Compassion in Action Day of Service with Small Group: The Power of One (and the Power of Getting Pulled Over…)

The power of one.  That was this year’s theme for 12Stone Church’s Compassion in Action day.

About the Event:

CIA Day is an event each year where members of 12Stone Church have the opportunity to reach out to the community and give back. There were 109 projects this year, with over 2,800 volunteers and I was fortunate to be part of the “Nothing but the Truth”  Weekend Food drive along with our Small Group.

This weekend food drive program is described as follows on the “Nothing but the Truth” website:

Providing “Weekend Food Bags” for children in local elementary schools. These children participate in the Free/ Reduced Lunch Program during the week but have been identified by their school counselors as being in need of additional food for the weekend.


About a week prior to the event, I asked my mom if she would be able to run 200 copies of flyers provided to us by the woman leading up this particular project. She said “sure” and the stack was brought back to me on bright yellow paper the same day (thanks mom!).  The flyers explained the food drive and our “pick up” date (October 6). It also gave a list of items needed for the children. My husband, Travis, then helped me by driving up to the nearest Kroger and asking if they would be willing to donate paper bags that we could use to distribute along with our flyers. They were very helpful and gave us plenty of bags! A couple hundred staples later, the food drive bags, with flyers attached, were ready to go!

The “Send Off” on CIA Day:

On Saturday, October 6, our Small Group all met up at Dunkin’ Donuts around 7:30AM to start our day! After some coffee, hugs, and hello’s, we all headed over to 12Stone for the big CIA “send off”. It was wonderful! First, we all signed in at our project table and received our t-shirts. Then, we moved into the main worship are and were greeted by a room full of colorful balloons!

After everyone was settled, we all jumped right into praise and worship. As always, the music was amazing and inspiring!

We then heard some amazing stories about the true power of one,  how much each of us can do even as just one individual. It made us all feel energized and ready to reach out to the community and impact as many lives a possible. We even had a great “send off” from Travis Billman, dressed for the part!

Once we all left the main worship area, we were directed to a location to release our “balloons”. The idea is that the balloons would travel and eventually pop, leaving behind a card that someone would see and know that it was meant specifically for them. Each card said the following:

You matter to God. It is no accident that this message has found you. God is near and His love never fails regardless of our circumstances.

Once we all made it outside, to our designated areas, we released our balloons. It was a beautiful day with a perfect, crisp blue sky and the balloons looked gorgeous as they rose higher and higher, each one tasked with the goal of landing in front of the person who needed to receive those cards the most.

The amazing thing about this part of our send off is the “balloon tracker“. It allows people to tell their stories on the site once they find a balloon!

Jumping Into Our Project

After we released our balloons, it was time to head off to pick up all the donations for the food drive. First we grabbed a couple of photos of our group:

Then, all the ladies, kids and babies piled into the trailer that we would be using to collect the food. The guys all hopped onto the SIDE of the Jeep that was pulling the trailer. (Yes, I know this all sounds very dangerous….and it was…but we were only going about 2 streets away so we thought it wouldn’t be a big deal at all…). The guys thought they looked very “cool” hanging off the sides of the Jeep…

A Little Set-Back…

God has  a sense of humor and loves to use it at the perfect moments! :)

We all got settled in,then headed out to the neighborhoods. Just as we started to pull into the first sub-division, we noticed a police car to our left…

What happened next? Yes, you guessed it…we got pulled over. The funny thing was, the officer didn’t even say a WORD about the babies, car seats, kids and adults sitting on the back of the trailor. He simply said to all the guys: “REALLY? REALLY?!? You thought hanging off the sides of a Jeep while going down a main road and through intersections was a good idea?”. Our guys are pretty smooth and they explained how we were a Church Group, volunteering for a big community-wide initiative and they promised to ride INSIDE the Jeep for the rest of the day. Phew!! That was a close one…

So, to re-cap, I’d like to include the description and photo collage my good friend and fellow small group member posted about this:

1. Our Small Group is ready to take on our FOOD DRIVE for Compassion in Action! Yeah!

2. Girls and kids on the trailer behind the Jeep. Guys hold on to the side as we go through the neighborhoods collecting canned food. Super-cool, right?!?!?!?!
3. ….Not so much. Especially to the police who pulled us over.We pulled the “CIA” & “12Stone” card to get us out a ticket!

In the end, we collected food for our project from various houses, had a wonderful time reaching out to the community, and came together for a great cause. Our kids learned so much about the “power of one” and how giving up a Saturday morning for other children less fortunate than them, can be life changing.

Even though we had a little “hiccup” in our journey (literally), we had a wonderful time: serving together, laughing together, and knowing how much we helped contribute to CIA Day 2012!

To my fellow Small Group members: I can’t wait to get into trouble again with y’all again next year!! :)



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