- From Steve
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2023 Memorial Day Community Celebration
On May 29, we hosted our 8th Annual Memorial Day Community Celebration in Rockingham County, VA, to honor those who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and to recognize the men and women who who have served this great nation in the U. S. military or on the local police force, fire department, or rescue squad. All of these people have laid their lives on the line to protect or rescue others and deserve our gratitude. Each veteran and first responder in attendance was medaled during a powerful, moving service.
A tremendous amount of planning and preparing went into this event by our small team, beginning months earlier. Due to the unfavorable forecast, we made last minute adjustments to move the concerts and most of the children’s activities into the hoop barn. And what a great decision that turned out to be! The hoop barn was the perfect venue with bleachers, lots of space to set up lawn chairs or spread out blankets, great acoustics, and it was out of wind and rain. It was an AMAZING day, and we are so thankful for the success of the event. Although our ministry team worked so very hard to put on this event for our community, it would not have been possible without the prayers of our friends in distant places such as California, Tennessee, Florida, and even as far away as Ireland. God heard the prayers of the righteous, and He answered!
We also owe our utmost gratitude to the local churches, businesses, and individuals who partnered with us through sponsorships or volunteer service. This event would have been impossible without you. Some of our volunteers served eight hours that day, and always with positive attitudes and smiles on their faces! And our sponsors enabled us to secure the venue, provide first-class entertainment for all ages, and advertise the event in order to invite as many people as possible.
An estimated 2,500 people came to hear the fantastic live music, enjoy the variety of food vendors, and give their children an opportunity to get their faces painted, receive a balloon animal, and play on the inflatable slides. We were so happy to see so many children; there were lines waiting their turn and the inflatables had children jumping and laughing all evening long. The food was delicious and, from hotdogs to hamburgers, from smoked pork barbeque and barbequed chicken to Cajun cuisine, and from fresh, homemade donuts to creamy, homemade ice cream, there was something for everyone.
Some folks were unaware that they would encounter the Holy Spirit in that barn. The local bands were fantastic and created an atmosphere of praise and worship of a worthy God. Approximately 50 men, women, and children made the decision to give or recommit their lives to Christ! Praise the Lord! Our team and our volunteers prayed with many people, invited them to church, and gave them a Live the Adventure Study Guide to help them with the next steps of their faith journey.
Tucker Rodkey of Painting Freedom Ministries gave several awe-inspiring, moving performances from the stage and in the children’s ministry area. There is something so compelling in witnessing visual depictions of the gospel through a combination of art forms, live and right before your very eyes. It creates a multisensory experience – visual, audible, and personal – that leaves those who experience the performance with an enduring impression.
Our headliner band, Dove Award nominee Cochren & Co., did not disappoint! They had the crowd on their feet, hands raised in praise to the Father, as they pointed people to Jesus and back to church through their lyrics and music.
An event of this magnitude takes a substantial number of people who share a common vision and purpose. Everyone who was a part it, whether through their music, their art, their love for children’s ministries, their passion for serving great food, their desire to volunteer their time, their financial support, or by praying over the event made this day a successful, God-glorifying day which resulted in souls being saved. That, my friend, is what it is all about. We have already begun planning for the 9th Annual Memorial Day Community Celebration, and it is our prayer that you will join us again next year.
Please join us in thanking our Corporate Sponsors for helping make this event possible!