In a quiet, isolated village in olde Pennsylvania, there lies a pact between the people of the village and the creatures who reside in the surrounding woods: the townspeople do not enter the woods, and the creatures do not enter the village.  That is the storyline of the creepy 2004 movie starring William Hurt and Joaquin Phoenix.  It has a surprise ending that that is worth the price of admission so I won’t ruin it for you.

I apologize for not posting the last couple of weeks.  We have been in our annual Love Winnipeg campaign and I just couldn’t find time to get to my computer.  Love Winnipeg is an initiative of the churches in our city to get out from behind the four walls of our buildings and love our city.  85 churches are participating this year.  Donning our conspicuous red Love Winnipeg shirts we hit the streets to clean up garbage, plant flowers, mow grass, remove graffiti, feed the poor, hand out clothes, visit seniors, give inner city kids bikes, hosted carnivals and on and on and on.

Our church alone probably did 50 different projects.  One team did an Honor your Heroes event where they visited the police and fire stations with home baked cookies and thanked them for what they do to keep us safe.  They were visibly moved as almost no one ever thanks them for what they do.  We have done the same with nurses and doctors in the hospital and teachers in the school.  I have seen tears come to their eyes as we express our gratitude.  Some of our young people headed down to a local club, Whiskey Dix and handed out bottled water and lolli-pops to the patrons waiting in a 250 person long line.  The lolli-pops were a huge hit and they had lots of opportunities to share the gospel with a lost generation that is clearly seeking for something… they are just not sure what.

For me one of the funnest things we do is head down to The Village to hand out bottled water on street corners.  Osborne Village is a unique area of Winnipeg just south of downtown.  It is dotted with trendy little cafes, eclectic and unusual shops, and more than it’s fair share of tattoo parlours.  The Village is where you will find goths dressed in black, gay men and women holding hands, squeegee kids washing car windows for a dollar, lots of young people, retirees that love the character of the area, welfare recipients heading to the grocery store, yuppies who enjoy the trendy urban setting and pretty much every other kind of person you can think of.

We ventured into The Village three times over the last week.  Each time we simply took coolers full of bottled water and setup on a street corner.  Tuesday we were there between Vicky the hot dog vendor, Peter the pedal car pusher, and Sarah the ‘observant’ Jewish sunglasses street vendor.  She would not be there Wednesday because they would be observing Shavuot; a holiday commemorating Moses receiving the Torah.

Our little team of five people that night interacted with 100’s of ‘villagers’. A simple bottle of water was all that was necessary to get the conversation going.  We prayed with a lady that had lost her husband.  We offered to go over and move some boxes for a woman on welfare that said she could not manage them.  One man explained to me how my teachings on television perfectly lined up with the new age cosmic confluence… uh huh?  One couple told me their son lived down there and he had told them that if he ever was going to go to church, he would go to Church of the Rock.  The reason?  He had seen the TV preacher (me) there last year picking up garbage.  Almost nobody that night a had a single spiritual clue.  It breaks my heart when I see how lost people are.  I don’t know what lasting results our time in The Village will produce, but my last encounter of the night made my day.  An east Indian man got off the bus.  I asked him if he would like some water.  He responded, “Yes, I am parched, I was just thinking I needed water.  Thank you.”  As he walked away he turned back to me with a sly smile and said, “I was thirsty and you gave me to drink”… Matthew 25:35

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20 Responses to THE VILLAGE

  1. jdude says:

    good stuff =)

  2. Evelyn Bennett says:

    Just knowing that one person was touched is what makes Love Winnipeg all worthwhile.

  3. Betty says:

    Very interesting, Pastor Mark!
    I think there are times, when actions speak louder then words and most of them, will remember, that someone, really did care for them.

  4. Jasmine says:

    Is it really fair to make the claim that “Almost nobody that night a had a single spiritual clue.”?

    Most people are not ready or willing to share their spiritual beliefs with a complete stranger while standing on a street corner with all the pandemonium going on around them.

    I think there has to be a certain level of trust established before most of us would be open to sharing about ourselves on such an intimate topic, and that level of trust varies according to the individual.

    There are a lot of people out there who consider themselves spiritual but do not follow Christianity. And non-Christians can recognize acts of love and kindness when they see it; they even participate in it themselves.

    This world is full of people of other religions who feed the poor and do other charitable work as well, so what makes a bottle of water coming from a Christian different from a bottle of water coming from a Bhuddist, Hindu or Muslim?

    I’m not implying that Christians should stop their good works or that their good works don’t make a difference in the world; I’m just trying to see things from the “lost” person’s point of view.

  5. Mark Hughes says:

    Is it really fair to make the claim that “Almost nobody that night a had a single spiritual clue.”?

    Yes actually, I think it is. We talked to a lot of people that night and sure some would claim to be ‘spiritual’, but even they didn’t have a hot clue that Jesus was the way to heaven. So if you like I could rephrase it and say that almost nobody had a ‘TRUE’ spiritual clue.

