June 02, 2010|By Joe Lawlor, firstname.lastname@example.org|
Peter Person can’t stop making those little “Trust God” signs you see on street corners throughout Hampton Roads.
It’s a calling, a spray paint ministry.
“No Matter What Trust God” say the signs, in stenciling spray painted blue and red.
One day, God gave him the message, he said. At the time, more than a year ago, he was standing on a street corner, holding a religious sign that displayed a more complicated message.
He heard a voice that told him, “No Matter What Trust God.” No thunderclaps boomed or lightning struck, but yet Person couldn’t let go of the simple phrase.
He had to do something.
At first, Person said he didn’t know what to do.
But one day, he made a sign, and put it on a street corner. Then he made another. Then another. And another.
Now 3,000 of the signs proliferate Hampton Roads, and another 3,000 are spread out across the country. Maryland, Washington, D.C., Florida, Oklahoma, Indiana, New Jersey. He’s lost count.
Some people call him asking for signs. He hand delivers them the signs. If they’re too far away, he mails them.
Person, 43, of Newport News, said when he travels, he takes as few clothes as possible and stuffs his bag with signs.
The signs cost $1.30 each to make. He’s received $450 in donations and spent more than $6,000 of his own money to spread the message.
He’s not wealthy, owning a painting business and working at a small chain store part time to make ends meet. He’s married with two young boys. Person said he’s not putting the signs up affiliated with any church or religious organization.
He often wears a “No Matter What Trust God” T-shirt and a blue baseball cap with the same phrase.
When he talks, it’s like the saying permeates his entire body.
“People have told me that they feel a peace, a calmness when they read the signs,” Person said. He said he’s heard stories from people who say they were contemplating suicide, but backed off when they saw one of his signs.
But not everyone likes the signs. A local man posted on Person’s website that he doesn’t like how the signs are in the city right-of-ways, and he is going on a campaign to remove them and other illegal signs from the right-of-ways. The man, when reached by the newspaper, did not want to be identified for this story, but he indicated that he’s taken down about 300 of the Trust God signs.
David Langille, Hampton’s assistant director of codes compliance, said signs should not be placed on utility poles or in areas such as the grassy area between the sidewalk and the road….
If you want a free “No Matter What Trust God” sign call (757) 503-5278