Looking at the neighborhood, a lot of work needs to be done. This neighborhood has low income apartments and lots of rentals, cheap and moderately priced. This neighborhood seems to attract plenty of nuisances. The people here need a Savior. They need hope.
This is where Ontario United Methodist Church stepped in. In November of 2013, I began to pray for the NW area of Ontario. Every couple of days, I’d drive the neighborhood and pray that God would change the community. During that time, I looked at issues regarding crime and the condition of house.
Regular prayer for that neighborhood took place until about April of 2014. Christa Klosterman approached Love INC with a crazy idea. What would happen if she handed out popsicles in the park in the NW area? I told her that I really think that the citizens in that neighborhood needed someone to help connect with them. Popsicles are a great way to make some friends. We also began discussion about a Block Party.
Although, I personally arrived 15 minutes early the beauty of the block party was already in full effect. Neighborhood kids were on the sidewalk drawing masterpieces in chalk. Tables were set out for community members to eat at. Food was being brought out. The DJ began his ritualistic setup and testing of equipment.
Then people started to arrive. They came from the neighborhood, drove past and saw the signs, and told their friends and families. Kids with and without parents (you do remember what kind of neighborhood this is) came for drinks, food, and games. Everyone had a good time.
Before the night was over, the DJ played the Chicken Dance and everyone gathered to join in the celebration. This was not just an outreach, but a celebration into the Northwest corner of Ontario. It was a celebration of the life, hope and things to come.