Christine – I finally got outside and passed out roses. I felt kind of like a sniper. Like, where are the people. There’s someone. Let’s go get them! So I passed out some roses. It was a lot of fun. I like seeing people shocked when I ask them if I can give them a gift. Because when they see you on the street, they try to run past you because they think you are selling roses.
We ran into a woman that I have been praying for the last few days. She told me that the testimony that I gave last night really inspired her to a new tenderness to her own daughter that she had never had before.
Yara: Today we went to two schools and were allowed to leave roses with the staff. The elementary school worked on the Hearts of Hope project, placing encouraging messages on paper hearts all around Kenora. So it was neat to hear when Sally and Jurgen came back from the District Office that they people in charge understood that the roses were about reconciliation. And that they gave us permission to give them to the administrative staff and to the teachers and support staff at both the elementary and high school campuses.
Then we drove down the road a little ways and saw a First Nations School. So we parked and Jurgen and Sally went inside to ask permission. Lura and I prayed in the truck for favor. And they came out saying, “Come in! Bring some roses.” And we were able to give roses to the staff and the students. They were very happy. They asked what it was for. We were able to tell them, “It is a gift for you—to say that God loves you.” Praise God for that! Then we went into town by the Sunset Grille and had a lot of fun giving out roses to people in cars by the waterfront. It never gets old to see a person’s reaction when you say, “It’s a free gift!” They seem very surprised and they also seem surprised it’s not for a donation even. You can see their face change when they find out it is absolutely free, no strings attached.
Stephanie: Worship was awesome. Seems to be every day. It’s really good. A group of us went to town to pass roses out at a homeless shelter and there weren’t that many people there. So Joan and Sunny stayed there and interacted with the people. Christine, Ammi, and I just walked down the street to the parking lot of the Dollarama store and passed out roses there. And then again, the reactions were similar to what Yara shared—surprised that it was free and a gift for them. And then, on the way back, I stopped at an insurance office and went in and inquired if I could give a rose to the receptionist and the staff. So I left 13 roses there and invited them to the concert. Returned to the shelter and then we all went to the Sunset Grille and passed out roses there.
Jurgen: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank You, Lord! A couple days ago I asked you for prayer for Friday for a special meeting for my family. Everything worked out wonderfully and I am still in awe! God is good! Thank you for praying! It was a joy again today to venture out without knowing for sure where we were going and if we would be welcomed. We were very blessed that we were allowed to give roses away to many staff and support staff of the Catholic elementary and high schools. As we were giving roses away we had some very neat and short encounters, where people expressed their gratitude.
Dave: Yesterday I really appreciated Christine’s candor in the presentation we did. And the whole thing, Joan’s worship, it was good. There was a moment during worship that helped me really focus on the Lord. I was kind of out of sorts, but I really had a tender moment where I was able to stand there and raise my hands and felt the Lord really in that place. I also had a lovely time with my wife. We circled the auditorium and we held hands and prayed for everything, and I could feel the unity with my wife and everything.
Today God showed me something. I decided that I was sleepy—really sleepy and would rather sleep than go to breakfast. So Yara genty asked me if I was going to go to town with everyone. And I said “I’m too tired. I ‘m not going.” So I don’t know what time it was but I had a really bad dream and then I woke up and said, “Ok. I’m sorry God. I should have gone with everyone.” By no means am I saying that God gave me the dream. But by not going when I should have gone, I made myself vulnerable to attack. And the team was gracious enough to let Jurgen come back and get you. Then I gave out 3 roses. And then after that we had free time and I had a good time hanging out with my wife.
Ammi: Something that stood out to me giving out roses today was hearing one guy say that he wanted more roses because he wanted to share God’s love with his friends. He told me he wanted to give roses to his friends and say it was from him. So I told him, “No. You tell them it is from God because you show His love through you.” He said, “I’m like a worker.” Then Christine said, “Yeah, you’re God’s worker.” His face changed and he looked like he was going to cry. And then we saw him turn around and there was a lady walking by and he handed her the rose saying it was because God loves her. That was awesome!
Another memorable experience was when I handed out a couple roses to a family in a parking lot. As I walked away the lady tells me, “Wait, there’s another lady over there with a baby who wants the roses.” So I walked over there and it was a native woman with her toddler. She asked me what were the roses for. And I explained to her that it was to remind her that she is loved by God. And then I handed one to her child. It was nice to talk to her little boy. He seemed comfortable with me because he started to talk to me about his new sonic game. He grabbed the rose and smelled it and it was nice to see him smile. Then, as I was saying goodbye to the mother, she said thank you in her native language, “megwetch.”
Lura: I think what stood out to me the most was I was blessed by going to all the schools. I know when we were doing this work on the first Friday we saw all the hearts. Today we got to meet the man who was behind it. And he loved that we were doing the same thing for the same reason. And so he let us have access to two schools and the administration. And then he recommended we go to the Objibwe school. And it was really neat going there and hearing them talk in Objibwe. And so, when the teachers would get a rose they would say “megwetch,” which is thank you. And I would say, “Shalom.” And we both smiled.
