Stories from Recipients
Simple Pancake Breakfast Changes a Heart
"I just wanted to tell you thank you for what you are doing, I am just a nobody... going through severe crisis in my life, single with two children. I took my son to his soccer game today and your group was there...
"Let me give you some history first... I have been living day-to-day, trying to just make it through the day being happy if my children got one full meal. This morning, we got up: I had to explain to them that once again, I didn't have anything to give them for breakfast. They understood but I knew they were very hungry.
"When we got to the soccer game at Abby Christian School, there was a group there that were having a free pancake breakfast and car wash. My children were both so excited to have a full meal and when a young boy handed me a soda and said, ‘Jesus loves you,’ I just about broke into tears. It may have seemed menial to some but I have to tell you: there is no way that I can tell you what kind of faith you have restored to my life.
"God is real and does watch over even the worst of us. I have not gone to church in 15 years and have always been bitter at Churches, but this one simple "pancake breakfast" has made me change my whole way of thinking and I will be seeking out a church that I feel comfortable going to. So thank you from me and my children."
Reconnecting With Faith
“I just wanted to let you know about an exciting result from last year's Love Abbotsford. At Christmas, I saw an old neighbour at South Abbotsford Church's Christmas concert—she was singing in the choir. I was shocked to see her there, as she had written off Christianity because of her ‘religious’ upbringing. But now she's involved, her kids are connected, and she's open again after many years.
“Last week I met her sister-in-law and I asked her how in the world this happened. She told me it was because of a pop can and a Love Abbotsford card. With the upcoming Love Abbotsford event I thought you should know what a blessing you, the organizers and participants are to the city."
"We were in Abbotsford for an eye doctor appointment last Saturday and several friendly people gave us pop, popcorn and hotdogs. Just wanted to say that I think this was an effective way to share your message about God's love. It certainly made my husband and I re-think our opinions about churches in general. How inspiring that so many people were willing to give their time to share with others. Thank you!"
God Is Taking Care of Me
“Love Abbotsford has provided the outward focus that is central to our local church. The one-time event led to a weekly outreach opportunity in front of our church. Because of our location, we thought it would make sense to pass out pop and Love Abbotsford cards to the cars stuck in rush hour traffic. It could at least be a chance to plant some seeds. One Friday evening after doing the usual outreach with my two youngest sons, I received a call from a woman who wanted to fax me a note. This is what it said:
“’Dear brothers, I am writing this letter to let you know that the pop with the card you gave me was very nice. The message in the little card was so powerful and it meant a lot to me. Before I got your card I was so depressed because I felt that God had forgotten about me because I have been looking for a job for two months and I’ve had no luck. After reading the card it changed my life. It made me feel and know that God was with me and taking care of me. Thank you and God bless you.’
“Needless to say that my sons and I were extremely excited when we read the fax and realized that maybe we were doing more that just planting seeds by being involved in servant evangelism through Love Abbotsford.”
Todd Martin, Pastor
Harvest Christian Fellowship
Free from Drugs
“As we were setting things up in Jubilee Park to serve breakfast on Sunday morning, a fellow by the name of Dan rode up to us on a bike and asked directions to a church in the area (he had only been here a couple of weeks from Ontario). We told him about Global Harvest church just around the corner and invited him to stay and have breakfast. He said that would be great. After breakfast, two volunteers named Cheryl and Earl went to Global Harvest with Dan.
“As Cheryl sat down in church, she noticed that Dan was there sitting in another area. The Lord gave her a strong impression to pray, that there was a battle on for Dan's soul. She obeyed.
““During the worship music part of the service, Pastor Mike Bullet suddenly got up and interrupted the service, stopped the music and told everyone to sit down, adding that he doesn't usually do something like that. He said there was a call on someone to be saved and for them to come forward, and so Dan got up and accepted the Lord!
“Dan later said to us that as he came in and sat down something came over him that he could not describe. As Mike spoke, it was as if someone pushed him out of his chair to respond. He has since stated that his desire to use drugs is completely gone and he is feeling great. A couple of people who know him have asked what has happened to him. They can see that there is a noticeable change in him. That's the power of Jesus.
