“We called the shop Happy Hand,” says Anne-May Müller, “because we want to lend a hand to those in need around us."
There’s no doubt that the Happy Hand secondhand store has curb appeal. But beautiful décor and high-quality merchandise aren’t the only draw for shoppers on this busy street in Copenhagen. Customers say they’re attracted to the shop’s peaceful, spiritual atmosphere and its caring workers.
Opened in 2012, Happy Hand was the brainchild of a group of Adventist lay members in Copenhagen who wanted to do more to help the needy in their city. Working closely with the Danish Union and local Adventist churches, they created an economically independent Life Hope Center, or center of influence, that enables them to minister to people’s needs and fund a variety of mission projects in their neighborhood and around the world.
“We called the shop Happy Hand,” says Anne-May Müller, “because we want to lend a hand to those in need around us. We want to pass on the physical and spiritual gifts we’ve received from God and share hope and happiness.”
Happy Hand is decorated with recycled furniture to create a warm, charming atmosphere. When customers enter the shop, they’re invited to sit down to rest, enjoy refreshments, listen to inspiring music, and connect with friendly Christians. Refreshments are served, such as hot teas, cold drinks, fruit, and cookies.
“We sit and talk with people and even pray with them,” says Müller. “We had no idea when we started this project that people would be so willing to discuss spiritual matters—even in secular, postmodern Copenhagen.
In the back of the shop stands a small table with a box on it. Each day people slip prayer requests into the box, knowing the staff will pray for them later. There is also a place for them to visit with a pastor.
Happy Hand is so much more than a classy secondhand shop. It provides many services and activities for the community such as:
- Free concerts and tutoring for schoolchildren;
- Warm clothing and food for the homeless;
- Seminars on topics such as marriage, parenting, creation, and health;
- Bible study groups, prayer groups, and pastoral counseling;
- Free Bibles and literature;
- Workshops on topics such as bullying, self-worth, depression, and anxiety.
Thursday is my happy day!
Müller became involved with Happy Hand about two years ago when the shop’s leader asked if she could volunteer. She committed to working Thursday afternoons for three months. “I’m still here,” says Müller, “because Thursday is my happy day! This ministry is so meaningful to me. I’ve connected with many good people and made a lot of friends. It’s been a wonderful experience.”
Our two-way window
Every day hundreds of people peer through Happy Hand’s front window—a window that Müller sees as the perfect metaphor for their mission. “The community looks in and sees a caring, happy church at work,” she says. “And we can look into the community to see what issues people are struggling with and how we can help them.”
Customers often tell Müller that they feel at peace in the store. “We want customers to use the shop as a place to take a break from life’s stress,” says Müller. “They come in and talk. They get a hug and a hot drink, and they’re able to face the world again.”
Happy Hand continually provides opportunities for pastors and church members in Copenhagen to develop and nurture relationships with people in their community. If your church is considering a similar ministry, Müller encourages you to take the leap. “Dare to ask God to show you how to minister to people in a meaningful way,” she says. “He has a heart for city people, and He’ll show you how to reach them with His love.”
Copenhagen is home to some one million people representing a wide variety of cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic levels. It faces the same challenges to mission as many cities, such as secularism, materialism, and atheism. But through the ministry of Happy Hand, the church in Denmark is being connected to hundreds of people who long for a relationship with God and authentic people who love them.
Please pray for Happy Hand and for all our Life Hope Centers around the world as they bring the joy of Jesus to the millions in our cities.
To view more pictures for this article and to read more articles visit http://www.adventistmission.org/mission360mag