Today we had a short time of outreach in the market in Peterborough.
As a small team we had lunch together at the market with the desire to then reach out and bless the market stall holders.
Overall the response was fairly negative. No one seemed to want fruit or sweets and were quite suspicious of why we were offering a free gift. Sam and Virginia carried on non the less and I could see their awkwardness in going from stall to stall…afterwards we just reflected briefly as to why it was hard going.
1) While Virginia and Sam were wearing amazing smiles they didn’t have their chaplaincy hoodies on so this was difficult for people to see where they were from.
2) The JW’s have a small open every day all day in the market square. (Man, their determination and commitment challenge me so much) Sam felt that some stall holders thought we were from the JW’s. Perhaps the market stall holders have been somewhat inoculated to talk about ‘faith’ by the presence of the JW’s.
3) Virginia and Sam considered the demographics of the market after the outreach. By far the vast majority are Muslims… Celebrating and marking Christmas may not be an easy thing for them to do.
4) We haven’t spent much time at the market before. We spoke about being like rare visitors amongst a tight nit community.
Even through things were harder than usual it was a worthwhile thing to do:
1) Some people were prayed for. This is no small thing!
2) We made friends with a couple of people who appreciated the gesture of a free gift.
Our team days and outreach are awesome days, but you know what… sometimes they’re hard and they’re a great opportunity to grow and reflect on the things that make them difficult.