“The adventure of Jesus continued the following weekend. On Saturday, Dan came over in the morning, as we went looking for some used furniture and an apartment with him. By noon, he had a full bedroom suite, couch with recliners, lamps, coffee tables ready to go. All that for $60, thanks to manager John and the MCC.
"We had lined up three appointments to look at apartments. We prayed that the first one we would go to would be the one for him. And yes, God provided. It turned out be absolutely perfect for him. The landlady was a sweet woman who dropped the rent by $25/month simply because she felt led to do it. She gave him a TV, phone, kitchen table and some chairs, as well as some kitchen stuff, pots & pans, etc. He was completely moved in by Sunday afternoon.
"It all came together so well that it would not have been even imaginable without God in control. In addition, there was the fact that he had already paid rent for July at the place he was living. After prayer, he made the phone call. He got half a month rent back as well as the full damage deposit. To say that Dan was stunned about all this would be putting it mildly! He gives all praise to God and wants to follow him whole-heartedly.”
Stories from Participants
Unity Is Growing
"We had a lot of rain so we had our celebration/worship time inside. We told stories of the day and wrapped up by watching the video footage. We had to move the carnival indoors but that was fine.
"We cleaned cars, had BBQs, etc. in the rain and I think people were even more impressed because of the circumstances. Thank you for introducing us to this! Some of the new churches who came on this year found that it has energized their people for evangelism and generally encouraged them. Others want us to visit their churches to help them in the area of worship... so unity is growing!"
Love Your Neighbour, Yellowknife-Style
"I just wanted to thank you again for the vision of Love Your City. We had our event, Love Yellowknife, and it was awesome! Our weather was fabulous (which is a miracle in itself!) and everyone took the Kindness Explosion on with all their heart. Every project went well, but some did stand out that we would definitely do again, like giving out dog treats! Everyone took one for their dog even if they didn't want something for themselves. We also used coupons for free ice cream cones and coffees and went into the business' downtown where retailers were busy working. I believe they felt God's love in this act of kindness.
"May this be just the beginning of us getting out of our churches and going to the people God loves so much and sharing the Good News of Jesus with them. I could go on and on as it was a tremendous day but I won't. Thanks again for all the ideas and allowing us to use your logos. We are looking forward to next year’s event already!"
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
"Love South Delta was an amazing event. The unity of the seven churches coming together to worship, fellowship, and then to serve our Lord by loving and blessing our community had a very positive effect on all. We have agreed that next year we look forward to the 15 churches in South Delta ministerial being part of this. Thank you for the vision and for all your help. God bless you as you continue to serve."
South Delta, BC
No Strings Attached
“One of our congregants is a teacher in a bilingual elementary school here in Abbotsford and she told me this story that happened in the staff lunch room of the school.
“As the staff were eating on Monday at noon, they were discussing the fact that there were lots of white T-shirted people all over the city handing things out to people. One lady, a vice-principal (not a Christian), began to gush over the fact that at one intersection she was offered a Coke and she kept expecting the person to preach at her and she remarked that it was amazing that there ‘were no strings attached--it was wonderful!’ She just kept saying how amazing it was that her suspicions about them going to give a sermon along with the handout were unfounded because they were doing it for free.
“One other teacher made a negative comment about some kids not being safe at an intersection. The woman vice principal jumped in again as our advocate saying ‘oh no, I stopped and saw the instruction sheets these people were operating with and they were quite specific how not to be preachy and how to be safe’ and then she reiterated her amazement at the grace shown her. The Christian teacher who told me this was just smiling inside and praising God for the good outreach!”
“We had a great Love Sackville event again this year for the second time. We had 9 churches involved and a Christian school. About 200 people joined together for the prayer walk Friday night down the main street of our community, led by people carrying a large cross.
