After a long time, lots of prayer, community support and the grace of God, the Philadelphia Zoning Board has unanimously approved the Rock's Nehemiah House for homeless and struggling young men. We are thrilled and so grateful to God that this last administrative hurdle is over! This approval means we can move ahead with final renovations. The home will hold 14 men and will provide mentoring, life skills, job skills, and Biblical discipleship. Our goal is to reach young men whose backgrounds never properly prepared them for life, or life in Christ. We are excited to see what God will do! For those who have prayed, thank you so much. We know prayer has been the engine driving this project. Continue to lift up Nehemiah House as we finish renovations and begin to screen young men for entrance. God is so good!
Dozens of Rock Ministries friends came out to support the Nehemiah House, our future young men's discipleship home, at a neighborhood zoning hearing. We presented the project to our local zoning committee and they loved it. It was unanimously approved for recommendation to the City's Zoning Board. We are thrilled at the show of support from our community. They are behind Nehemiah House all the way! Please pray that our next hurdle, the Zoning Board meeting itself on March 21, will go just as smoothly. Praise God for His faithfulness in seeing Nehemiah House through! A packed house for the zoning hearing Celebrating a unanimous approval
The Rock was honored this year to host the regional Silver Gloves boxing tournament. This is an important tournament for younger boxers, ages 10-15. Winners go on to compete for the national championship in Kansas City, MO. The Rock is excited to have one of our youngest boxers, Izaac Rivera, heading to the nationals! The tournament showcased boxers from six states. It received tremendous support and promotion from the Philadelphia Trade Unions. The venue featured two boxing rings with simultaneous bouts taking place over a three day period. It was a great success! We thank God for the many opportunities like this that He provides for the Rock!
Every couple of weeks, a very generous wholesaler sends a truckload of donated goods to the Rock. We receive pallets of canned goods and other foods, household supplies, infant care items, etc., etc. We never know what we'll get! But it's always a blessing. These donations not only help those served directly by the Rock, but are made available to select ministries in the Kensington area. Upon arrival, the donations are sorted and laid out on the Rock's sidewalk, ready for pickup by the other ministries. Our distribution system has turned out to be very efficient. It ensures that these items get to people who can really use them. It's quite a sight to see all these goods lined up on our sidewalk. The only word that describes it is "Abundance!" God is so faithful in sending what is needed to those in need. Praise Him for supplying all our needs!
These are two of our seasoned grappling coaches going over last minute instruction before they compete in the "Good Fight Worlds" this weekend. We have an amazing group of young men who have developed some life long bonds of friendship with each other while training on the mats at Rock Ministries! Our two coaches are working their way up to a black belt in Brazilian jujitsu grappling. Please pray for our team to become the best at this sport, for the sole purpose of glorifying the Lord!
Earlier this summer, the Rock hosted its first ever 5K run/1 mile walk. Called Rock Run, it was a huge success! Over a hundred people turned out to run a course through the streets of Kensington. We're pretty sure there's never been a race in our inner city neighborhood before! After the racers completed the course, awards were presented at a Rock-sponsored block party complete with food, music, kids games and fun. It was a great day in the 'hood! Neighbors commented that they were delighted to see something so positive in this otherwise dark area. Praise God for the light of Jesus in Kensington!
Today we were blessed to have over 30 young missionaries visit us from Ground Zero Master's Commission discipleship program and Bible college in New Jersey. They brought all their energy to the 'hood, running a coffee house and clothing giveaway for the needy and homeless on the Avenue. They met many of the locals, hearing their often tragic stories, praying with them, and sharing the love of Jesus. Here they are sorting piles of donated clothes,and preparing snacks and coffee for our Kensington neighbors. And here's a view of the sidewalk clothing giveaway.
What a wonderful Thanksgiving we had at the Rock! As we do each year, we opened our doors to hundreds of our Kensington neighbors for a feast to remember. God was faithful to bring all we needed to make it a beautiful day. Over 260 volunteers registered to serve some of our city's most needy. We received over 150 donated turkeys; tons of pre-cooked ham, stuffing and side dishes; and every kind of dessert imaginable. Most of all, there was lots of opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus. We are so grateful to God for supplying so abundantly! It truly was a day to give thanks.
