Sharing love with the Park Rapids community is the goal of the “Love Outreach” event Aug. 2-3. The free event kicks off with a concert featuring Christian rap music from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2 at Faithbridge Church on Hwy. 34, and continues with a block party in Park Rapids Saturday Aug. 3.
The block party is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and includes music all day, a free barbecue meal from noon to 2 p.m., haircuts from a Disney stylist from California, nail painting and family photos. The event is being put on to show love to the Park Rapids community. The idea for the event came about in an unusual way about a year ago.
“I have Lyme disease and was suffering,” said Kory James of rural Park Rapids. “God gave me a vision that lifted me up: to share love in Park Rapids. My niece, Erica Castleberry, called me from California that same night and said God put it in her heart for some of their church members to go to Park Rapids and show love to the community, and everything has been falling into place ever since. I’ve never done anything like this before, but God’s putting everything together. He has lifted me up and given me strength.”
James, who is of Native American heritage, said the outreach is for everyone, including people who feel left out and unloved.
“I grew up in California in a neighborhood with gangs back in the day,” she said. “I love the unlovable because I was once the unlovable myself.”
Any church or organization that wants to have a table and be part of the Love Outreach is welcome.
“They can bring whatever they want to do to show love and connect with people whether it’s free cookies, coffee, bottled water or whatever,” James said.
A banner at the outreach features John 3:16, the Bible verse that begins “For God so loved the world.”
“That’s our message,” she said. “We’re not going to be pushy. There will be music and people can listen as they come and go or bring a chair and sit down and enjoy the day. Everything has been done by fundraising. Our stage and generator are donated from Bruce Construction Inc., who also donated some of the meat along with a generous donation from Pike’s farm for meat. We’re going to have four pit bosses cooking, so people can share a meal.”
James said she especially has a heart for youth. “Some kids don’t know what love is,” she said. “Their parents are drugged out and the kids are left alone. These youth are our future, and we want to show them what love is.”
James said she hopes everyone who attends the event will leave feeling hopeful and loved. “Some people are afraid to be loved,” she said.
“These people on the Frontline mission team, that is part of the Peace Makers group in California, are the kind of people who can reach them. A couple of these guys have been in jail. Everybody needs to know there’s hope in God. Love is God. That’s our message. All God wants is for us to love. That’s it and that’s the greatest.”
James said she is looking for someone who works on bikes to participate, so kids can come and get their bikes fixed at no charge. She is also interested in connecting with anyone willing to provide transportation to the Love Outreach for people who need a ride, perhaps a church that has a bus.
“If God puts it in your heart to share something, come,” she said. “If you need someone to show you love, come. It’s a block party to focus on the positive, to reach the whole community. Some people are lonely. They go their whole lives without knowing what love is. They’ve been hurt. Now it’s time to turn it around and just get loved. We’re going to do it God’s way.”
The Frontline mission team is also planning a concert and outreach to the Native American community in the Bemidji area.
For more information on Love Outreach or to volunteer, call James at 714-423-5069 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.