“On Saturday people in the community were once again overwhelmed by the kindness shown them as they received one thing after another. We had a car wash, interior car cleaning, garbage pick-up, hotdog, juice, cotton candy giveaways, face painting and a family fair. People from the various churches enjoyed working together. The weather was beautiful. We met at 3p.m. for celebration service and to tell stories of the day—how our lives and others were touched.”
Gateway Community Church, Sackville, NS
The Best Thing My Church Has Ever Done Locally
“Our project was wonderful! We ended up with a budget of about $650. We went to this co-op housing unit that has a lot of single moms. I bought a mobile basketball hoop to set up. I also bought $140 worth of apples oranges and honeydew melons. We collected a whole pile of good used clothing and brought that as well. Lynn brought pop and freezies and watermelon. My Mom brought strawberry shortcake.
“There were some good games, bubbles flying everywhere, sidewalk chalk, face painting. Lots and lots of people turned up. We had close to 40 from our church, and three from Sutherland. We served out 80 pieces of shortcake. We put the fruit in bags and went door to door giving it out and inviting people to the party. We had music playing from our P.A. system.
“Some good stuff happened: One of the men in the unit thanked us several times. He kept saying, ‘You've put smiles on the faces of these kids. And they don't smile very much.’ The last time, he said this he was kneeling on the sidewalk in the pouring rain. One woman who was being given a freezie remarked, ‘I haven't been loved in a very long time.’
“One of our volunteers was giving away watermelon. He approached a young mom, and she stuffed a bag full and remarked, ‘We didn't have any food in the house; now we'll eat watermelon!’ Our volunteer subsequently gave her a bag of hot dogs and buns as well.
“There were several Iranian people who hung out through the whole party, and many First Nations. This was a great joy to me, because I am particularly concerned for these two groups.
“And the weather! It threatened to rain when we first started, but the rain held off until 5:55, five minutes before we were scheduled to stop. One little girl said, ‘What time is it?" When she was told it was 5:45, she said, ‘Oh no! The party's going to end! And we were having so much fun!’
“In short, this was the best thing my church has ever done locally. Oh yeah, and on Sunday morning an Iranian family from the co-op visited our church service. It was their first time ever in a church!"
Vineyard Church, Love North Shore, North Vancouver, BC
Everyone Got Involved
“Our car wash/doughnut giveaway was a big success!! I don't know how many cars we had, but at some point, our washers were struggling to keep up! It started out very slowly, and a few of our people went up to the mall parking lot with flyers to advertise the car wash (and doughnuts as incentive). A few of us stood at the intersection with big signs.
“After a while, people started taking us up on the free car wash—they couldn't believe it was FREE. ‘What is it for?’ they kept asking. Pedestrians stopped in for doughnuts and pop and it was a festive atmosphere. The weather was perfect, just as we prayed for last night. We had 36 volunteers: 20 adults, 2 teens, 14 children. Even our 3-year-olds washed cars!”
Westlynn Baptist, Surrey, BC
The Rain Held Off
"Saturday, it was forecasted to rain, so we went prepared. We had five groups of seven or eight people passing out pop at the Skytrain station, certain intersections, by the grocery store, and at Bear Creek Park. They passed out their pop is less than an hour! And we had one group going door-to-door doing car washes. Later we did a short car wash at our church as well. And praise God, the rain did not come until we had finished everything and packed up.
“We had 50 people from our church participating, plus five youth from nearby Fleetwood International Baptist, and six summer missionaries from the States."
Surrey Chinese Baptist, Surrey BC
More Blessed to Give Than to Receive
“We had a blast for Love Ridge Meadows! The High Way Church did a car wash/BBQ, like last year. They had a good number in spite of the rain, with many good exchanges with people.
“Our church (Generations Christian Fellowship) had a team delivering five food hampers, a team went and totally cleaned a house, which turned into a larger project with other needs involving three churches, a team picked up trash down a busy street, a team did bathroom cleanup in the downtown business core, and another gave out cokes. So much fun!
