FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — First Assembly of God tries to help out the community all year-round, but no day is quite as big for them as Serve Day.
“This is the big day where anyone who is a part of our church to jump in and serve the community,” said Rob Haslett, lead pastor for the church. “We feel that we are called as Christian to constantly serve, to reach out, to be a part of our community. It’s not just us in our walls at the church, that’s dangerous. if we just focus inward all the time. We’ve got to focus outward and it’s something that God has called us to do. It’s bringing Jesus to people but it’s also being the hands and feet of Jesus to people.”
The church started doing this back in 2016 and typically sees hundreds of volunteers turn out. This year was no different, with around 350 people lending their time. Church members helped out at Smith Academy of Excellence, Image of Hope Ranch, Just Neighbors Homeless Shelter, and at parks near Bridge of Grace Ministries and City Life. One group took to the former Hall’s Guesthouse to help clear out leftover items as the YWCA prepares to move their shelter operations there.
“You know, when you live in a place for 40 years you collect stuff and there’s a basement full of stuff,” said Paula Hughes-Schuh, CEO of YWCA of Northeast Indiana. “First Assembly is going to help us unearth that, see what’s useable, what’s not, and help us sort through it and make a new home.”
Volunteers also helped clear out guest rooms in the hotel. It’s a big task for the YWCA and one they welcome help with.
“I cannot overstate what a blessing it is to see just that, the volunteers and the people who care,” Hughes-Schuh said. “We’ve had multiple people come up to us and say what else can I do? Can I do a Yoga class, can I lead a Bible study with the women in your programs? We will take all the help that we can because really it’s about helping our clients and we love making those connections.”
Haslett said it is a good fit because Haslett says First Assembly is always looking to partner with other groups making a difference.
“We know there is a lot of churches and organizations that try to meet people’s needs in the community and we just want to be one of those coming alongside other organizations, other churches, just to meet people where they’re at in the community,” said Haslett.
The work helps the YWCA get that much closer to their goal of starting construction on the space in late summer, with hopes of moving in by the end of the year.