Our trip to the LA DreamCenter was just so undeniably a God thing! Starting this post I already know that my words aren’t going to do justice to what I experienced, but I’m giving it a go anyway. I tend to have a bad short term memory, but I want every part of this adventure to linger in my heart. The DreamCenter spirit is sown into my soul now: the genuine heart for people, the excitement for life and serving, the humble, but bold attitudes, an outlook of giving without measure. I tried to soak up all of these aspects as I encountered each part of their outreaches. I learned these qualities more than I learned a program or model of ministry.
In case you don’t know the story, I actually won this trip through Air1 radio and Tyndale House Publishers! I know people say this line all the time, but I’ve really never won anything like this in my life! I entered the radio contest back in February where I had to write what my “cause” was all about. This contest was in alignment with Pastor Matthew Barnett’s new book release- The Cause Within You (amazing book, by the way! I had actually pre-ordered in December last year!) Once I entered, I listened every day to hear the inspirational stories from other people across the nation. Honestly, I thought I. have. no. chance. Not compared to all those other entries! That’s why I’m saying, this trip was definitely God!
Finally, the time for the trip came–July 20-25. On our first morning there, we met with our host, Julie. She totally rocked the trip for us! Anything that we wanted to do beyond what she had planned for us, she made it happen! Definitely felt like part of the family with her. Each day, we were able to take part in everything that the DC did weekly….
Under the Bridge-Skid row– we gave away almost 400 meals to people living on the streets
Thursday night service at Angelus temple– what an amazing place this church is! I mean the atmosphere is electric! I love how the whole congregation (man, woman, youth) are all focused on one thing: serving the people of LA through the DreamCenter! I loved hearing Pastor Matthew’s heart & excitement for Jesus- it was contagious! Michael Franzece gave an encouraging word! He is a great story-teller!
Food truck– helped load several different trucks with groceries to be taken out into different neighborhoods
Project Prevention– my favorite outreach! This ministry helps keep children in their homes whose parents are at risk to losing them through Dept. of Family & Children services. The DreamCenter believes that no child should be taken from loving parents due to extreme poverty. We were able to go out on the Proj Prevention truck and bring necessary items/food to families in the program. So so amazing, and I am believing that we will begin a similar outreach in Augusta!
Jonah Project/Skid Row– handed out items to the homeless on Skid row. This time though it was very hard for me. I was able to actually take in the horrible way in which these street people are living. I walked away feeling very helpless, and I’ve never seen this type of extreme poverty in one place in the USA. I pray God continues to multiply the efforts of those going out on Skid Row so that life can be breathed into God’s children down there!
Finally, Adopt-a-Block– oh, I just loved doing this! DreamCenter teams go out into Los Angeles neighborhoods every Saturday morning with God’s love, a helping hand, and food. What was so awesome here is that when we arrived the neighborhood was throwing a surprise birthday party for one of the girls on the Adopt-a-Block team! This is proof of the impact that is being made there!
So, to wrap up- I’m still thinking about the experience we had at the DreamCenter everyday. In the Fall of last year, I read a church sign that said “Belonging comes before believing”, and I resolved right then and there to help make everyone I come in contact with feel that way–we were made by our Heavenly Father way before we ever accepted Jesus into our hearts. As we were taking the tour, Julie randomly said that Pastor Matthew Barnett believes that everyone should feel as if “they belong before they believe” Wow! hello! And this was the exact type of love that is shown to weary hearts that come through the DreamCenter! I am changed!