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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Monday, May 9, 2011


On Sunday afternoon, May 8, 2011, the Fired Up team met at Waterloo Town Square to give away helium filled balloons and offer free hugs to people who passed by. It sounds like a pretty simple service project doesn’t it? It is of course, but like all simple ideas, it took weeks of planning to make the event a success. The balloons needed to be ordered and paid for ahead of time. Should we have the Fired Up logo printed on the balloons? How about a big smiley face that would make people feel happy? How much will that cost? Who will order the balloons? How will we get all those helium filled balloons to the site?

Then there was that other question, “What do we do if it rains?” Hmmm…that could be a definite downer. It was decided that in the event of rain, they would have some big umbrellas handy and offer to escort people to their cars, and the event would go on. At least that problem was solved!

After trying to deal with all those questions, it was tempting to back off, forget the balloons and just offer free hugs. After all, hugs are free and you don’t have to transport them. In fact, 100 hugs take up no more room than 10. But would people be open to an offer of a free hug from a stranger? What to do, what to do?

In the end, the team decided to step forward in courage and order 100 helium filled balloons. They opted for brightly coloured balloons with ribbons but no printing in order to save money, at least for this first try. The Fired Up message could be conveyed by giving people a card with the information on it. As for transporting them, some friends were recruited to help get the balloons to the square. It turned out to be a beautiful sunny afternoon, so no umbrellas were needed. I’m sure there were some thankful hearts for that little blessing.

About an hour after they began, I arrived on the scene to see how the event was going. By that time, brightly coloured balloons could be seen up and down King Street and all over the square. It was a wonderful, energizing, happy sight. The team was down to their last few balloons, but free hugs were being offered to everyone. It was remarkable to see grown men and women suddenly change course when offered a hug. In the short time I was there, I heard comments like, “I love hugs,” and “I’ll take all the hugs I can get!” Some didn't want just one hug, but insisted on getting a hug from the entire group. Between the sunshine, the balloons and the hugs, joy was definitely spreading in the community.

The most remarkable change of the day, however, was not the balloons or the hugs, but those who gathered to give them away; I have never seen them happier. Their faces were covered in huge smiles, their hearts were filled with love, and their comments included, “Can we do this every week? This is fun!” Another was, “I was apprehensive about offering to give people hugs, but now I know people really are open to that. I’m having a great time.”

On Sunday afternoon, a tiny group of disciples took to the streets to try and spread a little joy to the people they would meet. They were successful. As I reflect on it now, I am reminded of a line from one of Apostle Paul’s most famous teachings:
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. [1 Cor 13:13]

Posted by Carman


  1. what an excellent and uplifting message for today! thanks Carman!

    I'm sure you made many people happier Sunday .
    It took some planning but the weather was in your favor as many people were out Sunday.

  3. Thank you John and Elizabeth, your enthusiasm for this activity is most gratifying.

  4. Bravo Fired Up for this creative and engaging way of sharing the love of Christ with balloons and hugs. I’m so glad you took the sounds as though all were blessed!


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