In the cooler hours of late afternoon, one or two FLORECE volunteers will stand at our door with invitations in hand. The desert sun encourages most pedestrians to our sidewalk to avoid the piercing rays on the other side of the street. Occasionally an extended hand will be rejected, but mostly the flyers are well received. Sometimes a passerby will react with a bit of embarrassed comedy, such as the young mother pushing a stroller who exclaimed, "Pregnant again?! Oh no!"or the man who read the words "family counseling"and wryly remarked, "You could have told me sooner. I got separated yesterday!" But more than once, a woman has walked away with her flyer only to return a short while later and request one of our services. Those are the moments that make the others worthwhile!
Other times, the volunteers will follow a wide route around FLORECE to hand out flyers outside multiple schools in that range. Several of us carry flyers at all times, to hand out in grocery stores, on buses or whenever opportunity strikes. This week I was introduced to a professor in the psychology department of a local university who requested information. One of our volunteers, Grace, has a sister who lives next door to an adult learning center where older students can return for their high school degrees. This week, she took a stack of flyers with her to the school and had an encouraging conversation with one of the teachers. She told her of several students with tremendous need for "spiritual guidance" to whom she would give our information.
Most recently this week, while having bulk printing done for FLORECE I was given a wonderfully encouraging opportunity to share our flyers.
One of the largest and most complicated colleges in Iquique is the Universidad Arturo Prat (UNAP), a state school which each year loses many weeks of classes due to student protests and unrest. This university also has an unusual hazing tradition whereby first year students are stripped of their clothing and belongings, dressed in black garbage bags and pelted with mud and eggs, then sent out on the busy streets to beg for enough money to "buy back"their items. The funds are then pooled to throw a wild party on the beach. Needless to say, the school has students with a wide range of ideologies!
Just outside UNAP is the most inexpensive copy shop in town. Literally, they charge less than half of what other places do so they have a huge student clientele. Unbeknownst to us, the owners are most likely Christians who when I asked to display one of our flyers went the extra mile to get the word out! "Why don't you tape one right here?" the owner encouraged, pointing smack-dab in the middle of the counter where everyone places their items to be copied. (There was nothing else displayed.) "And how about over there on the wall?" Numerous advertisements were taped there, so I placed mine off to the side where there was still ample space. "But what about another one right in the middle?" he urged. "That's where everyone looks."
Just this week, we interviewed a new volunteer who graduated from UNAP and said she had seen some of our flyers there - "on the ground." What an encouragement to instead be given free reign to post not one, not two, but three of them where none should be removed and many young people can't help but see them!
Flyer by flyer, we are sharing FLORECE. We are planting the seeds, and trusting the One Who brings the harvest!