We are moving to China next year, Taiger and I, and maybe Jeremy. I am taking my LAST class for my Chinese Minor, and then I am going to pick an "easy" (haha) major and I guess just do classes on-line from China...who really knows! I know I want to graduate, but I am being called to China. And that is it. I must go. I can't NOT go. I have to go.
I don't have a definite plan yet. I don't know for sure if I will teach while I am there or not. I don't know for certain how long we will stay (although I imagine at least 2 years). There is much praying and pondering that will go in to finding the answers to these questions. However, I do know I am going to leave next year.
I also know that God has called me to this work. Without a doubt, I know it. I know that God loves the children of China as much as he loves anyone else in the world. They are also His dear children. He wants them to be happy, for they, too, are that they might have joy. I know Heavenly Father knows each one of us, no matter where in the world we are. I know that He hears their cries and wants them to be comforted. I want to the an instrument in God's hands. To serve His children...To serve Him by serving His children. To obey when I am called.
I also know that God knows my heart. He knows my desire to serve. At the same time, I know that He knows what I have seen, and He knows what I have felt inspired through Him to do, and I know that I will be held responsible and accountable if I fail to accomplish this mission.
This is a work of God. This is a great work. A work of wisdom and infinite power because it is a work of God. With God, NOTHING is impossible.
I am afraid to go to China. I am worried about moving there with a child. I am concerned about how I will have time and money to raise my son and to help all of the people there who will require my help. Yet, I know that, "Whom the Lord calls, He qualifies."
I pray that everyone will join me in prayer as I search for answers, guidance and inspiration. This is the first time I humbly come to you asking for your prayers on behalf of me, Taiger, and Sixteen Small Stones, but I pray that you will offer your prayers for us, and that this will not be the last time I am blessed with being able to call on all of you for support and prayers. My heart is humbled and full of gratitude as I ask for this overwhelmingly HUGE favor. Thank you all.
Picutres from our "Paint-A-Stone" event are now up on our website!! Go check them out and see all the FUN! :D 16smallstones.com
Thanks, again, to my sweet board members for your HELP and SUPPORT! Thank you to EVERYONE who helped and also (especially!) to EVERYONE who came! We had a ton of fun! :D Thank you!
I haven't written about our Paint-A-Stone Event yet because I haven't known what to say. Each time I try and start, there are no words. I don't know what to say. However, I feel like I aught to write SOMETHING for people who are wondering how it went and everything.
God is teaching me a valuable lesson. In fact, the more days that pass the more lessons I realize I am learning.
How did the event go? Good question. In one instance, I want to say, "OH MY GOODNESS! It was HORRIBLE! Almost NO ONE showed up!" On the other hand, I want to say, "It was great! Only one person came, but I learned SO MUCH from her so that means it was a success!" So, rather than tell you in black and white if it was good or bad, I will tell you about it and tell you the lessons that I have so far learned.
I stayed up until about 3:00am Thursday preparing for Friday. I was worried that no one would come, and for some strange reason, I really believed no one would! I had handed out 100 fliers to my friends and neighbors and I had faith at that time that since some of these people knew me, they would want to come support me. I also had faith at that time that EVERYONE wants to help orphans as much as I, they just don't know how to, so given the opportunity, they would come a-runnin'! In retrospect, I see how self-centered and selfish these beliefs were! Who am I that people would want to come support me? Worse yet, why was it ever about who knew ME...it should have been, "Who knows GOD", after all, that is who this whole thing should have been about, right?!
Well, the more I prayed for a good turn-out, the more I got the feeling that no one would come, but that I still should do all the work as if they would. I acted as if we would have a good turn-out and planned accordingly.
