Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
Thursday, September 6, 2007
our HUMONGOUS, GOD-ORCHESTRATED fundraiser
In April 2007, God woke me in the middle of the night (probably because that’s the only time He can get a hold of me) and prompted me to spend some time with Him praying and writing in my journal. Around 3:30 am, I began to get a very clear vision of a huge fundraiser for our adoption. Over the past year, I had brainstormed fundraisers many times but never felt compelled to carry them out. The idea in itself always seemed overwhelming. This time, however, I was getting very excited. I felt like God was giving me all the ideas and I was just putting it on paper. About 1 ½ hours later, I went back to bed. When I awoke later that morning and thought back to my time with the Lord, my first thought was “that was the most overwhelming idea ever.” I quickly dismissed everything I planned earlier that morning. A week later God brought the vision back to me, this time with an abundance of enthusiasm and confidence that I was to carry this out. As I began writing, details filled the paper. I could barely keep up with my thoughts. God even gave me a date of June 15, so I wrote it down. An hour later, I came out of the office and told Todd that we were going to be having a fundraiser on June 15 and 16. I called my friend Lacey and my parents. I think I needed to tell someone so I would have some accountability. This time I was sure that God was asking me to bring this fundraiser to completion. Over the next month I prayed. I prayed about locations and volunteers to help implement this event, and I met with a friend to begin planning. Over this time, God refined the vision and made it crystal clear. I was to have a massive garage sale, BBQ, and bake sale. I wanted the whole community involved. I wanted our neighbors, friends, small group, church, etc. to be a part of this. I started sharing my vision with more and more people and word traveled. I was on the phone constantly trying to nail down a location. I had prayed about it and even had a list of criteria we were looking for, but every option was a closed door. As June 15 approached, many people suggested that I postpone the fundraiser because we had no location. I felt very strongly that I was supposed to carry it out on that day—there was no changing it. I persevered and would not let discouragement seep in. I knew God would provide a place for us. A few days before our fundraiser we decided on a location—our home! In the mean time, I got another idea—let’s make t-shirts. A friend of a friend, Shauna Majerus, quickly agreed to help us. On very short notice she designed the front and back of the shirt for us. To save on time, we ended up using the painting she had made for our friends Erryn and Deke for their mission trip to Uganda. We had over 500 shirts made through Sutton’s Sportswear. The turn around time was supposed to be 3 weeks. However, Sutton’s was very supportive and generous towards us—they not only donated some of the costs, but they put a rush on the order, so we would have them before the 15th. Within one week of our fundraiser, details came together. Our phone was ringing off the hook, and we were constantly sharing praise reports of what God was doing. A family from our small group donated 800 hotdogs, hamburgers, and buns, along with some help from Sweetheart Bakery and Food Services of America. City Brew donated a carafe of coffee that serves 80-100 people for Fri and Sat. Starbucks donated a carafe of coffee that serves 80-100 people for Friday. Donut Hole donated 5 dozen donuts for Friday and Saturday. Let’s Party donated a balloon arch for over our street. Wheat Montana called and said that they had seen our flyer. They thought this fundraiser was an awesome idea and for a great cause. They brought a carload of pastries, turnovers, cookies, cinnamon rolls, breads, etc. Target donated a $30 gift card. Wal-Mart donated a $25 gift card. Albertson’s donated the use of their copy machine to Lacey and I at midnight (because we found out Kinko’s is not open 24 hours) for us to make 250 flyers.
