‘Kindness Rocks’ in Oroville

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Captain Julie Feist was planning ways to celebrate this year’s Women’s Ministries international theme—”Declare His Glory”—when she almost literally stumbled upon an idea.

“It all began on a morning walk with the Lord,” Feist, Corps Officer for The Salvation Army in Oroville (California), said. “I was praying through the psalms and a touch of color caught my eye…a rock beautifully painted with the message, ‘Love God—Love Others.’”

Feist picked up the rock for a closer look, wondering if it served as some sort of marker for the adjacent home. After snapping a photo, she replaced the rock, said a prayer of thanks and finished her walk.

That was that, until later that evening when coincidentally—or through synchronicity—she saw a TV news report on the “new craze” involving painted rocks: the Kindness Rocks Project, created to spread inspiration and a moment of kindness for unsuspecting recipients via randomly placed painted rocks.

With her interest piqued, Feist began to do some research. She found more websites and Facebook pages than she could count.

“Almost every community has its own Facebook rock group, and the back of every rock gives directions on where to post pictures of the found treasure,” she said. “You can keep the rock or hide it again. Usually, the person who found the rock begins painting his or her own masterpieces and starts hiding them.”

Feist was inspired—here was a simple way to spread kindness, encouragement and the love of Jesus. She took the idea to the corps’ Home League group, and the women were eager to start painting rocks as one of their service projects. Later, they told Feist they found the painting meaningful and therapeutic, and of course, fun.

“I love this—it’s spreading random words of kindness,” said Mary, a Home League member.

Stephanie agreed. “Now on my prayer walks, I can leave a word of encouragement for someone else,” she said.

Soon the Sunday school kids got on board, creating their own kindness rocks.

“We are spreading and finding kindness all over Oroville,” Feist said.

The project is easy and affordable, according to Feist. Supplies include acrylic paints, a variety of brushes and clear spray sealant (or Mod Podge). If the budget allows, other fancy paints and embellishments are available.

“The concept is simple—to encourage,” Feist said.

The Oroville Home League plans to paint rocks once a quarter, continuing to embrace the theme, Declare His Glory.

Home League member Bernadette summed up the activity: “Rock painting allows me to create while spending quality time with loved ones—and we get to share inspirational messages with our community. Doesn’t get much better.”

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