“One participant wrote: ‘We took advantage of this opportunity to love Ridge Meadows. We cleaned out the stock of popsicles and freezies in many of the city's major grocery stores, and then gave them to unsuspecting people in the Albion Ferry lineup and at the Pitt Meadows' Day celebration; no strings attached. With the popsicle or freezie came nothing but a smile—not even a church bulletin or invitation to an upcoming event! We simply blessed people showing Christ's love through our actions. Though the purpose was to bless others, the youth that participated were equally blessed. All in all, a great day!’”
“My church was handing out teddy bears at our local hospital. I had no idea that God would literally rip my heart out of my comfort zone and rebuild it with the desire and compassion for the lost. My smile faded quickly as my friend and I stepped into the pediatric ward. We went to this one room where this little seven-year-old boy was all hooked up to machines and had tubes coming out of his nose. I looked into his eyes and you see a deep sadness that really no words can explain it. We introduced ourselves and explained what we were doing. His mom said that she had no money to pay for the teddy bear and when we said it was free she was dumbfounded. We then asked her if we could pray for her son and she grabbed my arm pleading " YES YES YES PLEASE YES!!"
“This experience awoke me from my slumber of being a Christian. It gave me such a deep desire beyond any ache to show God's love to the lost.
“Jesus changed me.”
God's Kindness Expressed Through Us
“Friday night, we had our Love Cowichan kick-off evening—with about 500 people of all ages attending a worship celebration and commissioning in the city square. It was the most amazing experience—even surpassing our Marches for Jesus celebrations! There was a real anointing upon the worship, prayers and message such as I have never experienced before. I was asked to talk about why we are doing Love Cowichan—speaking about servant evangelism, and about the kindness of God that leads people to repent (Romans 2:4). That same kindness (God's kindness) is expressed through us—to the people of the Cowichan Valley.
"For Saturday's Kindness Explosion we had an estimated 600-700 people involved in various projects in and around Duncan, wrapping up with a celebration back at the city square. It feels so right to be involved in a Love Your City event, and we look forward to great things from God not only here—but as we hear of what God is doing in other places."
Bruce Stott and Glyn Easson
Duncan, Vancouver Island, BC
Divine Appointment at the Hotdog Stand
“The Love Quesnel event was a great success again this year. There were 9 churches and over 200 people involved. We had a great time of worship and prayer on Friday night. One of the Pastors shared about the power of Christ's love displayed on the Cross. Our "kindness explosion" included two free carwashes, free pop, water, hotdogs, popcorn, cotton candy, facepainting and balloons. We also handed out carnations to the elderly in rest homes, mowed lawns, cleaned washrooms, washed windshields and picked up garbage. Yes, and we were blessed with great weather too! The rain started at 2:00 p.m., just as we finished cleaning up the last event.
“Saturday night we had a celebration service and what a celebration it was! It was an emotional time, sharing testimonies of God's power that we had seen throughout the day. I'll share the best one:
“On Friday night, there was a family camping just outside of Quesnel on their way through the area looking for work. They had been on the road for some time with little money for food. In desperation, the mother cried out to God for help. The next morning, while driving though Quesnel, they came across the Love Quesnel free hotdog and pop stand along the side of the highway. The family had their fill of hotdogs and were able to take a couple dozen wieners and buns with them because we had so many (that's another story).
“While there, they asked if there was a pastor they could talk to. Well, as a matter of fact, one of the associate pastors was there enjoying a hotdog! He had decided not to volunteer but wanted to come and check out what was going on. God brought that family and that pastor to that hotdog stand for a reason. The pastor took the family to the church to set them up with some money from the benevolent fund. He shared the gospel with them and the father, mother and both kids got saved!
"I can't express how important it is for us to get out of our churches, get together with other believers and give LOVE!"
Acts of Kindness Have Year-long Impact
"This was the second year for Love Portage and God seems to be using this event to bring the churches of Portage together, and touch the lives of people of this city. It is strange that just before this year's event we started hearing stories from last year. One person who had received a kindness act last year had the Love Portage Kindness Card on their fridge for the whole year and often thanked God for His love whenever she saw it and she made sure her church was involved this year. There are lots of stories from this year too, but it is amazing how these intentional acts of kindness affect people in ways that we do not know.
