A Simple Kindness—Calvary Chapel Carson Valley
A Simple Kindness—Calvary Chapel Carson Valley

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“A Simple Kindness” on Halloween—Calvary Chapel Carson Valley, NV

Story by Margot Bass
Photos by Cady Contreras

In a season when government regulations for the COVID-19 pandemic forced many churches to make painful decisions to cancel their Halloween-alternative events, one Calvary Chapel in Nevada found a new way to creatively reach out to its community.

For the past 35 years, Calvary Chapel of Carson Valley, NV, has held a Harvest Festival—usually at the local county fairgrounds—that’s drawn approximately 500 residents annually. This year, for the first time, the small fellowship shifted gears and held a drive-through event during the afternoon of October 31, as volunteers handed out gift bags to children and boxed hot dog lunches for all. They also made themselves available for prayer. The event was called “A Simple Kindness.”

Car coming through to pick up stuff

A family drives up to Calvary Chapel Carson Valley’s Halloween-alternative event, “A Simple Kindness.” The small Nevada fellowship has held a Harvest Festival for the past 35 years, but COVID-19 concerns and limitations caused the believers to change their focus this year. Everyone who came received gift bags for children, free lunches, and an opportunity for prayer.

The Lord led them in a new direction as they prayed over the dilemma during the summer, Pastor Joey Crandall shared. “While we felt our traditional layout at the fairgrounds could realistically be rearranged and reformatted to accommodate the crowd we see annually, there were a number of procedural obstacles.” Those included keeping the games, dining, and bathroom areas continuously clean to meet state protocols.

“We made the decision to cancel the event, but God just pressed on our hearts the need to reach out to our community during this time—clearly it is a season of chaos for so many; we had heard repeatedly out in the community that people were just grasping for true hope and real truth,” he related. “We wanted to focus on the kindness and love of our Lord and Savior by giving His Word to our community. Out of that idea was born what we called ‘A Simple Kindness’ because the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is both extraordinarily simple and extraordinarily kind.”

“But show me unfailing kindness like the LORD’s kindness as long as I live …” 1 Samuel 20:14a, NIV

Drive in outreach

Against the beautiful backdrop of Carson Valley, church volunteers gather gift bags for families on Halloween afternoon. Nearly 60 believers from the fellowship participated in some way in the event.

Special Gifts

As guests drove to the front of the church, they picked up gift bags for their children. In each bag was candy and “a craft kit that spoke of God being good even when times are scary,” Joey explained. “We had one of the sisters in our fellowship record a short video for YouTube on how to put the craft together; she also relayed a lesson about God’s goodness. Our goal was to give them activities they could play with over some time in their homes.”

The children’s favorite gift, however, was The NKJV Big Picture Interactive Bible. This Bible, a full New King James Version, includes a free mobile app which lets kids view 146 pictures in an augmented-reality pop-up format. A narrator also reads stories for those pictures aloud to the children. “We liked that the app would potentially encourage families to gather around the Bible together to interact on the parent’s phone,” Joey emphasized. “We ended up giving away 87 Bibles, and our prayer continues to be that God will take those Bibles and do a mighty work in each of those homes and in each of those lives.”

So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed. Acts 19:20

Girl handing bag to man

A woman hands a gift bag to a man at “A Simple Kindness.” The church was careful to follow social distancing practices.

One family that drove through sported a car decal that said “Heathen,” Joey recounted. “They initially balked at receiving the Bibles, but when their children saw the mobile app in action, the kids started cheering and pleaded to have one. So they each ended up with one!”

Volunteers served 160 free boxed hot dog lunches and were available to pray with anyone who wanted it. “As it turned out, only a handful of cars came over specifically for prayer, but our prayer group took it upon themselves to pray over each car that drove through the event,” Joey noted.

Girl handing something to man in car

A girl hands a packaged craft bag to a man. The craft was designed to encourage the children that God is good, even when times are scary.

A Struggling Community

Joey reflected that although the area of Carson Valley, Minden, and Gardnerville haven’t been hit hard medically by the virus, “the state regulations have had an immense impact economically on our towns. We’ve seen brothers and sisters in our fellowship, as well as families in our Christian school, lose their jobs. Business owners have had quite a task navigating through this time—many businesses in town have closed and families have struggled.” He added that unemployment rates skyrocketed during the height of the shutdowns but are slowly recovering.

Men grilling

Elders from Calvary Chapel Carson Valley grill hot dogs for the outreach. The church gave away 160 free boxed lunches.

The church of just over 100 attendees was enthusiastic about this opportunity to serve their community, Joey said. “Including day-of help and help leading up to the event, we had probably 60 volunteers involved in one way or another. They were very excited to see it play out. People cheered as the first car drove in. It was a beautiful afternoon of fellowship, and the love of our brothers and sisters here had a profound impact on the people driving through.”

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

cvcalvarychapel.org

Two girls talk

Two girls, one in a Blue Angels costume, discuss the craft kit they’ll hand out to visitors.

 

Woman hands man a box

A woman hands a boxed lunch to a family at the outreach.

 

Woman showing man a book

A volunteer shows a man how to use the Big Picture Interactive Bible, one of the gifts families received at the event. The church gave away 87 of the Bibles, which had special features that appealed to the children.

 

Women cooking food to give out

Women prepare food for the free lunches the church gave away on Halloween afternoon.

 

Women cooking

Two women package boxed lunches to share with their community.

 

Women praying

Two women pray with a visitor (in dark hoodie). A key part of the event was the prayer station, available to any who requested it. However, the team prayed for every family that drove through.

 

All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version.

© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.

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