The journey of BridgeTown Inc began with two strangers, both having a burdened heart for the Portland area and both having a hopeful promise of change to come for the welfare of the city. The two met at a state-wide convention where they began to share the promises and challenges they heard the Lord speak to them. Ken Vanderhoff, who is on leadership at Neighborhood Church, shared his frustrations at the recent closing of another local Portland church, and how he found in that frustration a challenge, to use his church to bring change to the city. Marshall, who at the time held a job as a youth pastor in central Oregon, shared his recent feelings of preparation for change to come for him and his family; as well as, his growing heart for the Portland area.
Before long, Marshall resigned from his position and the family moved to Portland where with the collaboration and support from Ken and the Neighborhood Church, BridgeTown Inc. began. As BridgeTown began to take life and Ken and the Snider’s prayed for how to serve Portland and how BridgeTown would be best used for the Kingdom’s glory; they were brought to the account in Ezekiel chapter 37 where God takes Ezekiel to a valley of dry bones and asked the prophet a question, “Son of man can these dry bones live?” The answer is what has driven the mission and vision of BridgeTown ever since. Ezekiel answered “Oh God You know.” So that is how they began to pray “Oh God you know”. You know what needs to happen in Portland. You know what will reach people here. “Oh God You know.” Little by little God began to show them their purpose and their mission. He directed them to start Night Strike; and what started with a small family standing under the Burnside bridge with a few sandwiches and a bucket for washing feet, grew into hundreds of volunteers both inside and outside of the church and it now reaches hundreds of homeless people in our community every week. Then Transformation Trips began, allowing people from across the country to experience the revolution that occurs in hearts through the love and service of BridgeTown Inc.
BridgeTown Inc. was able to launch their second BTown Kid’s location and are now able to love and serve hundreds of kids and families in north Portland each year. As God opens doors and opportunities arise, BridgeTown Inc. continues to expand their reach and touch lives in the community; inspiring and equipping them to maintain the mission in their own community so the service may sustain and happen everywhere people are, not just in Portland, Oregon.
The story and journey of BridgeTown is dynamic and continually growing and changing. We have partnered and are continuing to partner with local churches in the Portland area. Marshall travels to churches, camps and conferences shares the BridgeTown journey while challenging others to be the influence that they were created to be.
The journey continues. “Oh God you know.”