Friday morning, I woke up early early early to get everything ready. I put signs on street corners telling about us and what time and location. I set up our table and it looked SO CUTE! The neighbor girls came over, without even being asked!, to help set up. Bryttan got her computer out and ready. She helped me make everything look cute. We set up the speakers to play the music with the slide-shows, we set out items we are going to send Katie. We were all ready. At nine o'clock everything was set. Paints out on the table, rocks in the box for kids to pick out which they wanted to paint. Go time.
No one came.
Bryttan said that it was just early and to give it time.
No one came. I lead a prayer.
No one came.
A woman walked by and said, "You are having a garage sale?" Bryttan said, "No, we are raising money for orphans in Africa and China. For 16 cents you can paint a rock and the money goes to the orphans!" The woman said, "You should put rocks on your table" and walked away.
Our neighbor across the street came home. She got out of her car and asked us, "What are you doing?" I said, "We are raising money to help orphans in Africa and China!" She said, "Ooooookkkkaaayyyyy" like we were crazy, snorted under her breath, and went into her house.
Other people who we knew and whose doors we had put fliers came out of their houses and sat on their porches or played with their children. They glanced in our direction but never came. Others drove by. We waved and they drove on.
Jeremy arrived. We ate breakfast and I did my ads for work.
Still, no one came.
More prayers were uttered. That those who had received fliers would feel prompted to come. That people would remember. That we would be able to raise the money to do this work to which we had been called.
Our neighbor girls came and painted a rock. They are sweet girls and they visited with us a while to keep us company. Then, they left. Another boy from down the street walked past with his dog. We know his family pretty well and his little sister plays with Taiger sometimes. We asked if he was going to paint a rock. He took his dog home and came back with a quarter and painted a rock. We asked if he had gotten the flier we left on the door. He had.
Some time later, someone pulled up in a car. Out climbed a sweet looking Mom! She looked in our direction and our hearts jumped! She gathered two tiny children out of the back seat of the car and they came to our yard! They were there to paint rocks!
This was at about 11:30. As her children painted rocks and played with Taiger I visited with the Mother. Come to find out, she is adopting from Luckyhill and had found out about the fundraiser on my blog! I found out she had driven a long way to be to this fund raiser. When I commented on the distance she had come she simply said that she would go to any lengths to support people helping orphans or adopting. My heart broke...she shared my desire to serve orphans! Someone out there cared about these poor children!!!!! I was encouraged and humbled and SO THANKFUL to this mother! Her children we absolute dolls and it was so fun to meet them. As her children painted she pressed some money into my hand. It was MUCH more than the suggested 16 cents and I panicked momentarily that I would need to round-up enough change. I said that I would go find some change and she laughed and insisted I keep the full amount she had given me. The amount of money she had given me surely would have paid her gas money all the way back home, instead, she was giving it to me to pass along to those in need. I thought of the money she had spent driving all the way from her home to Sugarhouse, and how much she would need to spend to get home. I thought of the costs of her pending adoption from Luckyhill. I thought of the money of raising two small toddlers, one of whom is starting pre-school this fall, and that is NOT, as we all know, free! I was completely humbled by this woman. I hugged her and thanked her for the donation.
Before she left, I shook her hand. She grabbed me and embraced me in the most heartfelt hug. It was one of those hugs you would expect from a dear friend or a family member you had not seen in a long time. I realized in the world of people who want to serve the orphaned, there are but a few, and we are like a small family. This woman's embrace made the entire day of no one showing up worth it.
A while after this sweet family left for their long drive home, we packed up, cleaned up and called it a day. Our Event was from 9:00-noon and it was past noon by the time we cleaned up. No one else came. No one.
Today, as I drove to church, I looked at all the houses to whose doors I had taped fliers. I felt a little anger that no one came. I immediately realized that this was one of my lessons. To learn to forgive. I really didn't feel ANGER at those who didn't come. I didn't take it personally, either, so I didn't feel HURT. I thought the rest of the day about how I felt and realized it was sorrow. I was sad that no one cared about orphans enough to come.
