A Stroke of God’s Love

God is awesome.  Let me just say that really quick.  I just have to give Him so much praise.  Yesterday I lost count of how many times I cried overwhelmed tears due to the way God was moving in response to prayer.  I am still in awe of him and so excited  that so many have seen Him in big ways in the last week or so.  I believe the best is yet to come.  In advance, I apologize if this blog post is a bit back and forth and a bit long.  I hope I don’t miss any details.

Many of you already know that Josh and I have taken in an exchange student from Belgium.  She is such a great fit for our family.  She isn’t used to having much younger kids in the home, but she is patient and has adapted well.  Her spunk and sass is a nice addition to the male-heavy tone in our home.  🙂  She has been such a blessing to our family.  We decided to host through Cultural Homestay International (CHI), an organization I would recommend if you are interested in doing the same.  Our family will never be the same having had her in our lives.  She is such a ray of sunshine in our home.

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On August 25th, I logged into facebook to find a message from our CHI Tennessee coordinator saying the following:

Students and families please keep a 16 year old young man from China in your thoughts and prayers today. He is an exchange student with CHI in the state of Illinois. He is in critical condition after suffering a stroke yesterday while in PE class. He has a blood clot in his carotid artery. He is unconscious and on a feeding tube at this time. Please pray that his family will get here safe and quickly and that a miracle will happen for him.

Naturally my heart began to cry out to the Lord for healing and peace.  I instantly placed myself in the shoes of his host family and his natural parents.  My word.  I cannot even make myself go to either one of those places.  God impressed upon me to find a way to serve him during that time.  While our coordinator and her assistant were on their way to St. Louis to show support for that situation, I contact them and asked if I could organize a card shower for the student and host family.  They agreed.

This is what was posted on facebook.  This is still an option of you’d like to get involved:

CHI Card Shower

A. Send greeting cards of encouragement to his host family, his biological family and/or him. We are asking that you put “Host Family” “Student” or “Family” in the lower left hand corner on the back of the envelope so each card can get to the right person without the cards having to be opened first.

B. Send a prepaid debit card to be used by the biological/host family for gas, food and/or personal items associated with staying at a hospital and possibly rehab center for a little while. There’s no telling how long they will be here, but his biological family had to leave China quickly. Changes are they forgot things. We all know how expensive eating out can be and what a hit that can take on one’s finances. If you were a person who wanted to rally your Sunday school class, this would be a great option for a group support effort.

C. Send Domino’s, Jimmy John’s and/or Pizza Hut gift cards. The cafe on site is reportedly VERY expensive. There is a Pizza Hut on site so these could be used there or for delivery. All three of these places deliver. This would be another great option for Sunday schools or small groups to either purchase a variety of cards or one larger card to one place.

D. For those in Coffee, Bedford, Franklin, Cannon, Moore and Warren counties: I am collecting non-perishable foods (peanut butter crackers, fruit cups, pudding, granola bars, etc), gum, mints, small coloring/activity books, cards etc to for the family to use in the waiting area. I will be sending this box NEXT FRIDAY (the 7th) to give people enough time to gather items and meet up with me. Depending on where you are located, we may have to meet in the middle.

The last I heard, nearly $100 in prepaid VISA gift cards had been received and delivered to the family!  Thank you for helping!  That’s awesome!  Donations also came in locally of food and financial support for the care package.  That was shipped out today and should arrive Tuesday!

During the coordinator’s stay in St. Louis, they posted this update:

He has a tiny hole in his heart that has probably been there. The doctors believe that the long flight caused the blood clot to set up and it has just been floating around until it found the hole and that is where it lodged.

They have removed his breathing tube to see how he is going to do on his own. China will only allow one emergency visa so his natural father is getting that. The flight is so long so hopefully he will be here in a couple of days.

