Festival of Sharing


By Angela Olsen

Friday
More than 1,000 people from 31 denominations started gathering. Hundreds began checking kits for Church World Service. By Saturday morning, a nearly full semi-trailer left with Layette kits, Health kits, school kits, and flood buckets to bless the world. Three generations of families came to serve together and we witnessed the power of the UM Campers who serve faithfully every year!


Friday Night
More than 400 youth and adult leaders participating in YouthFest began to arrive. Ex-NFL player Mike Hagen shared his personal testimony of faith in Jesus Christ and how it strengthens him for everything in life. He also bent a horseshoe into a heart and tore phone books. 

Saturday Morning
Youth and adults began to share their strength and love for others. The youth packed prison kits and made calendars for inmates. They carefully went through 665 backpacks of love and 269 youth care packs. Through their care, youth and kids who have been removed suddenly from terrible situations have something to call their own! By the end of Festival, they likely had sore muscles from unloading 44,000 pounds of potatoes, packing 46,000 pounds of grain, and unloading/loading vehicles. Without the youth, Festival is not possible. Thank you to all the youth and their youth leaders.
    
Thirty riders took off from the Mathewson after worship and enjoyed a beautiful day on the Katy Trail. Thanks to their support and extra fundraising they raised $5,600 for Rainbow Network. This means that over 16 students in Nicaragua have scholarships to school!!! We are thankful to have this partnership with Rainbow Network and look forward to having many more riders next year.
    
Organizations who advocate for those in poverty had booths to share their passion with others. Fair trade and craft groups sold their items and donated their profits to Festival. Church groups furnished food and donated their profits to Festival. We even had a couple share their anniversary with us serving others. The generosity of people is astounding.

Saturday Afternoon
There was a quilt auction that raised $27,000 for Church World Services Blankets+ program. It was a joy to participate in this event. There was an 8-year-old first time quilter named Grace; an amazing quilt that took seven years to make; and quilts made by 90-year-olds. 
    
An amazing team of people organized and loaded vehicles full of all the amazing donations. Through the generosity of hundreds of congregations donations were given to 86 agencies, who serve 88,000 people each month here in Missouri. 
    
Is anyone else blown away by all that can be accomplished when hundreds of churches from all parts of the Body of Christ work together? When we believe in Holy Spirit’s power to fight hunger and poverty through us people have food to eat. The work of our hands and the prayers of our mouths made and continue to make a difference.
    
We have lots of exciting plans to expand Festival, so please visit our Facebook page and our website to keep up to date with exciting opportunities to help Festival throughout the year. If reading 
this re-cap makes you excited about what is possible when the Body of Christ works together, please contact us at festival@socket.net or 573-474-3332 to join the team! See you in Sedalia on October 17, 2015 for the 34th Festival of Sharing.