I am driving through the country-side in Idaho, down back roads, totally lost. Why am I here? I am so glad you asked. :)
Several months ago, Renee with Serving His Children let me know that she was in great need of Fuzzi Bunz one-size diapers. I was so excited when she told me that because it seemed like something Sixteen Small Stones could provide for her. We launched Operation: Fuzzi Bunz...and nothing happened. No one donated. I emailed Fuzzi Bunz manufacturers and distributors asking for discounts or donations. I emailed LeLeche League leaders. I told everyone about this project. I prayed that someone would donate! I had FAITH that something would happen...but it never did. Nothing happened. I was worried that Renee would think I let her down. I was worried that she would think Sixteen Small Stones was some dorky thing that some careless flake "put together". I forgot to look at His big picture. I figured I would just buy some Fuzzi Bunz myself and send them to Renee! However, I quickly learned there was NO WAY I could do this, as Fuzzi Bunz are SO expensive! Some people donated cloth diapers, and I was so thankful to them! However, because of the children Renee cares for, I knew these just weren't going to work. I was so sad that things were not working out as I had hoped, and wondered how the end would be.
One day, months after I had started Operation: Fuzzi Bunz, and months after I had all but "given up" on this project ever coming to fruition, I received an email from a woman who wanted to donate Fuzzi Bunz! She had FOUR that she wanted to donate! I was so excited, and SO THANKFUL! ("Maybe Renee won't think I am a total looser, after all!", was one of my first thoughts...How shallow I am!) Renee was going to be in the US in June, and I set the diapers up so I could send them to her when she was in America. I was so thankful, and imagined the difference these diapers would make to her and to her children! I prayed and thanked Heavenly Father for this sweet woman.
Then, this same woman emailed me and told me she wanted to donate MORE diapers, UP TO TWENTY, but she always looks into the organizations to whom she donates, and she wanted to know more about Sixteen Small Stones...specifically, if we were 501c3 approved.
That little combination of letters and numbers has alluded me for years. Not because we don't qualify, but because I just can't figure out the process of application, etc. Somehow, I just can't wrap my mind around this complicated process.
Dang. Dang. Dang.
My heart was breaking. If only I could somehow PROVE to her that we are what we say we are, even without those silly numbers. I felt so heartsick for the lost possibility of getting the much needed diapers to Renee. I felt embarrassed that we weren't an official NGO. I felt overwhelmed with desire to provide these diapers to the children. I felt FULL of FAITH that if we were supposed to get these diapers, we would get them...with or without having 501c3 at the end of our name.
So, I asked all of our partner homes if we could use their names and send to this woman a list of the places we help. I was so amazingly humbled and grateful when everyone said I could, and I sent this woman an email with information about us.
I was ashamed because it looked like we weren't "real".
A week or so passed, and one day I opened my email to see a message from her. I was sure she would say she has decided NOT to donate any more...and that she wanted me to send back to her the four she had already donated.
"Oh ye of little faith..."
This woman said that her friend in Rexburg had twenty diapers to donate.
I was overwhelmed with gratitude! With humility! I prayed and thanked GOD for His goodness! TWENTY DIAPERS! Could you imagine?
Well, more time passed...another month, and I didn't hear from this woman or her friend. I began to think it wasn't as great as it had sounded. I doubted everything. "I probably won't hear from them again...Even if I do, I bet they don't actually have TWENTY diapers, maybe 5 or 6...But even 5 or 6 would be AMAZING...But I probably won't hear from them again...Why would they want to donate twenty diapers to us?..." And so my doubts continued.
In an attempt to make a long story short(ish) I will spare you all the details. But, the real story begins when, this last weekend, I received a phone call from that woman's friend, stating she wanted to meet up with me while I was in Idaho and donate diapers.
I was at my cousin's wedding, but left early so I could meet this woman! NOTHING was going to get in the way of getting these diapers, even if it was only ONE more, it was one more, and that would make a difference!!!!!
I changed out of my wedding attire. Taiger had fallen asleep and I tucked him in to bed and left the house. I got in the car and considered going back in to get my i-pod, but decided I needed this quite drive more...I needed some quite time with God. So, I drove away.
The sun was setting and the sky was beautiful, as it is only in Idaho. Their sunsets are the most amazing I have ever seen anywhere in the world. I spoke with God as I drove through the beautiful, open land and gazed at the many-colored clouds of dusk. I felt so close to my Heavenly Father as I drove and spoke with Him. It was a tender and quiet moment as I thanked God for His miracles and for these diapers.
Then, I began to doubt (AGAIN! Oh my gosh, will I EVER learn?!). I thought of Taiger at home. I knew if he woke up, alone in the basement, he would be so frightened. He could cry for a long time before anyone heard him. I knew he would be too afraid to leave the room and go upstairs. I wondered what I was doing...what I was sacrificing to help these other children...complete strangers, really. I was sacrificing my own son for the sake of my desire to serve some children far across the world. WHY?! Would Taiger always resent me? (How the devil puts EVERY doubt in our mind when we are doing good.) I prayed for Taiger, that he would please just stay asleep. Please.
