Dear Missional PoC,
This will be our third year passing out water at Miller Park on the 4th of July. Last year we had such a HUGE turnout and such a powerful workforce. The fireworks were even more meaningful knowing we were sitting among friends in the city. I really hope you and your family can join us.
It can be so hot there in the park, especially after waiting all day for the festivities to begin. Many people in the neighborhood consider this fireworks show to be one of the highlights of their summer. With little income to treat their family, a 4th of July display is a wonderful way to get out of the house and enjoy time with each other. The lake is lined with vendors selling drinks and funnel cakes and hot dogs and such, but all of this can add up quickly. Many families can’t even afford to think about spending that kind of money. Let me tell you about one encounter with a little boy and his sister last year.
So, this little boy from the neighborhood came up to me and said, “You really giving away free water?” I said, “Yes, I am. My cooler is empty, but I’m going to go fill it up and I’ll be right back. I’ll come right back here to this spot.” I could tell he didn’t believe me. He said, “Is it really free? Are you really coming back?” I assured him it was free and that I would be back. I filled my cooler and hurried back to the spot. There he was, waiting for me, along with his big sister. She said, “He told my mom that you were giving away free water.” I looked at the boy and said, “I told you I’d be back.” And, then I looked to his sister and said, “Yes, it’s free.” She just looked at me like I was a fool and said, “What do you mean, it’s free?” I said, “We just want to serve our city. Honestly, you can have as much as you want.” She folded her arms, cocked her head back, squinted into the sun and said, “Why you do that?” I said, “Well, it’s hot . . . people are thirsty . . . we know that the concession stands can be expensive . . . and our church wants to help.” She looked at me after a moment’s reflection and said, “Can we take two? And, one for our mom?” I laughed and pointed across the way to our huge mountain of water where other PoCers were quickly refilling their coolers and said, “You see that mountain of water? You can have as much as you want.”
And, right then, she smiled. Her brother giggled and playfully hit his sister in the arm and said, “I told you it was free!” They grabbed several bottles of cold water, and ran off. That was a cool, very cool, way cool moment. I’ll never forget it. A bottle of water matters.
I don’t know anything about these two kids, except that it seemed to be a little difficult to accept the fact that people could be . . . nice and kind. And in that moment, I was extremely grateful that God is the one who draws people to Himself and that all we have to do is obey the missional impulses that he gives us, along with our missional community, to serve and love and represent Him. As I’ve thought of these two kids, I’ve prayed, “God, they are yours, not mine. Draw them to yourself and surround them with people that continue to show them your kindness.” It’s very cool to know that this is God’s work that we are a part of.
I hope you can join us.
Bring your lawn chairs, wear your PoC shirt, and invite everyone you know to meet at Miller Park!
*Come as early as 3pm. There will be games for adults and games with prizes for kids. Feel free to bring your own outdoor games too.
*Dinner is at 5pm. We will provide pulled pork, drinks, and tableware. Please bring a side dish or dessert to share.
At dusk, we will pass out 3,500 bottles of cold water to people gathered in the park to watch fireworks!
*We need trucks to haul the water, and coolers—either with wheels or on wagons we can pull. (Please contact Denis Rutledge (309) 261-0728, if you have trucks, coolers, or wagons we can use.)
*Finally, when the water has been given out, we'll watch the fireworks together!
*If you have questions, please contact the event coordinator, Suzan Bensken via phone, text (217-418-0266), or Facebook.