Sunny: We had a good time giving out roses today. We went down to the docks where the float planes pick up the fish camp guys and they were kind of almost embarrassed that we were giving them roses, but they took them. We met a guy and his wife when they were paying for their parking and gave them roses and I guess they put them in the car and came back and said, “Wait, we want to talk to you.”
So they asked why were doing this. And then we told them we were just sharing that God loves them. And the man said, “Well, we’re atheists.” And I said, “God loves you.” And then he said, “I am not even sure what the word atheist means.” So I explained about A meaning “away from” and theist meaning a person who believes in God. And I said, “I think it takes a lot of faith to be an atheist.”
And he finally got a little twinkle in his eye. He was pulling my leg and then he said he was raised up Roman Catholic and I said, “God loves you too.” And he started in a little bit about Mary, the mother of Jesus. And I said, “Well, we all love and respect our mothers.” And he said, “Well, a lot of Protestants don’t like Roman Catholics.” And I said, “God loves you.” And he said he just wanted to find out where we were coming from and what we were about. And then Joan handed him a flyer, saying we were having a concert Saturday night. And he actually said that he and his wife may try to come.
While we walking around on our free time, shopping today, several shopkeepers asked if we were all done giving out roses. I said, “No. We’ve got more. We’re not done giving out roses.” Most of the people I talked to were just happy that this was going on. More than one person said, “We just need a little more love.”
Sally: We decided to split up into two groups. One group went to town and gave out roses at the homeless shelter and randomly around town and the other group, which I was part of, went to see if we could give out roses at the Catholic school and the indigenous school. We went to the administration office and they sent us to the district office to get permission. We spoke with a very kind man who had witnessed what we were doing around town and was touched by it.
He understood that our hearts were for reconciliation, as theirs are also. But the school director was firm about not letting us in without a full background check and that wasn’t possible in the short time we had. So the compromise was we could leave roses at the administration office for the elementary and high school staff of teachers and support staff. So we did that, trusting that God will speak to them through the cards and the people who received directly from us in both places. Afterward we drove to the native school and were allowed to give out roses to the students and teachers.
I was able to give out roses in one particular classroom, first to the teacher and then to the very young students who seemed quite interested in the roses. One little girl came up to me afterward and just hugged me. Made my day! The teacher reminded the children to thank me and they said in their language, “Megwetch.”
From there we drove to the waterfront to give out roses at the Sunset Grille during lunch as promised. They didn’t have a real crowd during lunch today but I came in a few times and gave out roses to the kitchen staff and customers who were interested. But I had an absolute blast giving out roses to people in their cars as they were coming or going. A lot of the guys would receive and rose and then hand it off to their girlfriend or wife in the car beside them after I said, “This rose is an expression of God’s love for you.” Several times when the man would give the rose to the woman with him I would give him another rose saying, “God loves you too, after all you are a human being also.” It reminded me a little bit of our time in Lodz, Poland and in Belfast when we stopped traffic. It was a series of quick exchanges and looks—I love that!
Joan: It has been my heart’s desire to go to the Homeless Shelter. Having met many of Kenora’s homeless it seemed important to connect again on their turf. Today the opportunity arose. I literally wanted to stay there all day. In the two hours we five team members had began by praying together on the way through the parking lot for connections to be Divine appointments. Inside the full time worker and a volunteer who were cooking lunch met us in the kitchen and welcomed us warmly asking questions about the project. I answered them and we were given free access to share with the people there and give then roses.
1. We gave roses to many in passing but I was drawn to listen at length to a young man who’s talking was disjointed and fast. He was quick to say he didn’t know many things about God though he grew up in a Baptist Church. He also had Catholic exposure and was very confused about what ‘religion ‘ wanted him to do. He had a small Pocket New Testament that he said he wished he could understand. I said a few things he may have received but he was unable to stay focused to really hear me. I felt our encounter with ‘ I. ‘ was to listen to his heart as his words were confusing. My impression was that He really was touched by people giving him time and a rose. Father God can reach onto a distracted heart and this is my prayer for him.
2. Then a met ‘W.’ (whom I met the first day) again and this time she threw her arms out to greet me saying with tears welling up “Thank you…. so much …. I’m going to go to the concert tomorrow. I’m so excited!” When I mentioned there would be opportunity to receive prayer afterwards she began to gently weep then she dried her eyes and and shared with a friend how much Jesus was going to help them kick the ‘habit’. Her faith was being voiced. I was so glad to hear her. We shared more about victory Jesus gives when we cry out in repentance and trust Him. She was hopeful and smiling and then hugged her friend and comforted him in hope. It was so cool to see her reaching out as on Day One I met her on the street and ‘W.’ was weeping in desperation saying, ‘ I need him, I need something’ and fell into my arms.