At this point many began to pray that God would work it out so that both parents could travel to be by his side during this time.  A time later, we were given this update:

Update: His family will arrive tonight at 9:15. His parents and little brother all got their Visas!!! He is conscious, but still unable to move anything on his left side. Thank you all for your prayers and support. We will be heading back later this evening.

Praise GOD!  God provided for his whole immediate family to travel to be by his side!  That’s something only God could do!  He went above the law of the land to provide for this student!

Upon their arrival, CHI hired a translator to help the family speak with doctors about decisions and to gain their whereabouts.  From what I understand, it is unclear how long this individual will be able to stay to offer his services.  Something in my heart just wanted to cry.  Having been to India, I can slightly relate with how it feels to look around and see VERY FEW people who look and sound like you do.  Here are these parents (and brother) plunged into a situation where their son is very sick, they can’t speak the language, are unfamiliar with the food, have no idea how to get around (not that they would probably want to leave their son’s side)…and the translator will only be available for a short time.  My heart just felt so bad for them.  I tried to think of people I knew in the St. Louis area and remembered one of my friends all through school lived in Missouri.  I contacted her on facebook and began to discuss the cards and then expressed my desire to find someone to reach out to them in person.  I began to look for Christian chruches in the close proximity to the hospital with not much luck.  I thought maybe I could help coordinate meals for the family and general outreach during this hard time.  Each time I found one which looked promising, there wouldn’t be contact information available.  SIDE TANGENT:  If you are in charge of a church website, PLEASE make sure there’s a phone number listed.  Your website is somewhat ineffective if someone in need can’t have access to you or your ministries by way of phone.  Looking back, I can see it was God’s plan though.  Just yesterday, September 3rd, I did yet again another  search for churches in St. Louis.  What popped up?  “St. Louis Chinese Baptist Church!”  I literally sat there with tears in my eyes.  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  I didn’t type in anything special.  Nothing different from the other searches I had done for a week leading up to yesterday.  It was just God’s timing…and it was perfect!  And guess what?  There was a phone number so I called and left a voicemail.

After a couple of hours, I called again because I figured nobody would be in the office on Friday.  The following is a bit of a summary of our conversation:

A man answers the phone: Hello?ME:  Hi this is Andrea, I called earlier about a Chinese exchange student who is currently being treated at St. Louis Children’s Hospital…”
It was at that moment my brain realized when he answered the phone he said, “Hello” and not something along the lines of, “St. Louis Chinese Baptist Church, this is ____.  Can I help you?”
ME:  I’m sorry.  Is this St. Louis Chinese Baptist Church?
MAN:  No.  I don’t go to that church anymore.  When I did attend there anymore.  How did you get this number?
ME:  *Palm to face*  I’m thinking, great….I thought this was God’s provision.  “I searched for churches in the St. Louis area whom I thought might help reach out to a Chinese exchange student who is being treated at Children’s Hospital. Do you by chance have the phone number for that church?”
MAN:  They don’t have a lanline number that I know of.
ME:  Oh boy…ok, well…. hummm.  What about an email address?  I tried to email them but the email was returned because that email address isn’t in use anymore.
MAN:  That was also my email address.
ME:  Shoot…ok.  I am looking for a church who can reach out to a Chinese student and his parents.  He is an exchange student and suffered a stroke last week.  His parents are in from China but they don’t speak English at all.
MAN:  Do you have an email that you can send?  I will forward it to the pastor of the church I go to now.  It’s called Chinese Gospel Church.
ME:  Yes.  I will do that when we get off of the phone if I can have a good address to send it to.
MAN: *he gives it to me*
ME:  Great!  I will send it to you when we get off the phone.  Thank you!

