"You are a Christian What?!?" "Is this legal?!?"
We had a private party Friday night with the Grand Opening Saturday 10AM. C28 is officially open for business.
The past couple days were fun. People's faces were in shock, celebration, sheer disgust... the full spectrum. People stayed for hours. People left as quickly as they could. People covered up the obscene t-shirts they were wearing in embarrassment of where they were. Customers cried. Employees cried. Heck, I cried.
We were very well received by the Christian community. One Christian lady saw a shirt with a skull on it and mentioned that the skull really disrupted her spirit. She mentioned that to the person helping her, who then explained how the skull = death and explained the shirt to her. He then explained that C28 uses these images to connect to the younger generation, explained the purpose of the store, and pointed around the room at three of my employees who were at that exact moment praying with three separate groups of people. God couldn't have scripted it better. She caught the vision of C28.
The managers from Hot Topic came down, saying they were having customers raving about the Christian-version of Hot Topic that was stealing their customers. They saw the "Why Tree" shirt and said that was the coolest graphic-design they had ever seen. My employee shared the meaning with them.
A lady came in the store who evidently spoke very little English. An employee helped her, and at some point they prayed together (for each other) and it was evident God was moving. Evidently her son is not saved and needed this message. A little while later she comes running in the store with the cell phone in her hand, asking ONLY for the employee who helped her earlier, and asked him in broken English to talk to her son about Jesus.
Our first customer on Saturday (opening day) was a youth minister who showed up with his youth group of 20+ kids - they were here about 10 minutes early and poured in when the gates opened. He was one of 6 youth ministers we met on opening day. We talked of being a resource to the church's ministry, making sure that the kids we impact get plugged into a discipleship ministry.
I met a gentleman from Orlando, FL. He took off work for the weekend and drove his wife and three kids down here to WPB (3-4 hour commute) to see C28. He goes to the website almost daily, knows the ministry, and was beside himself to see that we're here.
Another gentleman walks into the store wearing one of the first NOTW designs created. He knew of the stores from California and had been praying for years that C28 would find a way to West Palm Beach.
These are just the stories I know of. There are many more. Don't you love divine appointments!
My employees did a phenomenal job, and I'm sure they will continue to grow in the grace of God. As I type this, the final touches are being done on construction. God answered prayers by finishing this process very quickly. Legal is happy, the mall is happy. We might actually make it through the chaos.
Pray for us. The past days were the calm before the storm. We celebrate with God with what He has done, but we are smart enough to know that we still need His protection to make it through. Continue to pray!
In view of God's Mercy,