Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Free Granola Bars and an Angry Hot Dog Man

Yesterday (July 6), I (Chris) had the opportunity to do servant evangelism in the downtown area of Rochester with the church plant that I am working with here (more info about that one to come later). All-in-all, it was a good experience. The only set-backs were that the weather was abnormally hot for Rochester and that we were chased away by a hot dog vendor.

When Elliott, the church planter, told me, prior to yesterday, that we would be going downtown and handing out free granola bars with information cards to go with them, I immediately revisited the memories of the last time I handed out granola bars in the Northeastern region of this great country...

...[side story]: It was my freshman year at Southern Miss and I was with 50-something students from the our BSU in Boston, Mass. We divided up and found ourselves among some of the elite college students in America, such as the students of Harvard, MIT, and Boston University. If you know me, you know that I don't really hunt or even act like I do. But for some reason that previous Christmas, I was given a hand-made Mossy Oak hunting jacket from one of my dad's cousins (my dad got a matching jacket as well). Then for some reason, I thought it would be a good idea for me to bring this jacket along as my only big jacket to Boston in March on a mission trip...don't ask why...I just did. And did I ever pay for it. I would stand on the corner of a street and attempt to hand out granola bars with a piece of paper attached to it. Who in their right mind would take a "free" granola bar from a complete stranger wearing a camouflaged jacket and a wool cap in the middle of one of the largest cities in the US? You guessed it...not very many...

So, with that thought in mind, I made sure not to wear anything that would scare people away! In fact, I was quite successful. I gave nearly 100 granola bars and cards in the span of 45 minutes. I met a lady who is looking for a church to get involved with, and was able to give to the hungry and brighten someone's day.

Elliott and one of the summer missionaries did not have as good of luck. In short, they were chased off by a hot dog vendor, who said they were not allowed to mess with his territory. He said that he had rights to sell food on that whole block and that he would call the cops if they did not leave. They moved across the street and down a bit, but he ran over and complained that they were still not allowed there either. Elliott did not want to cause a scene, so he moved along, but it really put a damper on the spirit of service. Despite, the complication, they were able to truly feed the hungry and have great conversation with a guy, who would not have been able to buy a hot dog anyway. So praise God for that. (FYI: Elliott talked with a street cop about the situation and found out that we actually are well within our rights to hand out free food anywhere along the public sidewalks).

Please pray for the efforts of Elliott Sneed, his family, and Discovery Church in Greece, NY. Pray that we will find a location to meet, and that souls will come to know God's love and grace. Please pray for the spiritual starvation that fills the Rochester area.

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