At church, our lesson was about, among other things, service. I felt bitter...I guess that is the best word to use, although it seems a bit strong. Anyway, I was sad that most of the women in that room had gotten a flier, but not ONE had come. And here they were having a lesson on service! SLAP ME for being so stiff-necked! Who was I to judge them?! Besides, were they not just having a LESSON on service! The entire class I tried to remember these things...To tell myself I was being SO WICKED to even be at ALL upset that no one came! Then, the last part of our lesson was about not speaking ill of others and I felt so ashamed of how I felt about no one coming on Friday.
(I KNOW that I wasn't doing it to look good or to show off, and I am worried someone reading this will come to that conclusion. It wasn't like that. It was just that I was sad that no one came. But I realize now I need to not be because that is a bad thing to even think! It causes me to harbor some ill feeling for those who didn't show.)
The real humbling moment came when, after class, an older woman came up to me. She asked if I was the one who had hosted the "thing" (as she called it). She said that she wanted to donate some money to us. As I prepared to leave church after that, I almost began to cry. How ungrateful I am. How selfish. I thought of the new lessons I was learning:
1) Not everyone has such a deep desire to serve (and SAVE) orphans as I have
2) Not everyone has the means or time to come to fund raising events
3) Some people are amazingly kind and will drive a LONG distance to help you help others, even while they are struggling.
4) I am hard-hearted
5) I am ungrateful
6) If God has a work to be done, He will make it be done, with or without funds from one fundraiser
7) God's work is just that...WORK...and sometimes it is hard and sometimes you do a TON of work for no results, but that is how work goes some times.
8) I needed to be humbled
9) I need to be more humble
10) I need to not think ill of others
I have NO doubt I will continue to learn lessons from this fund raiser.
Also on my drive home, I began thinking of how much of a help the money that one mother donated would be. I will not say on here how much it was, but the money she gave me would buy about 40 bowls of rice in China. FORTY. It would feed FORTY street children one meal, probably their ONLY meal. Or, it would feed ONE child one meal a day for OVER ONE MONTH. Wow. Or I could donate it to Katie and feed who knows how many. I imagine food is even cheaper there than in China, so maybe it would buy even 100 bowls of rice. Phenomenal, really. That is HUGE. When you are there, touching those children, giving them their only source of sustenance, those 40-100 bowls of rice mean the world. They mean not having to turn away 40 children. They mean not having to see a child dead in the street from hunger. They mean bringing a sick and dying child back to life. They mean for that child hope. They mean taking away that pain of deep, starving hunger. That woman made a HUGE difference in the world. HUGE! She brought LIFE to 40 children! Possibly more.
So...how was the fund raiser? I don't know. God, who knows the future and knows the end of all things, knows what a difference this fund-raiser will make. And if it can make a difference, then I would say this fund-raiser was a success!
We are 40 mins into our event and nothing. No one has come. But we prayed as a group and I just know God's Will will be done. Whatever He has planned for us will come to pass. Maybe no one will show, but Sixteen Small Stones will still go on.
The neighbor girls and Taiger are having fun painting! :D We have been able to spend all morning outside and the weather is WONDERFUL! Not too hot! Nice and cool. It has been very beautiful out. We have also had a chance to visit and listen to the lovely music we have playing on our side shows.
This, I think, is a test for me...my heart is not soft enough.
Do you see the time I am posting this? Yeah, SO CRAZY tonight, preparing for tomorrow's BIG EVENT!
I got off work late and Jeremy and I went and gathered stones (did I mention I procrastinate SO BADLY?!). Then, to the dollar store for table cloth, paint brushes...etc...and then the craft store for paint. By then it was quite late (the craft store worker lady had to come tell us they were closed and we needed to leave...we still had to pay! Oops!)! We went to the neighbors to collect the table she said we could borrow for tomorrow (THANK YOU, JOANN!). Once home, we blew up balloons, made signs, made and cut out "business" cards, made our little sign to put on the table and tell about us...CRAZY BUSY!
