Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cake, Soda and Encouragement!

Our girls group did another outreach to our community!

After our outreach to the daycare center, the girls were enthusiastic to do something else to bless the people in the slum.

I shared with the girls about something I had seen recently.  Instead of taking up a financial offering, a church in Canada did a "reverse offering".  The church laid stacks of money on the alter and challenged the people to take the money, then go out on the streets and bless someone with that money.

When, I told the girls we were going to do this "reverse offering" in our group, they were super excited!  Each girl received 2 Brazilian Reais - which is equivalent to about 1 US dollar.  I encouraged them that alone, maybe they would not be able to do a lot with 2 Reais, but together they could do a lot with with the money.  
 But now, the question - What were the girls to do with this offering???

We began with prayer, asking God to lead us.  Then we went on a "silent" prayer walk around in the slum.  The girls could not talk to each other, but they were to pray and ask God to open their eyes to needs in the community.  We asked God to give us creative ideas in how to be a blessing and to put people on our hearts to bless.

When we got back to the classroom we made a list of ideas of ways we could show God's love to the needs we saw during our walk.  The girls were literally bursting to talk and eager to share their ideas!

Through our discussion we came to a conclusion on what our next outreach would be.  During the silent prayer walk we saw lots of people standing in the streets, working, talking with people and just sitting by the side of the road.  Some people looked down, discouraged or tired... We had the idea to do something nice to brighten the day of the people in community.
We decided to make a yummy cake and some simple encouraging cards then give these things out in the slum, along with a refreshing cup of cold soda.   As a group we went to the corner store and bought everything to make this outreach possible.  This was on Thursday morning, June 28th. We planned to actually do our outreach on Tuesday morning, July 3rd.

Tuesday morning, just five of our girls arrived in our group, but we went forward with our plan.

  We made a chocolate cake...

 Marianne, our wonderful volunteer from Holland, helping the girls with the cake.  She is such a blessing to our group!

The girls made cards, with words of encouragement and messages of love and hope.

Having a fruit snack before hitting the streets!  The girls also had a tiny piece of cake - to make sure it tasted good enough to share...

 We also prayed for the outreach time - that we could truly show the love and kindness of God to everyone we encountered. 
Once we were all set to go - we went out in the slum, all smiles to hand out free cake, soda and encouraging words of life!

A few people were shy to receive the blessing from us, but I believe that many people were blessed by our simple actions.

Handing out goodies at the corner barber shop.

"Loving your neighbor" has been a major theme in our group this year.  We have been teaching the girls that as we are loving and blessing our neighbor, we are also loving God through our actions.  We are pleasing and blessing God's heart as well.  A challenge we have given the girls for the next few weeks is to memorize this Bible verse, which speaks so powerfully about loving God and others.
"Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this... Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’   
 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 
There is no commandment greater than these.” 
 Mark 12:28-31

I must admit, I am extremely challenged by this verse and teaching about it has caused me to meditate on the powerful truths presented here, once again.  God has been encouraging me personally to love my neighbor, be a blessing to those around me, serve, surrender, lay down my rights and to live a life of love before my Lord.  

 Lord, give us all grace to learn what it means to really LOVE...

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