The love of Jesus took center stage June 9 at New Orleans’ iconic City Park as First Baptist Church New Orleans welcomed nearly 500 people from Phillis Wheatley Community School and the community for a night of thrill rides and games.
By the end of the night that also included free portraits drawn by cartoonist Joe McKeever and magic by illusionist Shane Wilbanks, 20 volunteers from FBNO had poured into the school children and their family members.
The event was cosponsored by the North American Mission Board, which on June 9 and 10 coordinated 51 Serve Tour compassion ministry sites in Houma and New Orleans as the foundation for evangelism.
‘We love you and God does too’
Gary Myers, FBNO executive pastor of discipleship, said this was the first face-to-face event they have held for the school since before the COVID-19 pandemic. In early August, many of those children who attended will receive a backpack filled with school supplies.
“We wanted to bless Phillis Wheatley Community School and tell them that we love you and that God does too,” Myers told the Louisiana Baptist Message. “Our members were really excited to have this opportunity to meet many of the students for the first time. We hope this was an evening where they got to enjoy a free night at the amusement park but also get to know us better.”
For Jasmin Gayden, the event allowed her to spend the evening with her son, Tyjae, in a family-friendly atmosphere. Tyjae recently completed first grade at Phillis Wheatley Community School.
“It was a nice idea for them to do that for the kids because there’s not a lot for kids to do in the community,” Gayden said. “I hope it continues, and maybe it will get a lot of kids out of the streets and a lot to do in the area.”
‘Faithful to serve’
FBNO member Terry Arceneaux said the event reminded him of Christians’ mission to share Christ’s love.
“It’s what we are called to do,” Arceneaux said. “My wife, Helen, and I are now retired, and we love to serve. By doing so, our grandkids see us involved and hopefully they will be faithful to serve in the church. Our church has seized this opportunity to serve this school, and we are excited about many more opportunities with them.”
View more photos from the event here.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This article was written by Brian Blackwell and is part of the team coverage of Crossover and Serve Tour events by staff members from the Baptist Message, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, The Alabama Baptist and The Baptist Paper.