This is a trip report that Julie and I wrote for the AIM website.
We had another exciting ministry experience in Auckland today. Julie, Jessie, Joy and Rebecca traveled by train into the busyness to take the city by love. We began our journey by looking for our homeless friends, Paul and Vickie, but they were nowhere to be found. Instead of being disappointed, we looked for other opportunities to spread the love. We walked up to the University of Auckland campus and chose a well-traveled piece of sidewalk to chalk Bible verses on for all to see. This allowed us a chance to talk to passerby's about what we were writing and why we were there. We had several people stop and look, some with smiles, others with judgment, and a few with questions. One really cool thing was the Christians that stopped by and thanked us for our encouragement. After chalking for awhile, Joy made a sign that said "Free Prayer" and stood smiling waiting for people to respond. Ironically, someone did want prayer! A guy named Mana walked up and eagerly requested to be prayed for. What a cool opportunity! Rebecca proceeded to make a "Free Hugs" sign and was bombarded with people aching to be loved. We took this enthusiasm down to Victoria Park Market, a touristy shopping area (a good 20 minute walk!), and were a little disappointed by the lack of people. As we were leaving, we were stopped by a Frenchman named Greg who saw the "Free Hugs" sign. He eagerly hugged each of us and we got to chat with him for awhile. So perhaps the walk was worth it! We ended our time back on Queen Street, the busiest street in Auckland, by wrapping our arms around lonely people once again. What is so unique about this kind of ministry is that we may never know the impact we are having. But God does.