3. Then I saw a young man who overheard us having this interaction. ‘W.’ had been excitedly sharing with her friend how much encouragement she has found in ATOR this week.
In time I was lead to speak with this ‘observer on the fringe.’ I offered him a gift of a rose and he looked very pained and looked down unable to take it. I said, ‘ Its ok… but God loves you and He wants you to know that. ‘He was quiet. I asked, ‘May I speak a word of encouragement to you? ‘ He looked at me and nodded weakly. I said, ‘Jesus has given you a future and a hope. There is a new day ahead and He asks you to seek Him with all your heart. He loves you’ He said, holding his head low, ‘I’ve done something I can never take back and destroyed a persons life. How could anyone love me? He bowed right down to the floor. I bowed down on my knees with him and I waited for a word to speak and was given ‘ Have you ever heard the words Jesus spoke when he walked on the earth as s man?’
‘No’ He shared he had never learned about God. I asked if he would like to know some things Jesus said. ‘Yes’
I shared many words that Jesus spoke to His disciples and the broken. I shared how He came to deliver us from the works of the enemy. How the enemy is the one who seeks to kill, steal amd destroy and that Jesus came to give him life abundant. I shared how He forgives us when we confess our sin and takes away our shame healing our hearts of guilt and the pain of what we have done. He looked at me and listened as I told Him that Jesus was a real person and was alive; that He was God’s Son who came to reveal the true Character of God to us….. that He was crucified to extend us His mercy to deliver us from sin and the effects of it. ; How He rose from the dead to give us hope and a clean conscience. ; How if we confess our sins to Him He forgives even what seems impossible to forgive; I shared about the peace beyond understanding He wanted to give him; How He came not to judge the world but to save it; How he would take this burden from him if He asked Him to; How He would share a yoke with him and make it seem light to him (explaining a yoke to him) How He hears the broken hearted and understands their pain; How he healed my heart and many people I know… and How He would heal him. At one point I agreed with him that he could not undo what he had done to one person but he could seek God to heal his heart of this horror and then, one day, he could reach out with Gods love to 10,000 hurting people and bless them.
I shared how the devil wants him to give up and hate himself. But Jesus wants to restore Him to life. We were speaking of Father’s love and gentleness with us when we hurt. I asked him if he would like me to pray for him.
He stood up and said, ‘You have already helped me so much. I have much to find out and think about.’ I smiled and said that was ok and that I would pray in my heart for him then. He thanked me. This was a Divine appointment. Please pray He will meet Jesus and find forgiveness, comfort and fellowship. I told him that the other young man ‘I.’, had a little Bible and to ask him if he could borrow it… and to read the 1st 4 books. This I explained would speak of the things Jesus said and did on the earth as recorded by his friends
4. Later at the dock down town I had way too many wonderful appointments to recount. One Native man recieved the rose then proceeded to tell me with sad eyes of the multiple loses to death he had experienced. We prayed right there on the street as his friend stood by. Another spoke of his worshiping the Creator. I said I also believed God had created all and we marvelled together at the beautiful rose and our eyes that could see it.
After buckets of roses were given out I had one left. I prayed again as I had so many times….’ Who Lord? ‘
My attention went to two Teen aged First Nation girls. I approached them and they were curious. I said with a smile, ‘I have 1 rose and there are two of you. I need you both to place your hand on the stem. I’d like to give you this rose. It’s my last one and you are both loved and Father God wants you both to know that. ‘ They both smiled and giggled. They did both puy their hands on it and smiled. I said maybe they could divide up the peddles. They laughed.
When I let go it seemed the look of shame shadowed their faces and their heads dropped. Maybe recieving a gift of love was difficult as they considered this beautiful gift. I expressed the love of Jesus and how he died to bring us freedom and healing in our hearts, they both looked at me through watering eyes. I told them one at a time looking in their eyes how beautiful they are and how God loves them and is desiring them to know Him.
They were lingering with me and I shared about how Jesus heals our hurts and sets us free. Also I shared about the concert and how we would be available to pray for them about any hurt or need they might have.
Lastly a Young man .. raised in church but said found he remained empty so left the church. He said he didn’t know what to believe any more but I could see he was open. We talked about knowing Jesus as a real living and loving person… not just being religious as a duty and believing. We spoke about seeking HIM and how He promises to answer..
It was a powerful day and today I wished this tour would not end. There was such a wonderful reception of this gift and gesture of love today I believe this town will never be quite the same. A common response was, ‘Wow! Is that ever nice, for me? Ooo! thankyou!
I had a funny thought of how many wives, girl friends or mothers of street workers, fishermen, business owners, dinners and drivers would receive an unexpected red rose tonight
Rose petal or clown nose? Yara and Ammi know but aren’t telling