The following are a few thoughts from Peter Willard who can regularly been seen, often with his wife Sue, in Chatham High Street (now a pedestrian precinct) meeting people and offering them Salvation Army printed media.
People expect to see us and a few come regularly to obtain a War Cry; others just to talk. An example being that we engage with the Pentagon cleaners who sweep up around us. Relationships are growing: Sue has a couple that always come and talk to her and give a donation- but refuse a paper.
It is very rare that we are not humbled by someone who comes to tell us a story about why they give to The Salvation Army. Usually a story such as â€œmy Dad would not have been alive if you hadn t helped himâ€ or â€œwhen I had nothing you fed meâ€.
During conversations,, as I had recently, you can be blown away by how one act of kindness can change a person s life.
We never actively sell either the War Cry or Kids Alive, and if a child is clearly interested and the parent isn t we ask the parent whether it is OK to give the child a copy.
The Kids Alive usually gives us a way in to engage with the parents/family.
We have the opportunity to delight in new births and through this we gave out three Mainly Music invites on Saturday. (Mainly Music is one of our two Parent & Toddler Groups)
One lady gave a donation because she always does during our appeal but had not seen us come around for a few years.
We will always get asked where somewhere is. For example this week we were asked where the Abbey National was and gave the insight that it was now Santander.
Once we gave a card to a lady who said that her late husband had insisted that she leaves The Salvation Army some money in her will, and wanted an address.
We make people aware of the cafÃ© and where the Corps is situated.
We often engage with people we know from different places such as work, and Sue regularly gets former pupils and their parents come and share what they are doing now.
Many people will give money but not take a paper.
Some people want a Kids Alive for their grandchildren.
A short while ago we talked (closed the loop) with a non-Christian lady who had previously broken down and talked to us about her husband who was dying. Major Alec visited him and Sue and I visited her after he had died.
Money is not the motivation for this ministry, but we are usually amazed by the generosity of the people we encounter. Last week they donated £120 in two hours. This does encourage us!
Occasionally we receive adverse comments, but this is from a small minority of people.
You cannot talk to the people unless you are where they are.
Although we do not know what to expect when we go out, we very rarely return without God having blessed the ministry!
We cannot tell what seeds may be sown and how God uses them!
A lady once said, â€œ why are you standing in this God- forsaken place?â€ The response was that nowhere is forsaken by God, and we are here to share that message!