“This year there were 13 churches involved as this small city was invaded with about 350 people clad in white tees with all kinds of kindness acts—car washes, drink giveaways, free barbeques, and one church had a whole street blocked off for a street party. It was great to even hear people say things while receiving an act of kindness like ‘I know God loves me.’ Others were just dumbfoundedly impacted. This awesome event has greater effects in this city than we will know. We are looking forward to next year’s Love Portage!”
Prairie Vineyard, Portage la Prairie, MB
Expressing God's love to people from all faiths
"Just wanted to let you know that Love Your City has happened in Darjeeling, India two years in a row now. God has really used this event to unite the churches that are present in Darjeeling to powerfully express His love to people who belong to Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. It has been incredible!
This is a wonderful vision that God is truly using to bless cities around the world!
Unity in Adversity
“Love Airdrie (Alberta) has been so special to this city. For years our ministerial rarely met and have had little to do with each other. Love Airdrie and our Chautauqua Christian event have rekindled the interest in working together and we can definitely thank the lord for this. Recently we had a shooting in Airdrie (which never happens) when a step-dad killed the son, tried to kill the girlfriend and then took his own life. The house was a disaster area to say the least. So the churches of Airdrie got together and raised $60,000 to renovate the place to help with the family's pain and suffering. The church of Airdrie is actively looking for opportunities to show God's love through acts of kindness and we thank you for the spark.
“This year we added another church and ordered one hundred more shirts to raise our total in two years to almost 500 (a lot for our small town of 15,000!)
“One story from this year's event is of a trucker that went to a car wash to wash his rig, which usually costs 350 bucks and 3 hours labor. Some Love Airdrie Christians intervened and washed his rig for free and it only took an hour! Just like last year, we hit every area of the city with acts of kindness."
Patrick Green, Pastor
Living Spring Church
The Talk of the Town
“This is the second year we have done Love Sackville (Nova Scotia) and it was an amazing weekend of blessing to all the participants. When brothers and sisters are praying and working together it brings pleasure to God's heart and releases blessing (Psalm 133).
“The comments of people last year who were blessed by the event made doing it again this year an automatic decision for all the churches involved. People in the community were blown away by the acts of kindness and by the fact that so many churches were working together. It was the talk of the town! We were even asked to repeat it as part of the annual Canada Day celebration. It has opened a door. We are no longer seen as being self-serving clubs but as having a genuine love for our community.
“While some churches are often out in the community doing things, many of the congregations who participated in Love Sackville had never done anything like this. Many churches never get out of their buildings. The Friday night prayer walk down the main street of our community is quite a sight as this procession of hundreds of people— children, teens and adults of all ages follow the cross from one end of town to the other. I am excited about a generation of youth and children growing up in churches where it is normal to take the gospel out into the streets in acts of love with prayer.
“The Love Your City event has given the pastors and leaders in the community a very tangible sense of being on the same team. Teenagers saw school friends they never knew were Christians. People began to see the church as much larger than their particular congregation or denomination and it has not only broken down walls between churches, it has become a bridge for relationship and ministry. >
“Prayer changes the spiritual climate of a region and we have sensed that the unity, prayer and love exhibited through this event is helping to further change the spiritual climate of our community.”
Paul Francis, Pastor
Gateway Community Church, Sackville, NS
Evangelism in Action
"I couldn't be more ecstatic about the Love Your City event. I speak about it wherever I am doing conferences. This is the very heart of the Lord in so many ways—it is bound to be a great success. I feel honored to be a part of this event that God so obviously inhabits."
Steve Sjogren, Launching Pastor and author of Conspiracy of Kindness
The Birth of a Movement
“Several years ago, while living in Scotland, someone prayed that I would go to B.C. and see the birth of a movement. A few years later, I was working with Steve Sjogren at the Cincinnati Vineyard when Kevin Boese phoned and asked if I thought they could pull off a Love Abbotsford in just 3 months? I remember thinking, ‘this is a God thing’, and said ‘yep’. And I had to go up to Canada to check it out.
