Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fund Raiser

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 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. 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!

1 comment:

Megan and Vinny said...

bless you in your efforts, breclyn. you are doing a mighty work.