In early 2017, Pastor Brown shared his vision for another crusade with several local pastors and ministers in a meeting. As the idea was discussed and considered, Pastor Brown said, “I don’t want another crusade where saved people come together and have church and then go back home and to their home churches and no one from the community gets saved.” “What’s the point”? The clergy members in that meeting heard his plea and began to see his vision. Out of that thirst for lost souls to be saved and for hurting people to be helped, the theme Heart 4 The Community Initiative (H4TCI) was born. Those gathered clergy members joined in with Pastor Brown’s vision and began to lay the framework for an initiative that would not only bring the Word of God to the community but also the Love of God, manifested in tangible, natural goods and services that would enhance the community. That evening, they decided that this would not be a one-time event, but a long-term effort to meet the continuing needs of a community. Since most of the clergy, attending the meeting represented congregations in the Woodbridge/Dumfries/Triangle area, it was decided to begin the initiative in that community, and overtime the following vision and mission statements were developed to guide the work of the initiative:
Vision: Gather and empower all persons in every community through the proclamation of the Gospel and demonstration of Jesus Christ’s heart and divine mercy.
Mission: Collaborate with a network of pastors, community leaders, and human service organizations to provide spiritual guidance, social, educational, legal, and medical services to foster healing, and social, mental and spiritual elevation to the homeless, under-served, and under-achieved members of the Woodbridge/Dumfries/Triangle community.
What an amazing year 2017 was for the H4TCI. We were blessed to host three community events in which the community at large was served and honored. Our first event held on April 29, 2017, introduced the community at large to our initiative with access to community services, medical expertise, food, and entertainment and salvation. Emboldened by the success and driven by God’s direction, a subsequent event was held on August 26, 2017. This event was a Community Day which featured the free donation of school supplies, health care screenings (i.e. blood pressure, cholesterol, oral care, etc.), food, and the sharing of the Word of God. It was well-received, and more importantly, a blessing to the community. Fast forward to November 18, 2017, and the H4TCI moved forward under God’s direction to provide free warm clothing and Thanksgiving baskets for those in need. With temperatures dropping in the area and the economic state of the community requiring assistance, the event was a sorely needed respite and a balm for weary souls.
In 2019, H4TCI came together to help Northern Virginia Community College's (NVCC) Woodbridge Campus. On November 18th, 2019, H4TCI hosted an event at the Woodbridge Campus of NVCC. We brought several resources with us to include counselors that dealt with emotional and stressful issues, finance & credit education, debt-free college education information, blood pressure screening and community health information. Our most important resource that day was that we restocked the Birdhouse. The Birdhouse is an on-campus resource that allows underprivileged students to come in and get food, drinks, hygiene items, blankets, socks, etc. The Birdhouse had run very low and needed help. H4TCI collected a huge donation from the community to take to NVCC. We filled the Birdhouse!
On December 19, 2019, we went back to restock the Birdhouse. During the 3-week holiday school closing, students who depend on the Birdhouse for needed items would be out of a valuable resource. H4TCI's contribution on December 19th made it possible for students to stock up on their items before the school closed for the holiday.
On January 11, 2020, H4TCI worked with Arms Outstretched Ministry in their monthly feeding of the hungry and homeless in Dumfries, VA. It was the plan of H4TCI to work with Arms Outstretched as much as possible in their monthly feeding. Due to the restrictions placed by our local and state officials in order to combat COVID-19, those plans have been temporarily shelved. H4TCI does plan to have its Inaugural Annual Banquet & Fundraiser on Saturday, November 14, 2020. Proceeds will be used to fund future community events and projects.
Presently, H4TCI is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization which is comprised of several churches and a host of human service organizations coordinating free health assessments, blood pressure, and diabetes screenings, fitness & nutrition classes, clothing, food, and salvation.
And the work of the Lord is not over yet. The future years promises to be bigger and more inclusive.
Heart 4 U
Our Heart 4 The Community is what brings us to you
Give us your worn, your lost and your hungry too
Bring your homeless, your unlearned and your children in need
We’ve joined together, in the love of Christ, to plant powerful seeds
Seeds of commitment and fellowship for those who feel that no one cares
It’s a selfless outpouring of resources that we seek to share
Gather with us, where the grace and peace of our Father abounds
You will enjoy His presence through every touch, sight and sound
Our hearts are overjoyed as we serve the community as a whole
All are welcome; strong, weak, black, brown, white, young and old
We’re a part of you and you’re a part of us
Let our presence with you build communication and trust
We have a Heart 4 U and it’s as bright as the noon-day sun
We hope to see you and yours as we serve and have fun
We have a Heart 4 U and it pours out love, support and peace
To serve you and yours is what we truly seek
We have a Heart 4 U and it is anointed to bless
Bring all who are troubled and need spiritual rest
We have a Heart 4 U and we come with helping hands and a smile
Looking forward to seeing you all and serving with style…
-Elder Carl D. Armstrong