We are only three days in to our time in Philadelphia, and already I am learning so much. I can already tell that this experience will be difficult to put into words. Today was our first day of door to door outreach, and since this is the majority of how we will spend our time, I will try to paint a picture of my three hours on the streets today.


After prayer as a large group, my team of six students and three interpreters walked from our base at Urban Hope to the streets we were assigned to screen. We chose a street to start on and divided up into partner groups. With the sun beating down on us, we began the slow walk down the street, opening gates, knocking on locked doors. Some doors were unanswered, some people declined our offer for free health screenings, but eventually we came to a group of women and their children siting out on the sidewalk.


We offered them the health screens and many of them shared that they already have been diagnosed with diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. However, they were eager for us to do a quick check on their health. We put the skills we learned into practice and performed numerous screens. I stood amazed at how quickly total strangers placed trust in my words. We had the opportunity to pray with them and invited them to join us at a local church on Sunday.


As we continued down the street, we were invited into two other homes. My partner Dan would work with one family member while I screened another. We were so grateful for our interpreter, Lianette, as we interacted with Spanish speakers in the neighborhood.


And all of a sudden, our afternoon was over. I’m excited for the many days of outreach ahead, and this summary only scratches the surface of what we are experiencing in the streets of Philadelphia. This city is full of brokenness and suffering, but I have hope. It is so evident that nothing will be done here by my power. My confidence lies in God; He alone must do the work of saving and changing lives – including my own.


“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.”
Isaiah 61:1-3


– Post by Olivia Mast