Send Tampa 2015 – Personal Testimony

What does it look like when a redeemed people live on mission?

At Covenant Life, in addition to partnering with other missionary families and church planters, we send off a few teams yearly, to serve and minister to specific people groups. This year our summer missions schedule included a trip to Tampa, Florida. Our “trip” over the July 10th weekend was especially unique, as there were no flights to catch or long car rides to travel to where the needs were.

Our intentions to spread the gospel of Christ to those outside the walls of our church family always includes people in our own city. This weekend our hearts were set on the people of Tampa Bay in an especially intensive manner. By God’s grace, over seventy members of our church family were able to participate in a “two-day, intensified version of what every believer living in the Tampa Bay area has been redeemed and empowered to participate in on a daily basis”.

The first project I participated in was an urban ministry effort to serve the poor and needy. Early on Friday afternoon, a team of eight of us met to prepare some bag lunches. We then split up for the next several hours, delivering them to people who were in transit or without a home. Nearly everyone we met welcomed us—with some greeting us before we had a chance to take the initiative! This included families, people who were traveling through these areas alone, and some students who were curious to find out what we were doing. Simply putting this time aside gave us the opportunity to meet a large number of people. Thankfully, we were able to talk to and pray with nearly everyone we met. Taking time to listen to people’s specific needs exposed some concealed pride in my own heart, especially when asked how often I take great measures to love these souls within our city whom I’ve never met. In several cases we were able to speak to people about their most fundamental need, to be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus.

The next day for me looked entirely different. I joined another team of brothers and sisters to participate in some cleaning, painting and yard work to help a ministry we partner with called Created. The end goal was to assist with fixing up some properties that are used to care for women in the process of healing from deep wounds and hurtful experiences. While I didn’t meet any of the people who will use the facility we helped to beautify, I was refreshed to spend this time with fellow members, as our hearts were primed to find unique new ways to serve Him with wholehearted devotion.

I know from conversations with others that these projects were an encouraging experience for all involved. As we grow together in godliness, our church-wide commitments to engage with and share the gospel with our city cannot be limited to a specific weekend. Our willingness to serve those outside our normal reach must be renewed and reassessed often. My prayer is that my love for our city will increase in the days ahead, as we continue to recognize ways to engage with and spread the love of Christ to those who live in our own backyard.

Kevin Wilder

Posted on: July 23, 2015 - 9:00AM

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