River of Life Christian Center spread love and encouragement to the staff at St. Joseph Hospital - South.

River of Life Christian Center has been looking for ways to spread hope and love throughout the community during this difficult time.

“With COVID-19 bringing our nation to an abrupt halt, there is a need for hope,” said Marcus Marshall, outreach director of River of Life Christian Center in Riverview. “There are many nurses, doctors and officers—our heroes—who are on the front lines of this pandemic, and we as a church wanted to show them how much they are loved and appreciated.”

Knowing that so many local medical heroes are sacrificing their time, their families and their safety, Lead Pastor Johnny Honaker decided to invite the entire church to St. Joseph’s Hospital – South to encourage the medical staff and to demonstrate how much they are valued.

More than 100 families arrived at the hospital on April 16 and were instructed to stay in their vehicles and turn on their emergency flashers while facing the front of the hospital, where many patients and hospital staff could see from their windows.

“We also brought doughnuts for all the staff on the COVID-19 floor,” said Marshall. “Then Pastor Johnny broadcasted live on location and began to pray for all of those who have been impacted by the pandemic, the patients, hospital staff and all of their families.”

As Pastor Johnny was live, many others tuned in to the broadcast and were able to pray along with him. Many of the hospital staff came outside to express their gratitude from a safe distance.

The church also made signs for the hospital staff to see from their windows. One of the signs read, “Superheroes wear scrubs.” Another said, “Thank you for all that you do. We are praying for you.”

Pastor Johnny summed up the night, “This is what love looks like, and this is why we do what we do.”

The church is excited and eager to show its support to the community and make this type of outreach a regular occurrence. River of Life Christian Center is located at 6605 Krycul Ave. in Riverview. For more information, visit www.riveroflifechristiancenter.org or Facebook at River of Life – Reach Our City.

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Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.