  6. Isaac says:

    I was at the last one where we gave out water in the Village. It is awesome! The village is kinda my neighborhood. I live a couple blocks away, and I used to live in and work in the village (The Shell). So I jumped at the chance to go. Lot’s of people were blown away by the water. There were many awesome moments, but 2 stand out.

    First after receiving a water, a guy said to us, it’s awesome that you guys go to places like thunderbird house and not just places like this. COTR never had a group at Thunderbird house, but it was cool that he assumed that all the people with Love Winnipeg shirts on were part of the same group; cuz we are!

    The second was even better. I was with a 19 year old from church who has immense faith, and an awesome servant heart, but he admitted that he came from a small town and was sheltered. We end up talking to Mo and he opened up that he was trying to clean up his life. I asked if he’s thought about Christ, then he described in detail, with many choice words, that he used to pimp women, sell drugs, and beat people up on very regular occasion. He said he used to make $1000 a day. But then he mentioned that he’s been starting to go to a Vineyard church in the neighborhood, and described that he’s beginning to know that he is forgiven, that Christ died for him. He mentioned that he talked to God and feels forgiven, but he said that he can’t quite go all the way. He was still squeegying and drinking and beating people up (but less) but he knows he shouldn’t. This guy is beginning to understand grace and he will be an awesome witness once he decides to finally dive in with both feet.

    This was awesome, and the young guy I was with got an education, but wasn’t fazed a bit and talked about how he wants to come down to the Village and pray for people.

    It was an awesome night, and thank you Pastor Mark for spearheading Love Winnipeg!

  7. Steve says:

    That’s pretty cool Isaac. Alot of people out there just need Christians to befriend them and accept them even though they have alot of problems.

  8. Sally says:

    I think it is very significant that Love Winnipeg ends on Pentacost Sunday this year. We know this day commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the early Christians but I believe something more significant is taking place in the spiritual realm that is releasing more of Heaven on earth here in our city.
    Every little act of kindness done in the past two weeks are seeds of love sown for a future harvest. Every bottle of water or a granola bar given out in the name of the Father,Son and Holy Spirit does matter and even though other non-Christian groups could do the same(I can’t honestly say I have ever seen any other religious groups such as mentioned in one of the previous blogs do ing any such things) but even if they did it does not have the same effect. Our God, God the Father who sent us His Son Jesus Christ is the only life giving God and He(Jesus Christ) is the only one that died for us so we can have eternal life. When we give out something in His Name we are being His hands and His feet and we are sharing His Love for His creation.
    It is amazing when you see peoples expressions when out of the blue they are given a gift or helped in some small way…they know that someone really does care about them afterall!

  9. Patricia says:

    I would also like to comment on the spiritually we do not have a clue. Spiritually we are all the same. What makes us different is the way we choose to practice religion. But Jesus is the way and light of the World. There are over 12 non-Christian religions that make mention of Jesus Christ in their Doctorines. The best way we can magnify the importance of Christianity and have people intrigued in Christianity is in us being his hands, feet, loving heart and soul. ALPHA is another course that is a wonderful way to open people to Christianity.

    We have spiritual brokeness happening in our world. A seeking is occurring. That is why new age and other scientific data is coming to a peak of discovery. Reason to Believe Organization has founder is a Scientist that was on Its a New Day. He has scientifically proven that the Bible is the word of God and does not believe it should be changed to have people learn, etc. He has challenged many Scientist’s believe in the Word of God. He wants them to be realize this.

    A revival is going to occur. It will not be in our public school systems or other areas where we have asked God’s words not to be spoken. It may come from the least of these. From the handing out of water, to thanking the fireman, to going to a Jail and bringing Christ to a prisoner. For when the time comes when the sky turns to black and we all stand at the foot of the cross, be prepared to stand by the least of these. For we are all sinners. We are all human. We will and always need to seek truth, know God and work towards what God want us to be.

  10. Tine says:

    I know what Love Winnipeg is all about, but I am curious as to the proposed purpose behind the Whiskey Dix project??

  11. Calvin van laar says:

    I truly believe your in the crowds that christ would be in, I love it!

    May God continue to bless all that you do.

    If ever you are speaking in edmonton, please let me know.


  12. Calvin van laar says:


  13. Steve says:

    I like that you guys went out giving water to all different kinds of people.
    I for one never came to Christ through some fire and brimstone preacher. I came through the kindness and the grace that Jesus showed me in my soul. Through His love and His acceptance. So what you guys did here is pretty awesome. It speaks volumes to people.
    People out there need to know there’s a God who loves them.
    I think love Winnipeg should not be once a year. I think love Winnipeg should be all year long. And I think it should be a love that doesn’t give up even when people out there start to throw stones at us. That’s when they really know they’re loved. When they throw the abuse they’ve recieved at us and we still come back and love them.

  14. Job 29:23 and 24 says:

    And they waited for me as for the rain, and they opened their mouths wide as for the spring rain. I smiled on them when they had no confidence, and their deppression did not cast down the light of my countenance.
    These are the words of a man who was upright and in right standing with God.

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