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Women who answer God's call provide valuable local ministries (1/11/04)

Pastors predict bleak future if local casinos open (12/28/03)

Soap, figurines, candles keep books company in Christian stores (12/21/03)

In order to form a more perfect union (11/30/03)

Federal Marriage Amendment receives Fellowship’s endorsement (11/23/03)

Drug czar congratulates Teen Challenge (11/16/03)

Christian fiction no long back-shelf item (10/19/03)

DREAM3 benefits churches (10/19/03)

Youth rise to DC03 challenge (10/12/03)

Ministry uses drama, music to touch city for Christ (9/28/03)

Displeased viewers protest raunchy programs (9/21/03)

Grit, determination key to cities blocking cable pornography (8/31/03)

Economic slump doesn't always derail giving (8/24/03)

Ruling threatens family, Christian leaders say (8/17/03)

Anti-aging options require balanced approach to health, beauty (8/10/03)

Convoy of Hope reaches out to inner-city neighborhood (7/27/03)

Fight for the flag moves to nation’s schools (7/20/03)

Drama speaks volumes to alienated veterans (7/13/03)

Church's integrity well received following nightmarish ordeal (6/29/03)

Tornadoes cut wide swath across nation's midsection (6/22/03)

Accountability partners provide human feedback that filters don't (6/15/03)

Checking out your horoscope? God advises you to skip it (6/8/03)

Christian filmmakers pursue wider market success (5/25/03)

Intervention is key to preventing suicide (5/18/03)

Adoption often right decision for young expectant mothers (5/11/03)

Dallas-based ministry keeps inmates out of jail (4/27/03)

Medical analysis of Jesus' death generates interest (4/20/03)

Small-town church reaches community (4/13/03)

Young married couples lulled by false sense of security (3/30/03)

Virtual gambling days may be numbered (3/23/03)

Contemporary Christian music copes with its continuing success (3/16/03)

A/G prayer event set for gathering in nation's capital (3/9/03)

Volunteers give church voice in community (2/23/02)

Federal law protects churches in zoning battles (2/16/03)

Singles find cyberspace dating not always match made in heaven (2/9/03)

Predators often plan strategies long in advance (1/19/03)

The Cross and the Switchblade still makes impact 40 years later (1/12/03)

Frontline Reports

2002 PE Report stories

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Convoy of Hope reaches out to inner-city neighborhood

By Isaac Olivarez in Camden, N.J. (7/27/03)

Despite saturated grounds and a continued threat of chilly wind and rain, volunteers begin unloading 40,000 pounds of groceries from a Convoy of Hope semitrailer at 7 a.m. on the corner of Park and Baird in downtown Camden, N.J.

Parkside, the site of the May 17 outreach, is considered one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the country, even though it is across the street from Camden High School and the Boys & Girls Club of Camden County. This corner of Farnham Park is known for drug and alcohol abuse, violent crimes and prostitution. Just a couple of weeks ago a man was murdered here.

But today Farnham Park is being transformed into a distribution center for free food, as well as free haircuts, medical screenings, dental hygiene products and — most significantly — hope in Jesus Christ.

“God is going to plant a seed that’s going to change the mind-set of this city,” says Harold Sutton, pastor of Life Assembly of God in Camden and coordinator of the outreach. Sutton notes that more than half the children in Camden are raised in single-parent homes, and families often feel they have no hope. “People are going to see that truly there is a God and truly there are people that want to serve.”

More than 625 volunteers from 72 New Jersey churches are on hand to facilitate guests, drawing the attention of Gwendolyn A. Faison, Camden’s mayor. She commends Convoy for wanting to improve the quality of life and meet the needs of Camden residents.

“I give [Convoy] all my blessing and welcome them to stay as long as they want to and come back as often as they want to,” Faison tells PE Report.

Nelson Vasquez, 45, is one of 15 volunteers from Lighthouse Tabernacle A/G in Lumberton, a 30-minute drive east of Camden. Vasquez says he was addicted to drugs by age 11 in the South Bronx, N.Y. He later joined the U.S. Army after a judge gave him the option of going to jail or enlisting in the military. Five years into his tour of duty in 1980 he accepted Christ as Savior. He retired from the Army 15 years later.

“I was lost and somebody helped me, so I want to bless somebody back,” Vasquez says.

By 9 a.m., the first of 10,000 hot dogs are on the grill, and the line of Parkside residents has swelled to several hundred.

“We want you to know the Church of Camden loves you and Jesus loves you,” COH National Director Michael Redmon tells guests entering the park as the outreach begins. Within minutes, Farnham Park resembles a county fair. Live music fills the air. Children — balloons in one hand, hot dogs in the other — scamper about while teens and adults amble through six tents to receive free services. At the ministry tent, Sutton preaches a mini-sermon to guests.

“Jesus is the answer for what the devil has meant for evil — the struggles you’re going through right now,” says Sutton, sharing how his family’s house burned down when he was a child. “Jesus can bring you out of whatever your situation is. My greatest desire today is to know that as you leave here with food in your hands you leave here with the fullness of Jesus Christ.” After the sermon, Sutton leads several guests through the sinner’s prayer.

Charlotte Gilmore, 30, makes a decision to accept Christ as Savior. Her home on Kenwood Avenue is a two-minute walk from Farnham Park.

“I just heard about the food,” Gilmore says. “I didn’t know it was about Jesus. But I want to make a change in my life. It feels good to have people around you that care.”

By the afternoon, Irving Fryar, a familiar name to not only Camden residents but also any pro-football fan, shares with guests at the ministry tent how Christ changed his life. Fryar, who had a 17-year NFL career, was born half an hour away from Camden in Mount Holly.

“I had all the money, but I had no hope,” says Fryar, whose playing time included three seasons across the Delaware River with the Philadelphia Eagles. “I played in front of thousands of fans, but I was alone. It was only when I gave my life to Jesus Christ that life became worth living.”

Guests flood the stage in response to the altar call during the last service of the outreach. By the end of the day groceries have been distributed to 3,588 Camden residents. Of those, 446 people have accepted Christ as Savior.

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