“Free stuff makes everyone smile.” Tim Walraven made that comment after attending Berryville Baptist Church’s “Free for All” Yard Sale Saturday, April 14th.
And that’s what Berryville Baptist Church was after – putting smiles on faces in Berryville and neighboring towns. On April 14th, 78 members and friends of Berryville Baptist Church participated in its Operation Inasmuch Day, a community mission program. 17 teams went out into the community helping others, reaching out, making new friends and hopefully making people smile. In addition, others participated in advance, donating time and materials in preparation for the day’s activities.
Preparations and planning started in January as Rose Staples, chairperson, and Berryville Baptist’s Missions Committee collected ideas for team projects, needs in the community, and volunteers. They worked hard to find missions where every age and every talent could participate.
For the third year in a row, the church hosted a “Free for All” Yard Sale. Congregants and friends donated items ahead of time, and then community members were invited on Inasmuch Day to “shop” for free and take what they could use. Clothing is by far what is donated most, and what people come for. But this year, the yard sale also offered yard maintenance tools, exercise equipment, household items, toys and stuffed animals, and more. One picture on the church Facebook page shows a smiling young lady, Lisa Gum; one of her friends, Tim Walraven, posted “Free stuff makes everyone smile.” So true!
There are several other projects that have happened all three years. One favorite is a tea party, held this year for ladies at Mary Hardesty house. Another is picking up litter along roadsides, this year at the east end of Senseny Road. There were also mattress flipping, window washing and yard work teams who helped community members this year in Berryville and Millwood. Another favorite is the “Sunshine Baskets,” baskets filled with fruit and goodies for distribution at the Clarke County Senior Center. Several people shared “We Care” kits of toiletries and small gifts and visited with residents at Washington Square apartments. Pastor Dan Stanley led the “Water Bottle” team, handing out bottled water to passers-by on the corners of Church Street and Main Street and sharing a simple message “Have a Great Day!” This was especially appreciated this year, as this was also the Berryville Yard Sale Day, so there were a lot of thirsty people walking along Main Street. And, to support all the teams and give them energy for the day, the “Rise and Shine” team provided breakfast and bagged lunches.
This year, the “Caring and Sharing Cards” project invited each member of the congregation to participate by writing a short note on a greeting card. Three project team members visited residents at Golden Living at Rose Hill and left the note cards for them to enjoy later.
In a new project this year, children decorated fleece lap blankets with beads and shared them with residents of Godfrey House. The kids then sang “Jesus Loves Me” for the residents.
Two hymn sings were held, one at Greenfield Assisted Living and one at Godfrey House. Residents commented on how the visit, fellowship and hymns just “brightened their day”.
Operation Inasmuch takes its name from Matthew 25:40 where Jesus says, “…inasmuch as you have done such things for the least of my brothers and sisters, you have done the same for me.” Pastor Dan sums it up this way: “During Operation Inasmuch days, people from Berryville Baptist Church put this verse into action. It is my prayer that we will continue to reach out and care for others in an authentic way with no strings attached.”
Berryville Baptist is participating in a national Operation Inasmuch program that rallies congregants from churches around the world to serve their community in the “Compassion Revolution.” (http://operationinasmuch.org/)
A special celebration service was held at the church on Sunday, April 22nd, with a slideshow of pictures taken by the “Camera Crew” team. To see the full set of photos from the day, visit the Image Gallery on the church’s website at www.berryvillebaptist.org or the church Facebook page at www.facebook.com/berryvillebaptist. For more information, please call the church office at (540) 955-1423 or visit the church at 114 Academy Street, Berryville, VA.