A few hours later, I got a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize.  Normally I just let it go to voicemail, knowing if it is a sales call they won’t leave a message.  Moments later, my phone beeped with a voicemail.  Because I was making dinner I wanted to check it.  When I did, I got tears in my eyes again.  It was an elder from the Chinese Gospel Church calling to get room number and additional information about the student.  Not only was I connect with this church in a way that the world would say was “by chance” but they had follow through!  I called the gentleman back and discussed the student’s and parent’s situation.  I inquired as to when this weekend he would be traveling to the hospital to make a connection.  He said it wouldn’t be this weekend, but that very evening.  Keep in mind please it’s 9pm while we are on the phone.  We prayed before we got off of the phone and looked very much forward to hearing a report.  Later I learned that he wasn’t able to visit because visiting hours ended at while we had been talking on the phone but that he and his wife had plans to go around noon the today (the 4th).  To God be the glory!  A willing and ready servant!  You know, it’s great to see someone with the shoes of readiness firmly secured.  Praise the Lord!  Not only that, he said that they would be turning this into a local mission of sorts.

We are a homeschooling family.  While I was at Co-op today, I got a phone call from a Missouri number.  I quickly answered it and learned it was an additional elder from Chinese Gospel Church wanting to clear up some communication issues.  He also confirmed that they would be working with their fellowship this weekend to make a plan to surround this family in love and service while they are here.  I was so overwhelmed by God once again.  Currently I am waiting on a report from the meeting that was scheduled to take place today.

Where does this mission project go from here?

Because of the predicted amount of time the family will be at the hospital (they should be able to check into the Ronald McDonald Home sometime soon), I am encouraging those willing to serve somehow through this situation to consider the following in order to keep the support rolling.  Don’t forget you are welcome to rally your own church/Sunday school class to get involved.

Two flatrate boxes were sent to the family of a Chinese exchange student who suffered a stroke last week.  Thanks to God for the provisions that made this possible.

Thanks to God for the provisions that made this possible.

  • Purchasing a package of blank cards from a dollar type store, stamps for those cards and go ahead and address the cards.  When God leads you to encourage the family, host family or student, please feel free to do so.  I am also giving them out to families with whom I share his situation with who want to help.
  • I will be putting together another care package shipment to the family in October.  If you would like to help provide items for the box, financial gift to purchase things for the box or pay for shipping, you are more than welcome.
  • I learned that the host family is traveling every 3 days or so to the hospital.  Their family lives approximately 45 minutes away so they are spending a decent amount on gas each time.  I plan to send a card to them also with a prepaid VISA card in it for gas expenses.  Maybe consider doing the same?  I know if our student was the one sick, I wouldn’t be able to just stay at home.  I would be heartbroken and would want to be there, too.
  • PRAY for the student’s healing!
  • PRAY for Chinese Gospel Church and the work they will be doing for this family.
  • PRAY for the peace and comfort of Christ to be accepted by the family of this student.

As of right now, this is what I know about our support efforts. Thank you for those of you who have been a part of this outreach.

  • 4 states are represented among those who have agreed to send cards to the student, family and/or host family!
  • Close to $100 has been sent to the family by way of prepaid VISA cards!  I have been notified that more are expected to be sent as well!
  • One church in South Carolina, primarily comprised of single moms, has agreed to take up a special offering for the family and to send cards!
  • Countless churches across the United States have placed this situation on their prayer lists.
  • God heard the desire of the student’s brother to have Legos to play with.  They were purchased for the care package without even knowing of his desires.

I believe that God has something bigger in store for this student and for this family.  I just can’t wait to see what he does in their lives.  His healing power, his ability to provide comfort and peace during this time of crazy circumstance…  Only He will be able to be glorified in the end.  He has already showed His power and I don’t see Him walking away now.  He is mighty to save and worthy of praise.

 

God’s Little Pumpkins Need Our Help!

Last week, a group of the India vision team put our heads together to figure out how we were going to get the items the boys at Shiloh Children’s Home and our friends serving full time needed before we got on the plane.  There were several people who asked us if there were things we needed for the trip.  The most logical way to connect those wanting to help with the needs was make a pumpkin patch, of course!  It will function much like an Angel Tree that is setup at Christmastime.

