During the first weekend of April we had the privilege of spending time and serving with some of the youth from Shades Mountain Baptist Church. Each year, Shades plans different spring break trips for their students to be a part of that are missions focused. Urban Purpose has been one of these opportunities for around five years now and we have enjoyed leading these young men and women in serving those in need.
The students were able to love and serve this community of people in many different ways this weekend. We served a meal at Brother Bryan Mission- a recovery program we partner with and trust- and spent time with some of the men in the program. We served two separate meals in downtown Birmingham to many homeless people in the area. They were eager and willing to sit and talk with these men and women to learn more about them. They were also able to serve the poor by doing their laundry at University Laundromat on Saturday morning. This was a new avenue of service for Urban Purpose, and we were thankful to have so many people there to help with this outreach!
A big part of our spring break trip is having the students understand more about what the men and women we work with go through on a daily basis. To do this, we invited one of the amazing counselors we partner with to talk about mental illness and how this affects their lives. We were also able to hear from one of the men that lead our Safe House by helping guys stay clean and sober as they reach towards recovery.
All of these experiences gave these high school students and their parents a great deal of insight into the daily workings of Urban Purpose. We are thankful for their involvement and desire to reach out to the poor and needy in Birmingham. Our prayer is that what they heard and saw will lead to more than just a weekend trip, but that it will lead to a lifestyle of loving the poor.
Over the last week of February we were invited to spend time with the church body of Shades Mountain Baptist Church during their Global Impact Celebration. Each year around this time, Shades brings in the different missionaries from all around the world that they support and partner with for a time of encouragement, care, and fellowship. There were missionaries from India, the Middle East, New York City Africa, Eastern Europe, Miami, and Birmingham, Alabama.
Throughout this conference, there are multiple services that encourage church members to get involved in missions anywhere and any way you can. One of the most impactful nights is called “Stories and Songs.” On this night, each missionary is given 60 seconds to share a quick glimpse of what the Lord is doing in their part of the world.
Check out our video below of Urban Purpose’s 60-second story on what the Lord is doing through our ministry.
Urban Purpose has been blessed to work alongside the staff and members of Shades Mountain Baptist Church as we go out to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth. While our ends of the earth look extremely different than some, we know that God has created these people in His image and they are crying out for love and affection from someone. We, as believers, are called to be those people.
Last week, we were given the privilege to attend the annual Global Impact Celebration at Shades Mountain Baptist Church. This is a global missions conference that the church hosts for missionaries from all over the world which they have partnered with throughout the years. We were surrounded by people who live in Vienna, Austria, the Middle East, Thailand, Oakland, CA, Vermont, New Jersey and more. During this week long celebration, we had the opportunity to hear about and share how the Lord is working through His people all over the world.
During one of our favorite nights, each missionary gets a 60 second spotlight (or maybe a little more) to share just one example of how God is working among them. For our 60 seconds, we asked one of the men we have been walking with for over a year now to help us out. As you’ll notice, Mark and Wilkes have almost identical backgrounds. They grew up in the same hometown, went to a very similar church and both had loving families. The difference between the two men is how Jesus chose to bring them to himself.
; from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user8534567″>Urban
Purpose</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>
Last week was full of encouraging testimonies and encouraging supporters, eager to spur on those who have been led to give their lives for His work. It was such a helpful reminder to know that we are not alone on our journey to reach the lost and help the broken, and that there are many others who are willing and ready to partner with us. We are incredibly thankful for the body of believers at Shades Mountain Baptist Church and for the loyal patronage they have given not only to Urban Purpose, but to missionaries all over the globe for many years now.
Starting tonight we have the opportunity to help lead 30 students from Shades Mountain Baptist Church on a mission project here in Birmingham. These students have chosen to spend Friday-Tuesday of their spring break investing in the lives of the poor and broken in our city for the sake of the gospel. They’ll spend time showing and sharing Christ’s love with men, women, and children all over Birmingham.
Many of these students serve with us on a consistent basis. At a young age they’re developing a passion for taking the gospel to the poor and marginalized. For some of these students, much of what goes on this week will be a new experience. It’s exciting to get to be a part of such a formative time for these young people.
Here’s a quick list of how you can be in prayer for us over the next few days:
– pray that the students’ come to realize how desperate our city is for Christ
– pray they have the boldness to do what God calls them to do and say
– pray that a deep passion for caring for the poor and broken is developed
– pray that we would model Jesus throughout the entire trip
– pray for the relationships that are formed with those we serve
– pray that hearts are receptive to the gospel
Thanks so much for your support and prayers. We look forward to telling you all about what God did throughout the trip!