On September 28th, In His Steps hosted a Community Fun Day in the Saw Mill Quarters for all the families in the area to enjoy food, games, and a time of worship and speaking! In His Steps has had the joy of ministering to the Saw Mill Quarters of Canton for the past seventeen years, with the Community Fun Day occurring for the past five years. We’ve seen a steady number of people come every year, with around 60 people coming together Saturday to enjoy the hot September day.
The event held recreational activities to draw the younger crowd in like a blow up water slide, basketball, and lawn games, while the older ones appreciated sitting in the shade and visiting with neighbors and friends. During the event, In His Steps also hosted a prayer walk, going around the neighborhoods and passing out tracts and talking with those who would listen. So many people welcomed what was being offered, as “the majority of the people in the Quarters know us and they know what we stand for, and it was just exciting to see people being so receptive,” says Reverend Bacon.
A speaker from a local hip hop ministry offered a time of praise and prayer, and delivered a short message on John 10:9-10, highlighting that we as people must have the right identity and accept the One who can give us real life. After the time of worship, lunch was served, and In His Steps was so thankful to the members of the community who chose to give of their Saturday to help cook hamburgers for lunch. Reverend Bacon continues, “I’m really excited about the fact that we’re getting the local people involved. As much as I enjoy outside volunteers serving with us, it means a lot to see the community stepping up to love their own place.”
The goal for the day was to strengthen In His Steps’ relationship with the people. During the prayer walk, people often invited the staff and volunteers to share and pray with them; one of the keys to that receptiveness was that the gospel wasn’t pushed on anyone. Because In His Steps is deeply involved in the community already, being with them throughout the day strengthened those connections even further and allowed a space for the people to welcome In His Steps staff and volunteers into their lives.
When we allow ourselves to get in the midst of other people’s lives, when we sit in the trenches with them and shout glory from the mountaintops with them, that’s when the Spirit of God moves. It opens up more and more opportunities to proclaim His name to the unreached.
“We always hope that we’re given the opportunity to proclaim the gospel, and pretty much all we do here at In His Steps is ‘demonstration and proclamation’. We love on people because God loves us, that’s how we demonstrate the gospel. But we also proclaim it, believing that the word of the Lord does not return empty,” Reverend Bacon emphasizes. We believe fully in what 1 Corinthians 3:6 says, that some people are planters while God uses others to water. Because of this, we know that if we’re faithful with what He’s given us to do as a ministry, if we plant seeds, God will bring about the harvest.
One of the greatest blessings from the day came in the response of Damien Lewis, a Saw Mill Quarters resident who has become a huge part of In His Steps’ local ministry. He began recruiting people to help with the event and encouraging others to attend early in the month. At the event, Reverend Bacon notes that “when the speaker, who had a similar background to Damien, began giving the message you could see a spark in Damien’s eyes. The speaker was very transparent. For Damien and so many others like him to hear someone who’s now walking with Jesus and understands His forgiveness, I think it allows them to respond in a greater way.” The Sawmill Quarters has been known as a ‘challenged community,’ a place for vices like drugs, crime, and gangs. Some of the people who live in this community in Canton have experienced expensive mistakes, whether those mistakes cost them financially or emotionally.
In His Steps had the opportunity to speak into and build friendships with many of the people at the event who will in turn touch lives that we will never be able to touch. “Some of the people we spoke to are realizing now how fortunate they are, that they’re still living,” Reverend Bacon says. At In His Steps, we believe in the principle of disciples making disciples. We see this most clearly in Matthew 9, where Matthew encounters Jesus, trusts in him, and proceeds to invite all his tax collector friends to his house to meet Jesus as well. Jesus used Matthew’s unique position as a tax collector to reach other tax collectors, just as He will use the believers in the Saw Mill Quarters to reach their relatives and friends in the area.
As a follow up to the event, In His Steps is looking forward to several long term events that are currently in the works. “One of the things we want to do is a weekly father-son get together where the father’s take their sons to breakfast at McDonald’s and then come back to In His Steps where the sons can play and the fathers can have a Bible study together,” Reverend Bacon shares with excitement. Another long term goal is to help the young men in the area acquire driver’s licenses and provide job training so they are more prepared for what life looks like after high school and college.
There are so many needs that need to be met, and we are trusting that God will continue to provide for the people of Canton through In His Steps as He has in the past! We hope you will prayerfully consider joining with us financially and physically to impact the lives of those around us. Our website is www.inhissteps.org, where you can find contact information as well as direct donation options.