Saturday, August 06, 2011

The Kindness Outreach Chronicles (Part 5)

This morning's Saint Matthew Kindness Outreach was a fantastic experience!

Ten Saint Matt folks participated as we once again gave away cold bottled water at a heavily-trafficked intersection here in Logan. While the traffic lights were red, we were able to give away 210 bottles of water in under an hour. That means that in the four outreaches we've done so far, we've given away 770 bottles of water.

Some vignettes that stand out from today...
  • As Dick gave water to one woman, she told him about her seven-day old niece who had suffered a stroke. Doctors had given her little chance. But the little one has shown improvements which the doctors say they can't explain. The family feels they can explain, that God is answering their prayers in inexplicable ways. By this time, I was involved in the discussion and Dick and I promised to pray for the child. She drove off saying, "I love you guys!" When the light turned green, Dick, Isaac, and I formed a circle and prayed for the baby and her family.
  • Isaac offered water to two fellows in a pick-up truck. They refused the offer. But Isaac didn't give up. "Come on," he said, "it's free!" The driver held up a cup indicating that he already had something to drink. Undeterred, Isaac asked, "What about your friend?" The power window on the passenger side slid down. Isaac handed a water to the guy riding shotgun and then handed in another water, this one for the driver. "You have one too," he said.
  • A woman in one car was incredulous. "Free? I can't believe it!" Dick handed her a bottle of water and said, "Well, believe this!"
  • A young man in his twenties was going to refuse my offered water. But I said, "Hey, look it's wet, it's cold, and it's free." "Free?" he asked, then laughed, and said, "I'll take it." We both laughed when I told him, "Free is the operative word."
Of course, we do these outreaches to demonstrate what God's grace is like. God loves us, no strings attached. He simply asks us to repent (acknowledge our need for Him and His forgiveness) and believe (that is, trust) in Christ.

In doing the Kindness Outreaches, we also negate an old stereotype that says that all churches want is people's money.

But the outreaches have a great impact on those of us privileged to serve our neighbors in Jesus' Name in this way, too.
  • During today's outreach, young Isaac turned to me and, running back to a cooler to restock on water for the next wave of cars, said to me, "This is a joy!"
  • And Fran said that she'd had the feeling this morning that we might have too many Saint Matt folks and wondered if she should participate, but then thought to herself, "I don't care. It's too much fun!"
And it is! In fact, the secret we Lutheran Christians have been keeping from ourselves for far too long is that reaching out to our neighbors with the love of Christ is fun. And this summer, the Lutherans at Saint Matthew are having a blast being Jesus' hands and feet in Logan through these Kindness Outreaches!

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