“On the day of the event, we woke to the sound of pouring rain. It continued to rain up to the time to go out to serve the community, but then amazingly the rain cleared. It was great to see people from all denominations wearing the same T-shirts, and serving their community in practical ways. Hundreds of believers participated and thousands of people were served on the day.
“For me, the highlight was the concluding evening Celebration. Over a thousand people joined together to worship. Needless to say the atmosphere was charged. Several local worship leaders led the evening of worship, dance and celebration. The weekend helped establish a network of church leaders who have committed themselves to reach their city.
“The Love Your City event has given the pastors and leaders in the community a very tangible sense of being on the same team. Teenagers saw school friends they never knew were Christians. People began to see the church as much larger than their particular congregation or denomination and it has not only broken down walls between churches, it has become a bridge for relationship and ministry.
“I believe I have seen the birth of a movement. It is my prayer and hope Love Your City will sweep all of Canada.”
The Vineyard, Dayton, Ohio
“The whole community conspired to make every resident feel loved. When I knocked on his door, one man told me: ‘Someone has already called by to give me some baking!’ As I headed off down the street, I saw a window-washing team, with buckets and squeegees heading for his front door! The fire department was offering a free car wash at the main intersection. ‘What’s the catch?’ enquired one motorist, passing through town. ‘You are telling me it’s free? Love your neighbour? Where I come from, it’s screw your neighbour!’
“House-to-house prayer produced the usual surprises... If God said to you: ‘I love Logan Lake and I really love you’, what would you say? A lady dissolved into tears, quite unable to speak, overwhelmed by God’s love for her in the middle of her own tragic circumstances.
“At 5,000 feet, Logan Lake is the highest community in BC. It rained on Saturday, then it turned to snow, then back to rain. The open-air concert and barbecue was soggy and even the hot dogs were shivering. But with stubborn determination the event persisted, loving Logan Lake in the teeth of adversity.
“The Saturday evening event, followed up by the combined Sunday morning service drew in a number of locals who never attend church. The invitation to come to the Lord’s table, to participate in his loving sacrifice, was received with tears by some of these visitors. God is at work and his love for Logan Lake is unstoppable.”
Justyn Rees, Abbotsford Pastor
Love Logan Lake participant
Evangelism in Action
"What an amazing response I heard as we topped up windshield washer fluid and cleaned windshields at the Petro-Can with our youth on a Love Mission day. A customer commented to the employee at the till that she wasn't used to people doing nice things for her. When I told the youth about that comment, they were very surprised and quite sad for the lady. They were also very encouraged that they could brighten her day. How awesome to make a positive impact on someone's life!"
Paul Wicki, Associate Pastor
Northside Community Church, Mission, BC
It's Easy to Show God's Love
“Being part of Love Abbotsford was an awesome experience for our church! In washing cars for free and handing out free Coke through car windows, we learned anew how easy it is to show God's love in a practical way. Our involvement in Love Abbotsford in June was the spark plug that ignited another Love Abbotsford event we did in November (leaf raking and a hot chocolate giveaway).
“Someone touched by that sent us a letter telling us of a needy family of six who could use some help at Christmas. We were able to put a Christmas hamper together, deliver it and see the mother moved to tears over this act of kindness. Love Abbotsford is changing lives—ours included!”
Cam Taylor, Pastor
Mountain Ridge Community Church, Abbotsford, BC
Holy Spirit on the Move
“Being involved in Love Abbotsford has confirmed to me that the Holy Spirit is definitely on the move in our city in a big way. Love Abbotsford is incredible for two reasons: Number one, walls are coming down and churches are starting to cooperate in action, not just words. Number two, the public is starting to once again believe that some things, like genuine kindness and God's grace, still really are free.”
Matt Baker, Pastor
Worldwide Church of God, Abbotsford, BC