The Hope Movement united with like-minded churches has been evangelizing in a troubled community in Baltimore located on East North Avenue. We converted vacant lots into a Haven of Hope Community Garden where we not only landscape the garden to beautify the neighborhood but we also feed the hungry, pray with people, provide counseling and share the full counsel of God and the glorious truth of the gospel. Our evangelistic effort began in 2015 when Jonathan Roiz who is originally from Baltimore was living in Miami, Florida. In 2015 riots broke out throughout the city over the Freddy Grey case. Jonathan saw this on the news and his heart broke. He saw people without direction and hope. In a fallen world, unfortunately, there are social injustices, however, those in the city were blinded to see their own sin and the reality that they will all one day face the final justice of God if they do not turn from their sins. This led Jonathan to contact Baltimore City regarding adopting a 5 vacant lots right where the riots took place. Not knowing how God could use this idea, he began organizing volunteers from local churches. He flew up from Miami to Baltimore with his wife and children and they organized a mission day to transform the lots into a community garden. The vacant lots were filled with overgrown grass and trees, piles of trash, drug needles and mattresses used for the homeless and prostitution. The team cleaned up everything from there began a new mission in the city. Since then Jonathan and his family moved from Miami to Baltimore and together with volunteers work several times a month cleaning-up and landscaping the garden, feeding over 160 people monthly, pray and offer counsel with those who come to the garden, street preach and evangelize and visit homes. It started with planting seeds in soil and now God has blessed us with the opportunity to plant seeds in hearts.
We have had many testimonies where a young lady was down the road from the garden contemplating suicide, they knew we were in the garden and got us. We proclaimed the gospel for over an hour and by the end she was repenting of her sins. Over and over again we have seen God lead, even in the moments when the people hurt us, trash the garden, it gives us an opportunity to display the grace that God bestows on us, forgiveness. Since then the Haven of Hope Community Garden has been declared a green space, filled with flower beds, pine trees and signs throughout with Bible verses. We soon plan to add a playground with fencing for the children of the community. We are also beginning a Bible study under a tent at the garden in the summer season with hopes that this leads to a new church plant. The garden has not only benefited the people in the community. It has opened the eyes of local churches, specifically from the suburbs to see the mission field in their backyard and has convicted them to join our efforts. When churches come to volunteer we always begin with prayer and offer a biblical view of evangelism to teach them their responsibility as believers to go and make disciples.
Soli Deo Gloria