1. Easter Candy Giveaway
This past Easter weekend we had 3 outreaches giving out simple candy packs that included a Reese’s egg, our regular smiley face outreach card, and a small card with an invite to our Easter celebrations. We passed out 2,000 of these bags over the weekend at businesses, apartments, homes, and parks. We made a ton of great connections and we saw a lot of people come to our Worship Celebrations simply because we took the time to serve, talk, pray, and invite those in our community. I could share many stories where God did some amazing things, but this one stand out:
One of our outreach leaders named Hannah led her team to one of our local parks to hand out the candy packs. At the park she met a man named Nolan and his wife Cinda. Nolan and Cinda asked Hannah to take their picture as a family and seemed very receptive to the idea of us giving out Easter candy to show God’s love in a practical way. After taking the picture Nolan asked our team to pray for for his daughter who was homeless, and who they had lost contact with. Nolan explained that they had not even heard from her in some time.
Hannah got to pray for God to heal this situation and after she concluded her prayer, the team went on passing out more candy packs to other people at the park. About 5 minutes passed and our team was about to leave the park when Nolan ran up very excited and told the team that his daughter had just called him for the first time since they lost contact!
A prayer answered.
Nolan and Cinda came to one of our Worship services that next Sunday and Hannah received a text from Cinda following the services that said, “…Thanks for inviting us out! We loved it!”
This story highlights the fact that when we step out and serve others, God uses us as His tool to reveal His Love, His Kindness, and His Power to people that we never knew were hurting or hungry. Sometimes God send us, unknowingly, to a park, an apartment, or a business in order to reach one person or one family He has already been drawing. What we get to do is be apart of God already working on someone’s heart. The crazy part of stories like these, is not that God moves in amazing ways, it’s that God chooses to let us be apart of it!
2. Young Adult Small Group Trash Takeout
On Monday night our young adult small group went to on campus apartments and took student’s trash from their apartment to the centralized dumpster. Much like with the story i shared about Nolan and Cinda, God let us meet someone who was in need of a strong touch of kindness and love from believers, and ultimately from Himself.
After taking the trash out for a girl named Kyra, we asked if we could say a quick 10 second prayer. After Kyra said yes, we asked if there was anything specific we could pray for. Kyra’s face light up with half excitement and half sorrow, she said, “YES! my nephew is in the hospital with the flu, but after some testing the doctor’s are taking him to another hospital because they are worried he might have Lukemia.” We immediately prayed that God would comfort the family, guide the doctor’s, and heal Connor, her nephew. Kyra seemed very appreciative, and we moved on.
After we were done, we noticed that Kyra was outside on the steps, smoking a cigarette, and sobbing. We went and talked to her more in depth and found out that Kyra was especially connected with Connor, because after losing her own child during pregnancy, she felt like in many ways Connor took the place of the child she lost. We comforted Kyra even more, and I even got to share my own testimony about my wife and I having a miscarriage. I also got to tell her that even through sorrow, we have been given a gift from God through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection and that when we believe in him, there is joy and peace in sorrow. I told her that i take comfort that the child she lost, and the child we lost, are both in heaven because the power of Jesus’ blood. I also shared the Gospel with her and my wife and i have been contacting her off and on about Connor. Connor’s elevated white blood cells seem to be due to a staff infection in his lung and not due to any cancer. Continue to pray for Connor to get better and for comfort for Kyra.
3. $1 Car Wash
It’s $1 Car Wash Season again!
This is one of our favorite outreaches. The idea is this, we advertise a $1 Car Wash, but when cars pull in we wash their car for free and give them a dollar to remind them that Jesus’ love is free, and it just needs to be received like they are receiving this free gift from us.
I love the shocked faces after we explain what we are doing, and there were a lot of those faces at our car wash this saturday. In fact we had one of our busiest days at the $1 Car Wash even though it was cloudy and a little chilly. This outreach is a staple in our warm weather months and we will be doing more, so be ready for some encouraging stories.
4. Bubble Giveaway
This team went to local parks and gave out free bubble wands to parents who had kids at the park. We got lucky because there was a fishing event at on of the parks we went to and the park was packed. We gave out so many, we had to make a run to Wal-Mart to get more!
This specific outreach has really allowed kids to thrive, and learn how to serve other kids. We had a great group of kids at this outreach and they were all over the place handing out bubble wands and even praying for those they were serving. Kids are a huge asset to outreaches and we love designing outreaches in ways that we know kids will thrive.
5. Free Drinks at Garage Sales
This team went to garage sales in our area with free Dr. Pepper and water. We first would offer the drinks to the people running the garage sale, then to the people at the garage sale. We also would leave drinks and our outreach cards with the people running the garage sale so they could give them out to their customers.
One couple that we met and connected with was selling all of the belongings of their parents, who had recently passed away. They were very receptive to the drinks and we prayed with them that God would heal their pain and comfort them during their loss. Again God knows where He is sending us, and these intentional acts of kindness are not random in any way. I hope these stories and highlights convince you of that fact. We don’t serve a God that is random, but is meticulous in drawing Not-yet belivers to Jesus.