My testimony the way I saw our Sunday morning Outreach. When I drove onto the church property, as usual, the buses were lined up and ready to head out to pick people up in the various neighborhoods. Bus drivers, bus captains and co-captains were their usual, eager looking selves ready to minister to the people that would be getting on their bus. I was surprised to see so many people already at the church before I arrived. Registration tables were already set up and the volunteer workers looked excited and eager to greet the people that would be arriving to register as first time visitors and/ or to receive toys for their children. I was at the registration table at Entrance 2. The volunteers helping were eager to greet the people as they began approaching the tables. I looked over at the children’s church and saw the same eagerness in those volunteers. We had plenty of help at all the tables. In the service, the Holy Spirit was touching the people. Many sat with headsets on for translation and responded to the altar call. While helping with the altar call, I saw willing volunteers assisting the people with their needs. I went out to help in the food ministry after the service. Everything was organized and the people coming for food were very respectful and patient. You could tell they had experienced the love of God. What amazed me most of the whole Morning, was that we had so many cheerful, willing, helpful volunteers. The work that went into this event was immense, the laborers were amazing and I believe as Acts 20:35 says, “it is more blessed to give than to receive”, I think it showed on everyone’s face that was involved in helping.
On Sunday December 13, 2009. The outreach that we had was absolutely amazing and life changing. I have been at this church quite awhile now and I have helped in many outreaches here, but this one was definitely impacting. I actually wasn’t apart of the service this time. I was helping in the nursery. It was so impacting to me. We had forty-one little kids in there and at first it was very overwhelming and didn’t think I could handle it, but I finally just said “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. God was just there. He was in all those kids. At first they cried and cried but finally all the kids were happy and playing. It just made me so happy. I got to share Christ with some of them, and they knew how much God loved them and they know that He lives in them. It was the most precious thing I have ever seen. It definitely gave me a revelation that doesn’t matter how old you are, God will work through you. Even though I didn’t work with the toy give away being with those children blessed me more than ever. It was so beautiful. I also would look outside with all the families they looked so blessed and happy. I’m so thankful we have a church that is out to reach the lost. To bring them in and share the love of God and just be their to bless them. It was the most amazing thing. This outreach blessed me more than ever. I know I didn’t help a lot but seeing all the families and kids just have so much joy its indescribable. I will never forget that day. I just feel like God is going bring more great things to come, and I am so excited to see and be apart of it.
Sunday December 13, 2009 was a special day at the River at Tampa Bay church. It was the first of two toy giveaways scheduled at the River for the surrounding communities. I began attending the River in April, 2008. My family and I started doing the bus ministry very shortly thereafter. Every Sunday we go out into the community and bring people to church from all over Tampa, FL they come to hear and receive from the Lord. They come from all walks of life. Many of them have not experienced the love of God and we have an opportunity as a body to demonstrate God’s love to them. Many give their heart to God and we see their lives transformed.
Last Sunday not only did the grown ups receive from the Lord but the children were blessed with toys. I had the privilege of handing out toys after the service. When I handed a doll to this little girl her eyes lit up and she had the biggest smile on her face. But when I looked up I saw her grandmother who attends regularly, she too was beaming from ear to ear. She was so happy you would have thought she was the one who received the doll. Their rejoicing blessed me. I saw them experience the love of God at that moment. I am so glad that the River Church is making a difference in the lives of people in the community. Pastor Rodney and Adonica Howard-Browne are committed to do what God has called us to do to take the good news of the gospel to every creature. I am privileged to be attending a church where we are sharing the gospel and winning the lost.
From the beginning of the school I had been hungry for God and wanting the touch of the Holy Spirit and fire. When the meeting began on Sunday and I heard when pastor Rodney was sharing what was his vision (what God had told him) about this campmeeting- to get the people of God under the fire, those that are hungry and thirsty, I knew that this is it, something will happen during this week ! So I was expecting a touch from heaven and decided not to miss any of the services.
Each service was different. I was serving as an usher every other day in the afternoon meeting and I decided to serve with joy and excellence, as to the Lord. I have noticed that every now and then I have a battle against fear. For example, when going ushering the fear tried to come over me, saying “you are going to not do well, you will fail”. Then I heard in the class that “God has not given us a spirit of fear but the spirit of power, love and sound mind”. During the campmeeting, every time before I was serving, I just came against that spirit with the word of God and noticed that it really works ! I could serve with love, joy and peace without any fear.
It was one of the first night meetings when I decided to stay until the very end, and not leave the place without touch from God. It was a long meeting, but it did not feel like that. I went to prayer line at the end of the service and suddenly, way before the pastor was there, Holy Spirit came over me and I began to shake. After pastor had prayed for me, I was lying on the floor in the presence of God and receiving what He wanted to do. After a while, as suddenly it had begun, it ended and I felt deep peace and joy ! That was awesome !
Another night pastor was preaching about how God wants us to walk free from all appearance of evil and he mentioned alcohol as one thing. Before RBI, I could drink a beer or glass of wine, but when I got here, Holy Spirit talked to me the exactly same thing- when walking in the higher calling, there is no space for that anymore. Either I yield to Holy Spirit or the spirit of the world. The message that night was confirmation for this.
There are many other things that I got encouraged for, about the blessing of God, whatever I do, WILL prosper, in due season we shall reap if we don’t grow weary in doing good. As a summary, the whole campmeeting built my faith on God, being faithful where I am right now, and trusting God to make a way for me, step by step. It was so encouraging to hear pastor Rodney to share about the journey of his life. One thing that touched my heart was the man from Norway sharing what he had in his heart for Norway, what he said about Norway, is the cry of my heart for Finland.