By Helen Yalbir
|Leaving a little message of God's love.|
Calgary, Alberta (Canada). December 10, 2010.
Despite the subzero temperatures of one of Canada´s coldest cities,
the hearts of 19 young men and women were on
fire in Calgary, Alberta. Wearing heavy winter coats, scarves, boots
and gloves, the youth embarked on the first even Contagious
Love Missions in downtown Calgary. Kiera Curran, the main events
coordinator, described it saying, "We´re starting a charity revolution! Just
one act of kindness at a time."
by the 2000 movie Pay it Forward, the idea quickly
evolved into a youth mission with the same principle; do
a random act of kindness for someone, and instead of
them paying it back, they pay it forward to another
"After our first planning meeting, we attended
Theology on Tap and the guest speaker, without knowing it,
confirmed our idea. His whole testimony was about the value
of doing random acts of kindness," explained Kiera.
"We all looked at each other with mouths wide open."
This appeared to be a providential green light from above.
"We knew God wanted this project to move forward!"
The objective of the mission was to bring the
real Christmas spirit to the cold streets of Calgary. It
was an excuse to evangelize those people who get easily
caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season.
"When you start on the grounds of charity, people´s hearts
are open, and you can share with them about the
real meaning of Christmas," said one participant.
to mark the first Sunday of Advent, the missionaries donned
winterwear and a smile and hit the streets. In groups
of 3-4 with $10 in their back pocket, they embarked
on a mission to see who could do the most
creative act of kindness.
|Gestures of service, no strings attached.|
Some groups stopped to
buy cups of coffee and hand them out to the
frozen people standing idle at the bus stop. Others feverishly
wrote encouraging notes to leave on people´s windshields. Others purchased
gloves and socks and took them to the local homeless
shelter. "You were sent from God!" said one man as
he happily received a pair of socks from the missionaries.
Tara Bailey, currently giving a volunteer year in Calgary
with the Regnum Christi Mission Corps, decided to buy
a teddy bear and offer it to the first little
kid she saw. "I was looking for a little kid
to give it to...I saw one on a bus, I
ran on and handed it to him. He just lit
up and hugged it super tight. It was awesome!"
At the end of the afternoon, the missionaries regrouped
at a local restaurant to share pictures and stories from
the day. Each came back with a huge smile, rosy
cheeks from the cold winter weather, and a handful of
"I love to make people smile.
I don´t want it to end with this mission," commented
Christine, another missionary, as she warmed her hands with a
hot cup of coffee. A just reward after a long
day of giving.