What about Kindness?

Interesting time this week. 
Two hundred people headed out in small groups to experiment reaching others guided by the impressions they received. Pretty amazing things happened as people jumped out of their comfort zone and connected with surprised people.

One group went to The Pub, a small restaurant that is fashioned after a British pub. The group began to talk with a waitress and told her that God had given them clues about her life. What they gave her wasn’t what what impressed her, what got her was that the God of the Universe knew her, and spoke to some strangers about her life. She had never ever thought that God was a now God, and that He was interested in her life. Amazing!

The three questions each group asked were:
Who? Who do you want us to speak to? Male, female, boy, girl. 
What? What are they wearing? What do they look like? What encouragement do you want to give us to say?
Where? Where is this person or people? Where do you want us to go? Show us the place, area or location where you want us to go? What does the location look like?

Praying and asking for the info, they compared their prayer notes listing person, place and and headed out. Some took small gift bags (bags filled with garonal bars, hershie kisses, candy, peanuts etc. and a card as it is February we chose or Kiss Dayton card) to give to the people they contacted to help soften the initial contact. Their approach, “Hi, we are experimenting with encouragement and we think we have a gift for you. Here’s a gift, and we have another gift for you.”

Once arriving at the location they began to look for the clues. Some people who joined the experiment experienced amazing connections. Some others not so much. Some were learning that the approach is all important. One lady, kept walking up to people and asking, “Can we pray for you?” Startled people of course said, “No.” Her coach pulled her aside and encouraged her to watch how she approached people. Success, people see, people do.

My impression: Go to Olive Garden, North.
I headed to the Olive Garden. I knew Pattie my wife should go and a couple of friends. So I phoned the couple and invited them to a late lunch. They graciously dropped everything and joined us at the restaurant. When we arrived a bubbly, energized waitress met us. Then I noticed that a key volunteer couple had arrived and were seated near us. 

Throughout the lunch I kept my ears, my eyes and heart open hoping to hear some insight, some inkling, or impression or a whisper from Heaven. I heard nothing, nada. 

So at the end of the meal. I thanked the waitress and told her we had a small gift for her. We gave her the two gift bags. As soon as we gave her the bags she visibly lit up. She laughed with excitement and went around the table joyfully hugging all of us exclaiming, “This is the nicest thing that anyone has done for me! I can’t believe it!” I asked, “Really, the nicest thing?” Laughing, she said, “Yes, I’ve never had anything this good happen to me at work.” She, left and shared the gifts with the other staff and later came back and said, “The girl who ate the granola bar was especially happy and says thank you.” We were stunned. We talked about the experience. It was amazing how a small act of kindness had such an effect and created an atmosphere of joy and thanksgiving in a restaurant. We tipped big and headed out. 

I stopped by the key volunteer couple’s table and thanked them for their service. They replied, “We don’t do anything much.” I laughed and told them that they were way too humble. They are a couple who consistently helps us serve others over and over again.  They then began to thank me for the small gift card they had received as a thank you gift for their service at Christmas. Of course they said, “You didn’t have to do that.” I mentioned it was merely a small token of our appreciation and they deserved far much more. 

Then they dropped the bomb, “We have served in churches for over 25 years and that was the first time someone from any church ever said thank you in such a meaningful way.” I was dumbstruck. Really, the first time they were thanked in a practical way, by a church for their service. The small gift of appreciation cost us so little. 

As a result of the lunch I realized once again, it really doesn’t take much to touch a heart, just a small thing given with great love.  I was also encouraged that I had indeed received instructions from heaven, Olive Garden North.

I’m so very glad I responded.

Here another story from our adventure:Brittni Hill and team.
McDonalds, February 1, 2014

During our prayer time, our outreach group received several clues from Jesus about our treasure hunt: a girl with a purple shirt with a red heart an McDonalds were two of them. So, we walked into McDonalds with our gift bags. As we were going to our seats, one of the workers commented how she would like to be in our group because we had candy, and then she walked outside. 

After setting our things down, James and I felt that we should go outside and offer our goodie bag and prayer to the woman. However, we couldn’t find her! So we started to walk around the building, and just then a little girl came running out of her car, wearing a red and purplish shirt with a heart on it. As we introduced ourselves, the two women, Michelle and Tara seemed less than excited to see us. But I asked if we could give our gift bag to the little girl, Erica. They said yes thank you, and then I asked of there was anything for which they needed prayer. 

Michelle looked me in the eye and started to cry. She had just come from the doctors where she had to get a TB test for a new job. The test had come back positive. Her husband was from Mexico, and they had traveled there many times. A few years ago, her daughter had TB and had to undergo six months of treatment. She wanted prayer! 

I asked if I could put my hand on the upraised skin of her arm. Then we prayed and commanded the TB to go and her body to be healed in Jesus name. She was so thankful that Jesus sent us to her. 

After our encounter at McDonalds, she went for a chest x-ray. That evening she sent me a message. Her x-ray came back negative! She was completely healed of TB! And she was overwhelmed by Jesus love, and promised that she would share the love we shared with her. She plans to come visit the Vineyard sometime soon. Jesus is amazing

Good deeds, creates good will, that opens hearts to the good news. 
Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson The Externally Focused Church.

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