September 24, 2012
Earlier this year, Richard Edwards said he had a vision from God that led him to begin organizing Saturday’s Christian Family Fun Day in Hillsville. Ultimately, Edwards said Saturday’s event far exceeded his hopes.
“The parade ended up being way bigger than I thought it would be. I’m not sure how many entries we had in it, but it was well attended,” Edwards said. “We lined up like a cross and did a balloon launch and there were about 50 churches there. Some had a few members there, some had a bunch, but it didn’t matter – we had good participation from churches from Mount Airy to Galax to Pulaski.”
Aside from the parade, the Christian Family Fun Day including free food, games for the children, seven bands, dramas, speakers, and booths and displays by various Christian churches and organizations at the Hillsville VFW. And Edwards said the day concluded with the ultimate sign of success, several people getting saved and dedicating their lives to the Lord.
“I do not know the number, but I watched at the end of the service and I saw a few get saved. And I do know some showed up at churches on Sunday that were touched by the events,” Edwards said. “It didn’t just end that day, people showed up at church the next day fired up about the Lord and giving testimonies about their experiences from the event.”
Edwards said he has received an overwhelmingly positive response from the community about Saturday’s Christian Family Fun Day. He said Carroll County was extremely blessed that day because there was also a crusade in Cana that filled the gym at St. Paul School.
“That is what we wanted, to let people know you can get all the churches together when you really need them and they can come together for the Lord. We all serve the same Lord, so to come together for the Lord and to have the fellowship we had that day, it was a great day,” Edwards said. “More churches will probably get involved next year now that they’ve seen the success of it. Many sent me messages saying they didn’t realize how big it would actually be. We only had a couple of months to advertise it, but the next one we will have much more time to plan.”
In all, seven bands ended up performing at the event. Five dance teams and six preachers were also part of the day. Meteorologist Austin Caviness of WXII-Channel 12 in Winston-Salem (N.C.) served as the grand marshal of the parade, and spoke at the VFW. Edwards said groups from Thomasville, N.C. and Radford also attended the event with plans to possibly organize similar outings of their own. At one point Saturday, he said his emotions got the best of him.
“I had heart surgery on Wednesday, and when I was standing there saw the parade, and saw the Carroll County Intermediate School kids yelling they loved Jesus, and saw Bill Bryant’s helicopter hovering over the parade and all those people coming up and down the street, I just lost my emotions. That was what it was all about, seeing that happen,” Edwards said. “If God hadn’t sent me people like Jessica Talley, if we didn’t have a team like we had, we would have never been able to pull it off. He sent me people with experience in advertising, he sent me Faye Rakes, an office administrator, preachers able to line up the preaching, a musical director able to line up the music, even Emory Bearden with food stand knowledge was a big part of it. The team that came in there and worked together were just amazed that many people got sent by the churches that had the skills to put something like this together.”
The event went so well, the first meeting to organize to the 2013 Christian Family Fun Day has already been scheduled. It will be held Oct. 9 at First Baptist Church of Hillsville at 6:30 p.m.
“We just want to thank everybody that came out and we hope that is was a blessing to them,” Edwards said.