Green light for the Hope Festival!
What a beautiful day; the Hope Festival was given permission to go through. It was a miracle in itself. In-between strict restrictions, and a national lockdown, the compelling desire to make the voice of our street children heard, and the urge to bring forth a message of Love and Hope, was met!
The ongoing uncertainty did not quench the enthusiasm. The National Security Council gave the authorisation just the day before the event, along with numerous city restrictions. Nevertheless, Koinonia, Gospel Palace and a number of churches, has been planning throughout with foresight. The purpose of this festival was to give hope, raise awareness and support for the construction of a new home for the street children. In the frame of the theme “ hope, love and faith”, the motivation of the organization was evident with an emphasis on the love that is willing to pay the price.
The white city tents set up early in the morning at the square in the heart of Antwerp, were indicating that something would happen. Pink and blue balloons contrasted nicely with the tranquillity of the white. Volunteers were going up and down, each one carrying out the task that was entrusted to them, there was joy and expectation.
All guidelines were carefully observed: distances, measurements, disinfectants, masks, registrations; all in obedience, as requested, subtracting nothing from the love that is above all else. The field was ready to be worked at. Before starting, we gathered together in prayer to the Most High. He Who had given us the key to ‘the square’, as if by miracle; the day was consecrated to Him.
The first notes from the stage sounded like a sacrifice, a sweet scent of service. The performers gave the best of themselves and by far surpassed the highest expectations of the audience. To the reverberation of these songs were words of Hope and Love spoken by pastors of different churches. They all addressed the public passionately, from the heart, with the desire to help the street children. “All lives matter” was the final verdict at the Groenplaats in Antwerp last Saturday evening. The organization of the Hope Festival showed that this does not need to be conveyed by violence or protest and that the call to every conscious citizen can be fulfilled in a very positive, constructive way.
The current crisis has affected everyone, in one way or another, and calls for hope not only in Uganda, but also close by, at home. All speakers built the bridge between hope, love and faith, also for the local population, and insisted on the love for our fellowmen even in the midst of insecurity. Fernando Pauwels, representing ‘Power through Love’ spoke of his own experience, how he fond and supported a young boy from Uganda and added; ‘can you believe it? He is getting married next week and is starting his own family…’ He encouraged people to invest 1€ per day and make a difference in a child’s precious life.
Some stood still, others sat down. People listened attentively and felt addressed. The answers to the critical questions posed to the speakers, complimented one another, touching the concern of people today. They were all together powerful.
It was a party!
The evening twilight stretched across the square, it got colder, it got darker but until the last note was sung and the last word was spoken, there was fire and light.
The Hope festival was different than other years, some things were unexpected, there were no stands with all kinds of goodies, no coffee, tea or other welcome thirst-quenchers, no cozy flea market or jumping children’s feet on the bouncy castle. Only white empty tents with chairs spread in safe distance, inviting to sit, listen and take the invitation to help and support a child.
The Hope Festival is an initiative of Koinonia Ministries with Gospel Palace in collaboration with the ‘Evangelical Church Philadelphia’, ‘Movimento Missionàrio Jesus Uniça Esperença,’ Power through Love ‘,’ All Nations’, ‘Agape Church’, ‘Kingdom Faith Ministry’, ‘Assemblée des Rachetés en Jésus Christ’.
A big thanks to everyone who attended, who joined hands to lift up burdens with us, who prayed, worked and gave.
Your donations are still welcome and really needed for the street children on the account number of KoinoniaKids with IBAN BE09 3200 0913 6157
Our next appointment is on The Second Christmas Day, Saturday December 26, for the Greatest Gift Festival in Waagnatie, Antwerp. If you would like more information or would like to cooperate, please contact us.