will be continued with follow-up coffee or lunch dates, visits to church, and prayer.
I am beyond encouraged and grateful to have been a part of Redemption Hill Church this summer. It's been a truly delightful week and a gift to serve alongside the volunteers that partnered with us in sharing about the One who makes all of this possible! I encourage people to come to Serve Medford next summer and see for yourself how the Lord is doing GREAT things here in Boston! And for Medford... WATCH OUT! God has stirred the hearts of more people than you know to serve you and show you a love that doesn't run out!
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
~Ephesians 3:20, 21
By: Brooke Simecka