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A Shining Light in River Rouge

Our focus for 2016 at Noblesville Baptist Church is “Walking As Light” and I can think of no greater example than Grace Baptist Church and the work they are doing in River Rouge. Matthew 5:14 says:

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Grace Baptist Church is not literally set on a hill for all to see, but its impact in the River Rouge community cannot be hidden, as it is a bright and shining light in this economically-depressed area. Wednesday was the first Cola War for the week, and it took place in a park located across the street from the church. After canvassing on Tuesday, trying to invite local youth to the event, we again canvassed the area today. This time our youth and the Spread The Word team went door-to-door (in both rain and shine), inviting households to the free cook-out that will take place Friday.

The invitation was well received, and we hope for a strong turnout Friday. If today’s Cola Wars is any indication, it should be. Many youth from River Rouge turned out Wednesday in the first of two nights of Cola Wars. The Spread The Word crew said that it was one of the strongest first nights they had experienced in their six weeks of work throughout different suburbs of Detroit. While the event was taking place, a group of six men returned to door-to-door canvassing, covering some areas of River Rouge that were not completed earlier in the day.

Nine Square was one of the most popular games each night.

Cola Wars began at 6 p.m., and our teens had a chance to interact with many of the guests, competing alongside them during each activity. There were plenty of games and the Word was presented before finishing with ice cream sandwiches. Even after the event completed, several kids stuck around to continue playing until we had to break everything down and pack up for the night. Afterwards, our team moved to Grace Baptist Church for a time of testimonies and prayer. As the clock approached 9 p.m. we departed for Inter-City Baptist.

Once back at our home base, we grabbed a quick snack and game time commenced. Even after a long day of traveling, games and pounding the pavement, this group was happy to partake in another round of activities. The limitless energy of youth...

Earlier in the day our Teen Life Missions team took part in two workshops before heading into River Rouge. The first was conducted by Aaron Coffey, and he challenged us to live worthy of the Gospel by standing firm. It was a great reminder, and fits well with our challenge at NBC to walk as light. The second workshop was led by Inter-City senior pastor David Doran. We spent time in Ephesians 2-4 in a session entitled “God’s Purpose for Your Life”.

The team in front of Central Train Station, a symbol of the hard times Detroit has faced. This iconic building is under renovation after years of sitting vacant.

The other big event of the day was a tour of Detroit. Aaron Coffey showed us areas of downtown where millions of dollars are being spent on infrastructure and revitalization. But for as many good things that are happening there, you can drive less than 15 minutes from downtown to find neighborhoods abandoned or in steep decline. Lots sit vacant where homes once stood, while other areas are dotted with row after row of abandoned houses. Former luxury homes sit in disrepair. It’s a grim reminder of Detroit’s great history as well as its current struggles.

Thursday we will spend time at Grace Baptist Church taking on some work projects. Pray that our team can accomplish much at the church in the time we have. Also pray that our teens will continue to be bold for Christ as they serve here in Detroit. Pray that as our long days continue we will be refreshed and re-energized daily, seeking to help Grace Baptist become a brighter beacon of light in River Rouge.

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