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Church spreads acts of kindness

Posted: August 4, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 4, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Church members help out around community during Make a Difference Day.

 

All around the Santa Clarita Valley and beyond, simple acts of kindness have been a focus for many people after Real Life Church began its Endless Kindness summer campaign.

Launched the end of May, Real Life wanted to inspire the congregation to affect other peoples’ lives in small ways through random acts of kindness. Since the campaign’s launch, kind acts have taken place around the Santa Clarita Valley, even reaching to other states.

Celebrating God’s work

The program, rolled out at the start of summer to inspire people while they were out of school or away on vacation, encouraged others to perform small acts for someone they didn’t know.

“Our philosophy here is when you touch people at a place where they feel in need, that opens doors for good things to happen,” said Steve Whitney, director of ministry at Real Life. “We wanted people to think outside of the four walls of the church.”

The church’s website added an area for people to tell about acts they have committed or witnessed. Whitney explained it’s not a way to brag, but rather to celebrate the good things God is doing through them. The stories began to pour in.

Santa Clarita residents have helped jump-start broken-down cars, given money to the homeless, dog-sat, shared dinner with an elderly neighbor, cooked dinner for someone who recently underwent surgery and even spread hope and kindness to a stranger who was battling a serious medical struggle.

Reaching Seattle

Meredith and Ted Chen wanted to spread acts of kindness beyond the Santa Clarita Valley during a recent vacation to Seattle. They hoped to help out at a soup kitchen; but were not allowed since they had three children under the age of 10.

“We want to be mindful of where we are going and make some small impact while we are there,” said Meredith Chen. “We asked ourselves, how can we serve others not just when we are home, but wherever we go.”

They then bought underwear and boxers for a homeless shelter in Seattle and passed out granola bars to homeless people they saw around the city. The response was overwhelming.

“They were very surprised. They didn’t know we were coming, but very grateful,” she said.

The gift of life

Endless Kindness summer spread as far as Seattle, but went even deeper than that. The campaign inspired one Santa Clarita couple to give the gift of a baby to another couple struggling with infertility.

Stacia and Terry Friend wrestled for months with the decision for Stacia to become a surrogate mother.  They decided to go through with it, but still had some doubts; until they heard Pastor Rusty George of Real Life speak about Endless Kindness in his message one Sunday.

“He said, ‘Do something for someone that you wish you could do for everyone,” recalled Stacia. “I felt like he was talking about us. Any doubt I had was taken away, I knew I was doing the right thing.”

On June 23, Stacia found out she was pregnant. The embryo transfer was a success.  Stacia was carrying the baby for the couple, but the egg and sperm belonged to the mother and father. They would finally be parents.

“We are giving them something they could never have,” she said. “It is pretty amazing. I can’t imagine anything more kind than giving someone a baby.”

The church hopes the summer campaign will inspire the community to continue to commit acts of kindness into the fall and throughout the year.

“We want people to know doing good things is a good thing,” Whitney said.

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