IMG_20141014_162640_951[1]IMG_20141014_162621_311[1]On this board, we put one pumpkin to represent each boy at Shiloh with his clothing sizes.  We are asking people at church to pick a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch and shop for the orphan listed there.  All clothing gifts are requested to be turned in by November 30th.  The vines on the big pumpkins will have pictures of each boy at Shiloh to give it a personal touch. When I get updated pictures, I will post them.

One of our teammates is a teacher in one of the local public schools and is in charge of BETA Club.  She presented this project to them as a service project and they accepted the challenge!  She thought she might get 15 pumpkins claimed but because she had the potential to get rid of more, I made duplicate pumpkins to the ones on the board at church for a total of 40.  Boy were we wrong!  Between the club and other 6th grade students, 42 pumpkins were claimed!  Wow WOW wow!  I am anxious to hear how it goes in the next coming days as the 7th and 8th graders have been invited to participate.  I have supplied her with a total of 80 pumpkins.  Should all 80 pumpkins find homes, each child will be getting a shirt, pants, shoes, underwear and socks.  Isn’t that amazing?

Another teammate is a teacher at a local elementary school and wanted to get involved, too!  I supplied her with 43 pumpkins with needs which our friends living in India requested.  Kool-Aid, taco bell seasoning packets, Hidden Valley Ranch Mix Packets and such.  I kept a few to try to get covered and to give to yet another teammate.

If you are interested in purchasing items for the full time servants in India, please comment below!

If you are interested in purchasing items for the full time servants in India, please comment below!

I have made over 160 pumpkins.  With God’s help, we will have all kinds of goodies to deliver in December!  I can’t wait to tell you about the activities on Sunday regarding the pumpkins at 50 Cent Auctions.

Cheers,
Andrea

KIMBO’SWISH First Annual Fall Festival Recap

In my last blog post I made mention of the vendor event that I was getting ready for which was on Saturday, October 18th.  I heard about this even through the 50 Cent Auction group on Facebook that I have talked about several times.  One Sunday afternoon, a woman by the  name of Christen came to pick up her items that she won from me on the auction and handed me a flyer for an event she was planning.  I asked if she had vendor booth spaces still available because if she did I’d like to bring my paper bead jewelry.

Coil bracelet which was on sale last night at the Trunk Show.

Coil bracelet  made with glass beads, metal beads and paper beads.

After a couple of weeks, things were settled and her event was put on my calendar.  I was super excited because her goal was to raise support for her soon to be non-profit for the middle Tennessee area.  Basically, KIMBO’SWISH is an organization who gives young kids with terminal illnesses their wish of meeting their favorite character.  At the event, for example, Elmo and Anna and Elsa from Frozen made an appearance. My son was in HEAVEN!  More about that later.  This event was specifically put together to finish raising the needed fees to obtain her non-profit status with Uncle Sam.  Anything raised after that would go to help a little boy’s parents with travel expenses, I believe, so he can get his next cancer treatment. The night before the event, I was talking to a teammate about my situation and she agreed to work my booth with me.  At vendor events a person needs two people at the booths so that there is someone to cover restroom and lunch breaks. I was so relieved that Nancy would be helping me. Especially when I woke up the next morning an hour before I was supposed to be at the church to set up! I still had to shower, get around, get my 3 year old up and get him around, get a few things at Wal-Mart and breakfast for both of us. Did I mention my son had a caugh that wouldn’t stop? Not a good morning. I called Nancy and thankfully she was running absolutely on time so she was able to get our spot and tell the organizers what was going on. When I pulled in, she was standing there and I couldn’t help but throw my arms around her and get choked up. She was my strength and stability in that moment that I absolutely needed. If not for her, I don’t think I could have made it through the day. What a blessing she was to me. We hauled in all of our things and got settled in. Acutally first, Nancy saved the day again by going to the drugstore to get some cough medicine for Peyton. That REALLY helped him.

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Everyone wave to Nancy!  I’m pretty sure she was listening to Joseph Pope’s second song.  More on that later.