In the midst of doing all of that at home, I showered Taiger, tidied my room and made Taiger dinner. Jeremy got Taiger out of the shower and down to bed (THANK YOU, JEREMY!)
Jeremy helped me SO MUCH tonight with making things and cutting things out, blowing up balloons, gathering stones...he drove me ALL around town, even though he was HUNGRY and SICK! SO SWEET! THANK YOU!
Unfortunately (heehee) our Bryttan had "other" things on her sweet mind (boys, ahem! or should I say, ONE boy in particular) and was a little busy with other things (his birthday is tomorrow and she was planning a surprise, making him a card...she was crazy busy, too!). Still, she found time to help me and be such a sweet heart! I was just sad because I made the signs and I KNOW she would have done MUCH better than I! She is very, very artistic!
My TIRED Mom came and helped us prepare, too, and my other sister offered moral support. :D Thanks, you guys!
I don't know what I would do without everyone's help! I certainly wouldn't be going to bed tonight...that's for sure!
Well, I still have a few things to finish up so I am off! But I will leave you with some pictures of our preparations! Enjoy!
My poor kitchen as I was trying to get everything done
If you ask Jeremy to blow up balloons, you either end up with balloon air being blown all over your face (along with plenty of saliva, thank you, Jeremy), or Jeremy ends up "pregnant"...or both (as in my case).
Jeremy being "athletic" with the balloon.
BeQin and McKenna playing cards...er, being "supportive" (yeah, right! LOL!)
Cutting out "Business card" (Jeremy was nearly asleep!)
UPDATE 2 ON 16 SMALL STONES EVENT
TOMORROW IS THE BIG DAY!! SWEEEET! I am so excited...and have had a prayer in my mind all day that tomorrow will go well. Please, if you can, pray for us as we take this first step. That things will go well and PEOPLE WILL COME! I have faith that GOD, who planted this seed in my heart and mind years ago, who has walked with me all this way, will not leave us tomorrow, and that He has a plan for the children in China and Africa, and that this small event tomorrow will bless one child's life, if that is all that is needed.
Last night, Jeremy and I ran to the grocery store and while we were there I put out some more fliers. Bryttan and BeQin and I put Taiger back in his little stroller and went out at about 10:30 last night when it had finally cooled off some to put the rest of the fliers on people's doors. My sweet sisters and son never complained about how many we put out, or how heavy the stroller was to push or how many (MANY) spider webs we walked through as we approached people's door steps. (I guess at that time of night the spiders are busy spinning webs!)
So, all of the fliers are out and now we can move on tonight to getting everything else ready. Bryttan and I have made slide shows and we have the music ready. Some more odds and ends to get ready and we should be good!!
In news aside from all of the preparations for tomorrow, I read Katie's blog today and it brought tears to my eyes. Seeing the good work she is doing in Africa motivates me to do more. I am so glad to have Sixteen Small Stones to use as a base to now begin serving others. I am excited to begin working with Amazima, and I am so excited for next year to go to China and begin our own feeding program with the people there.
Today, an American mother came in to our warehouse. She, her husband and FIVE children are moving here...FROM CHINA! They have been living there for FOUR YEARS! I was SO excited to talk to them about China, I think I may have almost frightened them! :) When I saw she was a little overwhelmed with my enthusiasms, I backed off and stopped asking her so many questions. She was very, very kind, though, and happy to talk to me about China. I directed her to our website...maybe we will see her or her family again! :D
I have to go now. I just realized I haven't bought the paint for tomorrow! God should not have called a PROCRASTINATOR to do His work! :D (That was a joke...I hope God will ALWAYS call on me! I will ALWAYS answer, "I am here, Lord, send me!")
