Embassy of Hope Church has been a beacon for the poor and homeless in Springfield, Missouri, for the past four years.
Pastor David Sims, who earlier volunteered to lead a summer feeding ministry in a park, began the outreach with support of the main campus of Evangel Temple (Assemblies of God), as well as a unified effort of volunteers from several area congregations.
Parkfest grew into a weekly, year-round inner city outreach of the newly formed Embassy of Hope. The church assists between 250 and 300 people with hot meals and groceries each Saturday, serving more than 16,000 meals a year.
But there is more to the church than free meals and groceries. Through prayer requests and Facebook, the church connects people, encouraging them to help each other in times of need.
Recently, a widow who had her utilities cut off received an anonymous gift from one of the church members, allowing her to have the utilities reconnected. An elderly woman in need of basic furniture received generous donations.
A young, pregnant and homeless single mother walked into the church for a hot meal. A church member took her in, and the next night she gave birth to a son in a home instead of on the street.
"I want people who come here to feel welcomed, loved and at home," Sims says.
"This is a place where God touches and lifts up people from hopeless situations through one another," says Jamie Chung, an Embassy of Hope member. "It is like a big family where you feel cared for and accepted for who you are."
Author: Choong "Andrew" An, Pentecostal Evangel