When I first learned about the W.R.A.K. Coffee Club, I whined a bit. You see, W.R.A.K., a.k.a. Weekly Random Acts of Kindness, is a ministry of the First Evangelical Lutheran Church that meets weekly at a Nebraska City coffee shop. This made it almost impossible for me to participate in person.
So the innovator of the group, Vanessa Bremer, director of youth and family ministry at the church, created a Facebook page, so anyone, anywhere can join.
"W.R.A.K.," Bremer explains, "is a flower that sprouted from two church outreach programs: ARK Almighty and Pay It Forward."
She started W.R.A.K. this past fall to provide opportunities to practice kindness, develop faith and create Christian fellowship and community.
Each week, local participants meet at the coffee shop to pick up a new challenge and share their W.R.A.K. stories. Those of us who are at a distance get the challenges on Facebook or by email.
Each new challenge and correlating Bible verse is increasingly more involved, both spiritually and personally. Participants are not required to finish a challenge before delving into the next one.
"Some are easier to complete than others," Bremer admits.
One challenge was based on Proverbs 11:25 "A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." We were to make an effort to allow others to go first through the door, in conversation, while waiting in line and so on.
Another was to treat others when we were treating ourselves. We were to buy an extra coffee, candy bar, apple or soda and offer it to someone else. This one was rooted in Hebrews 13:16, which states "And do not forget to do good and to share with others …"
What surprised me the most about W.R.A.K. is that the weekly tasks are becoming more natural and routine in my daily life.
W.R.A.K. now has more than 75 participants from across the U.S. and continues to grow each week.
If you want to "W.R.A.K." up some random acts of kindness, become a friend on Facebook or email Bremer at firstname.lastname@example.org to start receiving the weekly challenges by email.
For more information, contact Vanessa Bremer 402.873.5424.
A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her columns have won first-place in National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women Communications Contests. In the 2009 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contest, Paula's columns took three first-place awards. To contact Paula, email email@example.com, follow her blog at www.my-story-your-story.blogspot.com and find her on Facebook.
2009© Paula Damon