UPDATE on preparing for the Sixteen Small Stones "Paint A Stone Event":
We copied 100 fliers last night at Kinkos (THANK HEAVEN they are open 24 hours!!!!!) and about 11:00pm Jeremy and I took Taiger in the stroller and we went around the neighborhood putting out fliers. Unfortunately, we didn't get many out before we needed to head in, but I will go out again tonight and do more. THANK YOU, JEREMY, for helping me!
I got a list made up last night of everything we need for Friday. There is a lot to do, but I have faith we can get everything done in time!!!!! Please pray for us to get everything ready, AND to have a good turn-out.
I am so excited for everything that is taking place! This is a wonderful opportunity to serve so many people! I foresee great things happening with Sixteen Small Stones for years to come, and I am excited that this is our first step on a life-long journey!
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." ~Lao Zi
I HAVE to post this announcement again...I want to make sure EVERYONE SEES IT!!!!! I am really excited!!!!!!
Our FIRST EVENT is planned and we are hurrying like CRAZY trying to get everything ready in time! Friday, we will host our first "Paint A Stone Event". This is the COOLEST fund raising idea, EVER, I think. People donate 16 cents (for "SIXTEEN Small Stones"...get it?!) and they get to paint a rock to take home! It will give them a fun little craft AND since it is a stone it will help them remember us and MORE IMPORTANTLY to remember all of the orphaned children in the world! I am really, really excited and praying it goes well. If it does, we hope to do more of this fund raiser.
Our vision is that this simple fund raiser will be SO FUN that it will catch on other places, too, and people will either host their own Paint A Stone event, or will themselves just paint a stone. What we hope is they will send us a picture (or even a video!!!!!!) of their event or of them and their painted rock. We will then post the picture to our website! We want our site to be PACKED with pictures of people ALL OVER painting rocks as a symbol of their advocacy for the orphans of the world. It would be such a miracle and a blessing if they felt compelled to send us their 16 cents, but even if they don't, we still want them to paint their rocks and send us their pictures to show they care about orphans.
SO....Here are the details for the event we are hosting! EVERYONE is invited, and it would be GREAT if you came! We would love to meet you!!!!!!
PAINT A STONE EVENT!!!!!
DATE: August 7, 2009 (THIS FRIDAY!!!!)
TIME: 9:30 am - 12:00 noon
PLACE: 1811 South 1800 East Sugarhouse, UTAH 84108 (If you need directions, please comment here and let me know! I can email directions to you!)
WHAT: For 16 cents you can paint a stone to bring home! We will have slide shows showing pictures of the children we will be helping. ALL of our board members will be there to answer any questions you have about Sixteen Small Stones, orphans, China, Africa...whatever! :D
NOTE: WE WILL PROVIDE THE STONES AND PAINT! :)
We really hope you will all come! It is going to be so much fun! SEE YOU FRIDAY!
WE CAN'T WAIT!!!!!
PAINT-A-ROCK event!!!! We have our first event planned!! This friday we are hosting our FIRST "PAINT-A-ROCK" event!!!!! For 16 cents, you can paint a rock, and, OF COURSE, ALL the money goes to helping the orphans in Africa and China. It will be REALLY fun! We are providing the rocks and paint. There will be slide shows of the kids we are helping, so you can see where the money is going. ALSO...if you want, we will take your picture of you and your painted rock and PUT IT ON OUR WEBSITE!!!!!! PLEASE, PLEASE COME! It will be SO SUPER FUN!!!!!! Who doesn't like to paint rocks?! Who doesn't like to help orphans?! SO COME! :D It will be THIS FRIDAY from 9:00 am to noon!!!! 1811 South 1800 East, Sugarhouse, Utah 84108If you live far away but still want to "participate" host your own "Paint-A-Rock" event! Send us your pictures and we will add them to ours and put them on our website! If you want help organizing this event, let me know! It is the most simple fund raiser in the world, I swear! We are just doing it in our front yard. If you want, I can send you a copy of the fliers we are using to send out and you can just use them...TOO EASY! :D !!!!!!