My next hero(s) was Keri. Years ago when I started childcare in my home, her kids were my first ones to come to me fulltime. My goodness how they have grown. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw them. She also brought her teenager, Devin, and his girlfriend. They helped me so much by taking Peyton to the park to play, to play games at the event and even to get his face painted. Keri has done such a good job with her kids. She has SO much to be proud of, that’s for sure. At this event there were vendors, as I have said, but there was also live music, games for the kids, a silent auction, face painting and of course special appearances by popular characters! The first live musician to take the stand was a boy by the name of Joseph Pope. I believe I am getting it right by saying he is 12 years old and just a few months ago, he taught himself how to play the saxophone! This kid was AWESOME! His first number was “I’m Glad You Came,” by The Wanted. Wow…I literally stood there with tears in my eyes. The kid was awesome! His second number was “Happy.” Again he absolutely rocked the house! I wish there was a YouTube video or something of his performance because I know you would be as impressed as I was. An hour or so into the event, an announcement was made that Elmo would be joining the event soon. I didn’t tell Peyton about it until he was walking in the front door of the gymnasium. When he walked in and was being announced, I turned him around so he could see him and his eyes lit up so bright! He was in awe that Elmo was actually there! He wasn’t really sure what to do with himself other than to open his eyes and mouth as wide as they could go. I asked if he wanted to go see him and he took off running full speed across the gym to him. When I say running, I mean knees high, arms pumping, the whole nine yards. When I got over to him and pulled my phone out to take a picture, this is what I captured:

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When Elmo made it over to our booth, he wrapped his arms around him for another huge hug!

Sorry its blurry!

Sorry its blurry!

He had such a great time. You would not believe the people God had in store for me to meet. One of the first people to come up to my booth was a woman who was in town from Alabama. She was helping her daughter with her booth or was volunteering or something. I told her about our mission trip and our long term plans. I also told her about Loft 218, the non-profit that the children’s home and life skills training center will be built under. She shared with me that her church is very missions minded and gave me a card with her pastor’s contact information on it. She encouraged us to call him to see if we could speak there one Sunday to gain support and prayers for what God has called us to do. Wow…I was so blown away that an event I almost didn’t make it to, God had this big of an appointment waiting for me. There were other people who came up and spoke to me about my jewelry, asked questions on how I got into it, what we would be doing in Rajasthan and such. I was so encouraged by the words of affirmation and encouragement I got from that crowd. One woman sat down and talked to me for probably 20 minutes about how God will direct my hands when making jewelry and my feet during the vision trip. How encouraging! I have said all along, financial support is obviously important where mission trips are concerned, but sometimes moral and emotional support are even more important. God proved this to me again at that event. An hour or so after Elmo came out, an announcement was made that Elsa and Anna were on their way to spend time with the kids and take pictures, too! Peyton, at the time, was at the playground with the teenagers so he didn’t get to see them walk in. As he was walking through the doors from playing, Keri was walking out of the restrooms and saw him. Because we had talked earlier about how excited he will be when they come out, she knelt down and turned him so he could see who was there. Oh he was over the moon excited to see them. He went and stood in line to meet them. I, again, walked over there with my phone to capture the moment. Soooo sweet. He was actually a little bashful to walk up to them but with my help he was good to go.

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By the end of the day, I was so filled up and encouraged and blown away by all of the provisions God had given me that day. Between Friday and Saturday, I was pretty sure things couldn’t get much better! That evening, an update came up on the KIMBO’SWISH page on facebook:

WE DID IT!!!! We reached our goal of $1200 today! We made $1000 at the benefit and the remaining $200 was donated this evening! GOD IS GREAT & FULL OF SURPRISES…. AMEN. Thank you to ALL that cam out and volunteered their time, energy and patients today. What a true blessing you were! A SPECIAL THANK YOU GOES OUT TO JOSEPH POPE, TONY FROST & BRENDA LYNN ALLEN FOR THE AMAZING MUSIC…WOW! It was all wonderful!!!!