Our big living room, which had no furniture in it since we were remodeling our house at the same time, was completely filled with donated items. A person could not walk into the room. There was not a square inch of space left. We had items dropped off on our doorstep overnight. Over 35 families cleaned out their homes to donate to our sale! On June 13, I had some friends come over to help organize this pile. Amber, Sarah, Lacey. Rhonda, Carol, and Summer began distributing items to vacant rooms of the house and pricing each item. I was making phone calls to find 6 ft. tables. I ended up tracking down 30 tables and had volunteers drive around to pick them up. We had people at our house around the clock helping. Becky and Char made an enormous array of baked goods. Neighbors dropped off more goodies. Sharon helped watch my kids and cleaned my house. Since we were still without a washing machine, Carol and Sharon both took ALL my laundry home and brought it back the next day folded! Jon and Christy, Jana, and Cindi, and Chuck all stopped by to set up for the sale. Sarah spent hours making signs for the sale—complete with a map to assist the person posting them. I wrote a letter to our neighborhood informing them of what was going on. They all responded positively and parked their cars on side streets and alleys to keep our street open for the public. We blocked off our street to have more space and used our neighbor’s grass and driveway. The night before the sale I got 45 minutes of sleep. We had people showing up at 6am and it stayed busy until the evening. I was stationed at the “cashier” table where we had our t-shirts on display, a scrapbook of Christopher and Katie, and a donation jar. We had lines of people waiting to pay and to hear our story. I repeated our story non-stop all day long for two days. Masses of people heard about God’s love and His faithfulness. People were brought to tears. Nobody tried to negotiate prices. In fact, the majority said “keep the change.” I even had a few give me $100 bills. One particularly vivid memory is a woman who said she had just met my husband a couple days earlier because he was working on her neighbor’s house. She heard about our adoption and fundraiser. She said she had just gone to the bank and handed me an envelope. We were so busy, that I just looked at her eyes and said thank you. I put the envelope in the donation jar. A few hours later when we had a moment, we unfolded the envelope and saw $1000 cash. I was in tears. I called Todd at work to tell him of this amazing blessing. After Todd got off the phone, the song “Who Am I” came on the radio in his truck. Todd is not an emotional person by any stretch of the imagination, but as he listened to the words of this song and thought about this woman’s generosity, he cried. As the tears were pouring down and his eyes were blurry, all he could think about was what would happen to the pies, that his customer had just made for our bake sale, if he crashed from not being able to see! We were completely humbled and overwhelmed. KULR 8 News came that afternoon, interviewed me and put us on the 10pm news. Friday night we were exhausted. We thought we would go to bed early. It was around midnight. The moment I crawled into bed, Jaden woke up with a severe asthma attack. We gave him his rescue inhaler but it was not helping. I prayed with him and Todd tried calming him down. After an hour, his asthma only progressed. Todd stayed home with Kellen and Sage while Lacey hopped in the car with us to go to the ER. I began praying out loud for Jaden who was panicking. I made a phone call to the hospital to let them know we were on our way. I also called our fellow prayer warriors Chuck and Sharon. While I was on the phone, Lacey took over praying out loud for Jaden. About five minutes later we pulled up to the hospital, and the moment we walked through the ER doors, Jaden was breathing normally. His oxygen level was great, he wasn’t wheezing anymore. After seeing the Dr. they had no explanation for us. They could not explain why he was breathing normally now. But we knew…without a doubt, God had just made Jaden better. We were able to get 1 hour 45 minutes of sleep that night. God showed us that He can be our strength, that we need to rely on Him and He will carry us through. And He did! A couple days later a reporter from The Journal Gazette tracked us down and wrote an article about our adoption. Our fundraiser was a huge success because Christ was at the center of it. He received all the credit. He brought our friends, neighbors, and community together and they embraced us with love and support. It was amazing. We thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. We saw God working in the midst of us. He was alive and present at our garage sale. God was glorified!
In the late evening of June 14, Sharon and Chuck drove to the Heights to run an errand for us. As they were overlooking the rims, they saw a beautiful rainbow and were reminded of God’s promises to us. On the morning of June 17, on the way to church, we saw another rainbow. God gave us a rainbow at the beginning and end of our fundraiser. People often asked how much money I expected to raise from this event. I had no idea. Of course I wanted it to be a successful weekend, but I truly believed that the weekend belonged to the Lord. It was His to do with as He wanted. If not one person came, it would still be ok because I was only doing this fundraiser out of obedience to what God has asked of me. He would receive the glory no matter what. In my moments of daydreaming, I thought it would be incredible if we could raise $6000 plus another $1000 to give to Amani Baby Cottage. (Amani does not keep any money for themselves, they are totally run by donation). On the evening of Saturday, June 16, after the completion of our sale, we counted $6996. Over the next couple days, some more money came in, bringing the total over $7000. Praise God! He is so good to us.
Welcome! Todd and I have 3 biological children and have adopted a son and daughter from Uganda, Africa. This story is about God's love, His faithfulness, and His sovereignty. We were not expecting to adopt, but God gave us a desire so that He could fulfill it. Our hope is that He receives the glory. To read the story from the beginningclick here!
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"Faithful is He who called you and He will bring it to pass." 1 Thessalonians 5:24