January 2016




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Bladensburg Church Helps 125 Cars Gas Up

By Taashi Rowe

The love of God recently rained down upon the city of Bladensburg, Md., in a unique and special way. The Allegheny East Conference’s Bladensburg (Md.) church partnered with Hank Kim, manager of the local Exxon gas station on the corner of 57th Avenue and Annapolis Road, to give 125 vehicles $20 worth of free gasoline. For two consecutive Sabbaths, members of the Bladensburg church distributed flyers in the surrounding neighborhoods telling everyone of what was about to happen. All uncertainties about whether it would be well received were put to rest when about 90 minutes before the gas giveaway was scheduled to start, about 40 to 50 cars were already lined up. The pile-up caused this free distribution to begin a half hour early.

When reflecting on this opportunity for outreach, Noah Washington, pastor of the Bladensburg church, says, “Free Gas? Who doesn’t need it? Who wouldn’t want it? Yet we didn’t give away free gas for the primary purpose to baptize people or even get them to attend our church. We did it to bless the lives of people! As a church we are first and foremost called to bless the lives of people. Our assignment is to minister to the needs of people in the community of Bladensburg. If that means giving away free gas, then that’s exactly what we must do to be relevant, available and biblical to the needs of people.”

Accomplishing these spiritual and practical objectives is exactly what the Bladensburg church did. “Pumping these vehicles with gas that we paid for, gave us the opportunity to personify what Christ did for mankind—paying the price for our sins in order to give us eternal life free of charge,” says Moses Eli, interim pastor of the Bladensburg church. He continues, “With this in the forefront of our minds, we were able to tell each driver: ‘This bill is on Jesus, for Jesus paid it all!’”

Michael Blount, who coordinated the gas give-away, reported that recipients “found it amazing that there were no strings attached to the gas give-away. In one hour, more was accomplished with this event than in 10 years of community interaction.”

Pastor Washington concluded, “None of these people who received free gas may ever attend our church, but God smiles every time we are able to bless the life of another person.”