I drove for a long time, all the while worrying about Taiger, praying, thinking. I became lost. It was getting late, and I didn't want to leave this woman waiting. We had planned to meet at a specific time...what if I couldn't find this place?
And here we pick up where we began. I am driving through the country-side in Idaho, totally lost. I see a gas station up ahead and I decide to stop and ask directions.
If you read my post about getting lost with Taiger, you will understand this next fact: I was worried about stopping at the gas station to ask directions. I didn't want them to be angry with me, and I didn't want to bother anyone. Finally, I went into the gas station. I flashed the man at the counter a smile, hoping I could soften him up before he realized I wasn't buying anything and was only taking advantage of the fact he may know the surrounding area. When it was my turn in line, I was so nervous I just blurted out my question without much gentleness or formality. I shut my mouth in shock at how my words had come out. I knew I had blown it. I waited for harsh words to rain back on me. Instead, I was met with a kind smile, and a soft voice. The man I had asked, as well as someone else working with him, took the time to explain how to get where I was going. They leaned on the counter to look in my eyes and point directions on an air map. My heart was again humbled. I left with many a "thank you" pouring from my mouth, and a heart full of humility, gratitude and relief.
I found the place and got out of the car to meet the woman. At first sight, I was struck with how KIND she looked! So loving and gentle! I was so relieved and immediately began thanking her for meeting me, for taking the time, etc. She lead me to the back of her suburban and opened the door. There were many things in the back, and I wondered if she was a Relief Society President helping set up for some ward event, or if she was just getting rid of many "old" things...maybe a trip to DI, but they were all so organized it was surprising. She moved some pots (all neatly stacked) and there was a box. Because I had wondered if these were all just old things from her house, I figured she must be donating some old, used diapers (I had thought this from the first), and since no one in their right mind would need TWENTY Fuzzi Bunz on hand, I figured she was going to donate one or two (again, this is what I had already figured from the get-go).
Then, she said, "Let me count and make sure there are all twenty".
"WHAT?!" I screamed...in my head, of course! "She REALLY IS going to donate TWENTY?! HOW?!?!?!?!" She opened the box, and inside, all neatly packed, were BRAND NEW FUZZI BUNZ DIAPERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My thoughts stuck in my head. She pulled some out and began to count and I caught a glimpse of the tag..."ONE SIZE"...THIS WAS A ONE SIZE FUZZI BUNZ DIAPER! Precisely what Renee needed! She counted out twenty. Yes, twenty. I asked if these were all hers, and she told me that she sold Fuzzi Bunz and her friend (the woman who had donated four to us already) had ordered these twenty from her. I almost fell to my knees. Do you know the sheer price of twenty Fuzzi Bunz?! I will give you an idea: ONE costs about 15 dollars. Yeah, you do the math.
But more than the actual cost, I realized the SACRIFICE going on here.
The woman asked me a little about where the diapers were going and through conversation I found out she has sent a donation of colored pencil packets to Katie Davis of Amazima Ministries! Again, my jaw dropped (in my mind here folks...it is still part of my face, I swear). How good is God?! How His timing and planing is so perfect! I could tell she felt somewhat comforted knowing I knew about Amazima and that Renee was "friends" with Katie. I gave her a Sixteen Small Stones business card and told her she could read more about us at our blog and website.
I was overwhelmed as I got in the car. I pulled out one of the diapers...I realized they ALL were "One Size". And I began to laugh and cry at once, all out loud, and then I started praying at the same time. I have never laughed and cried and prayed at the same time before, and it gave me a tummy ache after a while, but I couldn't stop. All the months of being discouraged, God knew these two women were going to donate. All the time I felt nervous and worried about what to do to get Renee these diapers, God was already miles ahead of me, preparing these women. I realized that long before God planted in my heart the idea of Operation: Fuzzi Bunz, God was already preparing for this time. Through a journey I don't even know the story of, he lead this woman to Katie Davis and to making that huge donation of pencils so we could be united to bring diapers to these children in Africa. It all reaches back before time and memory and existence to the the beginning of His plan, which has no beginning or end.
I was struck with how BIG God is. How HUGE He is...how eternal...how perfect and amazing and....BIG! I was struck with how ENORMOUS His love is for those children in Africa....every single one. He is not too big to know each of them personally...to know each and every one of them. And then I was humbled that a God so big, with a love for those children that was so GIGANTIC and with a plan so perfect and big would use little, insignificant me to be His hands to bring diapers to those important children...HIS children, who He loves immeasurably.
I am sitting here, in the center of His great and eternal plan, with twenty little baby-yellow Fuzzi Bunz diapers, ready to mail them around the world to His precious children in Africa, for whom He has a plan, for whom He is concerned constantly, for whom he LOVES deeply, and for whom He has chosen little Sixteen Small Stones, without 501c3 status, to be HIS hands to deliver twenty yellow Fuzzi Bunz.