This past Sunday, we drove to Foster High School in Tukwila and threw a HUGE PARTY where 500 food bags were given away to feed families for a week! Wanting to serve and build relationships with our neighbors in Tukwila, one of the most diverse zip codes in the country, warm food, games, and dancing broke down language barriers and brought joyful laughter.
We arrived early to overcast skies and chilly temperatures, but our set-up crew couldn’t have seemed more upbeat and optimistic. With smiles, hugs, and a lot of hard work, Foster High School’s softball field was quickly transformed from a grassy lawn to a fair-like atmosphere ready to bless anyone who walked on its turf. Even the children whose parents were setting up were put to use walking prayer laps around the field praying for the Holy Spirit to work in unimagined ways.
Large tents, seven bouncy houses, face painting, cotton candy, popcorn, a mouthwatering selection of Chinese, Vietnamese and Mexican food, and great music spun by DJ Flow (a Foster High School graduate) made for an atmosphere that was ready to party rain or shine…and rain it did. The softball field got a great watering as did all of us. We huddled closely under the refuge of the tents, kids snuggled next to other children they’d never met before, laughs were shared between people that didn’t speak a word of the same language, and coats were shared between those who had and those who had not.
It was a true picture of the diversity and breadth of God’s kingdom, a true mosaic.
Sharing testimonies reminds us of the goodness and faithfulness of God, below are a few testimonies from Serve Sunday.
“I watched as a sweet 7-or-so year old boy bent as far to the side as possible as he tried to hold the food bag which was on his other shoulder off the ground so as not to get it wet. It must have been at least half his weight and height. He was just one of many who I saw walk off by themselves to bless their family with a bag of food that would feed them for a week. “
“I saw a woman with two children walking in by themselves and went up to greet them. When I pointed her to the hot food, she literally took off running towards it. They didn’t have coats or closed-toed shoes but I believe God warmed their souls that day with warm food and His sufficient love.”
“As I was standing by the jump houses, feeling miserably cold, I was amazed at the way the children excitedly stripped off their shoes and socks to climb into the jump houses, which were basically flooded. They would emerge as if from a bath with smiles on their faces and hearts full of joy. They found happiness and the ability to play despite the circumstances and were able to set aside how cold and wet they were to join in community. Rain couldn’t bring them down.”
“The kids faces. It was priceless. So many of those kids (toddler to teenagers) let their guards down. They would walk up with a wall and leave with smiles and a cotton candy. It was a place where they could be kids and were all the other worries could be washed away as they filled up on food and just had fun. The dancing, soccer games, and food lines were places where you glimpsed into the eyes of who God made these people to be, before the world had handed them rougher lots. I really feel like this event was a spark to so many who came.”
This came from a non-profit refugee organization: “I would like to express my thanks to you and your church for an outstanding event providing fun, food, and love for the community. Your community is something we should all strive to work for. So wonderful seeing the smiling faces of the refugees and immigrants gather together.”
These stories are why we decided to do this. We are commissioned to be the hands and feet of Jesus and, as a church, we want to unify around a mission of serving others. Tukwila is a beautiful community made up of incredibly diverse hard working people and God laid it on our hearts to serve this community. As a church, we discuss God’s calling of going to the nations to share the love of Jesus and felt Jesus calling us to Tukwila, an area where the nations have come to the Seattle area.
As we move forward as a church, I hope we can take away the strength and power found in rallying around a designated mission as a church. We have such an incredible congregation, many of whom are close friends with each other, and when we focus those relationships on the greater calling God has for us, nothing can stop us, not even chilly rain.
And the rain didn’t win. For about an hour, the rain ceased and the dance floor was quickly saturated with dancers of every age, race and dancing ability celebrating the generosity of God. As I looked at this beautiful scene, I couldn’t help but feel that I was getting a glimpse of the Kingdom of God here on earth, on Foster High School’s softball field.
By Jennifer Larson