Love Distribution seeking volunteers
by Agnes Chung
Hugs, encouragement, prayers. We all need them – even more so in Vancouver, where social isolation ranks among one of the city’s leading challenges. Where does one find help in moments of need? Many non-church attenders may not be aware that support is available through Christian organizations in their area. This is where Love Distribution bridges the gap. A volunteer-based outreach, Love Distribution gets the word out through their nicely wrapped Love Package.
The package features a pocket-sized Gideon New Testament Bible and a short directory listing of nearby churches and Christian ministry programs that include Alpha, family and marriage support, Teen Challenge programs, prayer support, affordable food and clothing places, and others.
During the season of Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Thanksgiving, volunteers dress according to the season’s theme to offer Love Packages to the public. The concept began two Christmases ago after Erika Cardenas realized, on one of her Gideon high school Bible distribution trips, that kids would not take their free Bibles, which she describes as “the most important gift of their life!”
Wrapping the New Testament as a gift helps the receiver appreciate it as a special gift, according to Cardenas. “It’s a reminder of God’s precious love – of Jesus wrapping himself in our likeness (Phil 2:7), He understands our struggles and came as a redemptive gift to save humankind”.
In their first outreach, 400 packages were given away in about 15 minutes. “People were literally taking them out of our hands and boxes. The packages were clearly labelled ‘Free Bibles’,” says Cardenas.
This coming Christmas, the team plans to give away 3,000 Bibles (doubling that of their recent Hallelujah Night giveaway on October 31) and 300 children’s devotionals. Like past Christmas outreaches, volunteers will dress up as angels, proven to be a real attention grabber. “It was a huge hit; as they were driving by, people stopped and got out of their cars to take pictures of us. It’s all about helping the unbeliever come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and to be aware of the many amazing ministries available to them as they start their journey,” she shares.
“We would love to bring a revival into Greater Vancouver and across our nation. Tons of help is needed in various areas: communications and Social Media, video making, Bible wrapping, prayer warriors, evangelists who can share the gospel in a loving way to the audience who has never heard the gospel. Ten to fifteen volunteers would be wonderful! Volunteers work in teams of five to ten people. We meet on Saturdays to wrap gifts, and go out during all the major holidays,” explains Cardenas.
The group meets at a downtown Vancouver location. Additional to gift-wrapping, there is praise time, food, and opportunities to socialize with other volunteers from various churches.
Some of the most rewarding blessings of the outreach are appreciation, loving encouragement and hugs. Volunteers meet new friends and amazing people. As Cardenas puts it, “We have a facial expression that happens after every outreach; we call it ‘the Moses glow’.”
Gideons International in Canada supports the outreach, supplying New Testaments, the Gospel of John, the NewLife App (free app with complete bible) and SendMe Program (Free Gospel of John for students). They’ve also partnered with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to have the Spring 2017 Festival information included in their ove Packages.
To volunteer, contact Love Distribution – Gideons International Canada: email firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook: facebook.com/Love-Distribution-Gideons-Int-Canada-1636944596529025.