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December 31, 2000: Saturday Night at The River

November 26, 2000: College athletes minstry emphasizes Holy Spirit

November 19, 2000: Bad weather doesn't dampen spirits of thousands at Detroit's Convoy of Hope

November 12, 2000: International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Church

October 29, 2000: Frontiersman way of life draws men, boys closer to Christ

September 17, 2000: Loving the unloved

September 10, 2000: Changing lives in a big way

August 13, 2000: Church planting fuels growth

July 30, 2000: Full Gospel New York Church targets 500,000 Koreans

July 16, 2000: Running the good race

July 9, 2000: Hispanic church thrives in border town

June 25, 2000: The hand of God

June 18, 2000: HonorBound: Raising an army of godly men

June 11, 2000: Illinois Christian radio stations deliver message of Christ to thousands

May 14, 2000: A/G foster families minister to children

April 30, 2000: Prison revival reaches beyond the fence

April 23, 2000: Harvest Sunday draws hundreds for water baptism

April 16, 2000: Chain reaction

April 9, 2000: One pastor's burden: reaching the 'white slums'

March 26, 2000: Cowboy church rounds up believers

March 19, 2000: Motorsports ministry: Winning souls at the track

March 12, 2000: A dream blooms in the desert

February 20, 2000: Romanian church prospers for 20 years

February 13, 2000: Ministry at a strategic academic crossroads

January 23, 2000: God's Navy

Bad weather doesn’t dampen spirits of thousands at Detroit’s Convoy of Hope

(November 19, 2000)

Children bounce on large inflatable playgrounds. Others clutch red-and-white balloons in one hand and eat hot dogs with the other. Nearby, hundreds of teens gather around a portable stage where youth minister through music and drama. As thousands of "honored guests" file into large tents, they receive food, dental and medical care, haircuts, school supplies and other free services. In addition, they hear the gospel and receive special prayer.

A relentless rainstorm forced thousands to flee, still 5,000 attended.

Despite a relentless rainstorm that forces 4,000 guests to flee, another 5,000 guests attend the Convoy of Hope in Detroit, Mich. More than 1,000 make commitments to Christ.

"It was a fun day no matter what the weather was like," says Brad Trask, pastor of Brighton Assembly of God, the suburban church that spearheaded the Convoy. "We had people set free from addictions. One woman was in line and left to smoke crack cocaine, but a volunteer stopped her and told her Jesus loved her and wanted to change her life. The woman threw the crack into the mud, stomped on it and came back to the tent and asked Jesus into her life."

Keith Johnson, a 43-year-old chef, is one of those who made decisions to follow Christ.

"In the family-ministry tent the speaker said Jesus died and came back to life," he says. "That tells me Jesus is all-powerful. I now know that I’m going to be all right today, tomorrow and the days that follow."

Sheltered from the rain in the health tent, mothers and fathers with children in tow move from station to station receiving screenings for diabetes, glucose level, blood pressure and dental checkups.

"We try to break the ice with a blood pressure cuff to get them talking to us," says Mary McGovern, a registered nurse and volunteer. "When they tell us some of their desires or problems, we ask if we can pray for them. We minister to the physical need of the person and then we find the spiritual need and pray for it."

Calecta, a young mother of five waiting to enter the family ministry tent with her children swarming at her feet, says this is the first Convoy of Hope she has attended, and she is thankful for the free groceries.

"It is very nice what they are doing for our community," she says, picking up one of her daughters. "The fact that they are giving out food will really help us."

Some, such as Robert Green, 37, say they not only feel encouraged in their faith, but they experienced denominational and racial reconciliation.

"All these folks coming together as one army gives everyone peace of mind that we can work together," he says.

Johnson, who made a commitment to Christ, agrees.

"I had some white friends in the military and we got along fine — it was the same here today," he says. "It feels good. There is hope. People look each other in the eyes and respect each other no matter what their skin color."

According to Rob Clay, a national director of Convoy of Hope, 1,206 volunteers from 102 churches participated and 39 churches are contacting and discipling those who made decisions to follow Christ.

"This is another example of what can happen when churches unite across denominational, racial and ministry lines to do together what they could never do alone," he says.

Hours after the Convoy officially ends, many visitors linger as volunteers clean up the site and pass out the last bags of school supplies.

"The whole purpose of this was to take the city back for the Lord," one volunteer says. "I think today was a good start."

— Kirk Noonan

 

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