Rock Ministries' annual Rumble With The Rock boxing and grappling tournament was a huge success! Nearly 40 boxers competed, including many Rock athletes. Our grappling team also held an exciting exhibition. Our sanctuary was converted into the best boxing arena in the city and hundreds came out to cheer on the fighters. In the end, the Rock took home several trophies, including Boxer of the Night Steve Cunningham, Jr, and Bout of the Night featuring Angel Figueroa. What a privilege to watch our young athletes represent the Lord and the Rock in healthy competition. We are deeply grateful for all who came to support the Rock and our athletes. We are already anticipating next year's Rumble!
This year’s Rock the Block, our giant block party and community outreach, was an incredible event. With somewhere around 270 volunteers, we were able to touch thousands of people in Kensington. As always, we hosted an enormous carnival under the El tracks, complete with kids’ rides and games, clowns, boxing and grappling exhibitions, puppet shows, a drama, a women’s nail salon, live music, grocery giveaways and all sorts of fun. We also sent teams into the neighborhood to street witness, complete block cleanups, paint murals, and pray with our neighbors. Among other things, they completed two murals, finished a playground project for local kids, and spoke to hundreds about Jesus Christ. We are still hearing stories of how the day impacted both our neighbors and our volunteers. Best of all, we recorded dozens of commitments to Christ. God was truly glorified that day. For all who came out to serve, we thank you from the bottom of our heart. You were truly the light of Jesus. We are already looking forward to next year! Here are some photos of the event: Rock the Block 2015 from Calvary Chapel Vero Beach on Vimeo.
How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world. Psalm 31:19 We are honored and humbled at the goodness of our Jesus!!! Friday afternoon the Rock received a donation of 200 backpacks from Calvary Chapel of Delaware County. The book bags were filled with school supplies for children from Kindergarten to 12th grade. We began distribution on Sunday morning as we required kids to come to Sunday School in order to receive a book bag. Though we planned for 60, we served almost 200 children that day - by far the biggest day we've ever had in Sunday School. Praising The Lord for the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace among our servants who jumped into action to create four extra classrooms around the building to accommodate the children! What could have been a overwhelming task turned into a testimony of God's power, grace, and mercy that was evidenced throughout the morning. Thanking Him for all He has done!
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17 Did you miss the Eagles defeat the Colts on Sunday? Our kids didn't!!!! Thanks to an anonymous donor, we received 10 Eagles tickets donated to our children's ministry!!!! Truly a blessing as The Lord opens doors for our youth to fellowship, grow in relationships, and be discipled by the men at our church. As so many young boys come through our doors, it is a priceless gift to offer love, guidance, and fellowship to these young minds. Praising The Lord for this wonderful gift!!!
On Sunday, August 2, the Rock held our latest baptism. In typical Kensington style, we filled up a kiddie pool in our garden lot and baptized around 25 people. Under the baking sun, our church gathered around to hear the confessions of faith of their brothers and sisters. Their baptisms symbolized a willingness to put to death their old lives and accept the new life that Jesus Christ gives. Each person sat in the pool and shared the reason for their hope. Our pastors prayed over each person before a bucket of water was poured over them, symbolizing their deep commitment to Jesus Christ. As always, we are so blessed to watch God work in such incredible ways here in the inner city. "Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." (Luke 15:10) The angels were celebrating with us this Sunday at the salvation of so many souls.
THANK YOU for your prayers and support as the major construction at the Nehemiah House for Boys continues. All seemed lost as a devastating fire destroyed most of the existing structure in November of last year. But God continues to show us the remarkable truth in His Word that He alone can make "beauty from ashes". When completed, Nehemiah House in Kensington will become a safe haven for 14 young men who lack the security and safety of a home. We are extremely grateful for the folks who have come alongside us to support this amazing project. We have a long way to go before Nehemiah House becomes a reality. Please pray that God would provide all the resources needed and safety as the work continues.
Rock Ministries' Manny Folly, age 22, took a 15 month layoff from the boxing ring to complete his training as a Philadelphia police officer. But on July 17, 2015, the newly commissioned Officer Folly continued his undefeated boxing career with a tremendous knockout win. With great skill, Manny defeated his opponent in the second round. Please continue to pray that Manny would glorify Jesus in the ring as he aspires to become a champion boxer and as he serves the Philadelphia community as a young officer.