By Nikole Hahn
In 2015, Megan Murphy started “The Kindness Rock Project.” She left a rock on the beach of Cape Cod with the words “You’ve Got This” painted on it. Facebook rock painting groups began where communities did a grown-up Easter egg-like hunt for hand-painted rocks, leaving pictures with hints on Facebook groups so a family or person could find it and report it to the group. Over the past year or two, I’ve participated in this trend as a form of community outreach for online connections. Last week, my prayers yielded phenomenal results.
Kairi and her mom were hiking in the Dells in Prescott, Arizona when Kairi discovered my painted rock sitting near the Highline Trail. She turned the stone over and saw the contact information Modge-Podged and taped to the back.
The back of the rock contained a QR code, my email, and the instructions, “Please post to the Chino Valley Rock Facebook Group.” The QR code included a link to BibleGateway. Kairi sent me a message through her mom’s email account, saying, “Found your rock. I am 11-years old, and I want to do what you are doing. I want to be a missionary when I grow up.”
One week later, we met Kairi and her mom for the first time. We hiked Lynx Lake. Kairi loved using my Canon T6i Rebel to capture the wonders of God’s creation. We talked about missionary work, photography, how to use social media to tell the visual story of a person’s faith, and more importantly, how to authentically reach out on and offline to the world and a local community with no agenda, love and friendly conversation.
Over dinner, Kairi and her mom wanted to know more about a people group and country. That night, I connected them with a WorldVenture missionary stationed in another part of the world who agreed to add her mom to their newsletters and accept their friend request on Facebook. Kairi will contact me when she wants to learn about another people group or country. I will connect her with the appropriate person as she discovers what kind of missionary she wants to become.
What Meghan Murphy started encouraged a worldwide movement. I hope it starts a revival of faith and a more profound curiosity about the God we worship through potential online conversations from rocks found.
How to Start Rock Painting in Your Area
- – River rocks of all sizes are available at landscaping places. Mortimers in Prescott, Arizona, allows people to get a paint bucket full of rocks for $5. You will need to wash them first and let them dry before applying paint.
- – Buy the following supplies: Acrylic paint (or some have used watercolor pens or paint pens), paint brushes, Modge Podge (high gloss) spray or paste, Gorilla Glue or a similar product for gluing additional things to the rock (like beads or shells) and packing tape.
- – Join Facebook rock groups in your area by merely searching (your city or town) rock group. Honor the rock group guidelines. Always add the instruction, “If found, please post in (name of rock painting group) Facebook group.”
- – To create a QR code, go to this link. The QR code can go to any website, even your church’s website or Facebook page. Copy and paste the website into Website (URL) and click on the green button to Create QR Code. Download the jpg to your computer. You can create tags with Microsoft Word, Corel Draw, or Adobe using the QR code and typing the words and your contact information on it. Print it and trim it to fit on the unpainted side of your rock. Use packing tape to seal it to the rock and spray Modge Podge to keep the tape from wearing off.
- – Paint the rock. Let it dry.
- – Set the stone outside, put on a face mask and eye protection, and spray the front of the rock with Modge Podge. Let it sit for 24-hours before spraying the back of the stone. Wait for another 24-hours and hide the rock.
- – Take your rock and hide it. Set it somewhere and take a picture of it. Post it in your local Facebook rock group and give a hint. Most importantly, pray for the rock and whoever will find it.
Please be aware that rocks cannot be hidden at Disneyland, National Parks, inside businesses or libraries, or on someone’s personal property. You can leave them on regular trails, streets, parking lots, outside a company, or on the edge of someone’s property. Some parks may or may not allow them. Your local rock groups will usually have that information online.
(picture of ducks taken by Kairi with my camera)