Not only did God provide me with serious encouragement, but he provided in a big way for KIMBO’SWISH! That is just awesome, isn’t it! Monday she was able to meet with her attorney to get the ball rolling for her official non-profit status! Go God! At one point, Christen brought attention to a table with a tree in the middle of it. Around the tree, there were framed pictures and stories of the kids KIMBO’SWISH has help in the last nine months. She highlighted each child and encouraged people to read each one at their leisure. How exciting! One of the boys represented on the table was at the event and was said to be in TOTAL REMISSION! Go GOD!  His name is Hunter.  I actually just talked to his mom on facebook and she said that he is almost ready to hit the TWO YEAR MARK!!  You can follow his progress here!

Here Hunter is with Elmo!  November 7th will be his remission anniversary!

Here Hunter is with Elmo! November 7th will be his remission anniversary!

Before I go, I want to draw your attention to one of the little girls who will be getting help from this awesome organization. Her name is Zoey and the boys and I have been praying for her for a couple weeks now. She was born with several birth defects, one which affects her little sweet heart. She has already had three surgeries on it and is in need of a fourth one. This surgery needs to be done in Boston. The cost associated with this surgery and the travel expenses thereof are pretty hefty. If you feel lead to donate any amount to her medical expenses, her family has set up a GoFundMe account for this purpose. On that page, you can also read more about her there. Stay tuned for my blog about my time at the 50 Cent Auction.  Even more God appointed moments!

Cheers,
Andrea

On a Mission: Wind, Cold and Petticoat Junction

How to does one put into words what only the soul can understand?  That is the struggle I face as I attempt to put this past weekend into words.  There were things that happened that were the exact opposite of what I had thought would happen and there were other things that blew my expectations out of the water.  I was introduced to people who, if not for the mission God has put me on, our paths may never have crossed.  To say I was blessed this weekend is such a gross understatement.  There aren’t words in the English language to adequately describe my feelings and emotions right now.

You may have read my blog post last week about the amazing ways that God moved to pay off our entire mission team’s mission fees.  He provided, for my family, about $1,300 from Monday to Thursday of last week which blew us away.  Grab a cup of coffee and a blanket (because if it is like it is here – COLD – where you are, you’ll need it) and listen to my testimony about how God cares so deeply about the little things and the big things alike for those who make the decision to follow him.

Friday evening, Mrs. Barbara came over to help me get things wrapped up and packed up for the weekend’s events.  Saturday we were scheduled to set up a booth at Old Timer’s Day and Saturday we were to be at Petticoat Junction (by the way, the location is for sale if interested) to speak to a group of 10 ladies and to share my jewelry with them.  Both of these events had originally been planned to help pay off our travel expenses (God took care of that earlier in the week) and expenses we would have as a result of the trip such as childcare, clothing and other expenses related to the trip.  Anyway, she came over and we had planned to work until 9:00pm or so and then get a good nights rest so we would be ready for the early morning ahead.  Unfortunately, things didn’t work out like that.  We didn’t finish all of the preparations until nearly 2:00am and only got a few hours of sleep before meeting in my driveway at 7am.  We did have great conversations, jokes provided by my husband Josh, and I think even a few tears were shed.

Another thing we talked about was how we had no idea what God had in store for the weekend, but that we intended to glorify God with our action and that whatever happened we were going to accept as his provision.  See when I paid for my booth at Old Timer’s Day, the person in charge of everything told me he was going to try to get a booth next to or in close rage of the Grand Stand for me.  He wanted to try to get the most exposure and traffic since I was raising money to help with expenses associated with a mission trip.  The whole time I was planning my booth, that’s what I had in mind: that we would be front and center, on a certain street, in a certain location.  When I got my booth assignment just two days before, my booth assignment couldn’t have been any different than what I thought I would get.  To be honest I frustrated and even a little irritated at the fact that I had planned one way only to find out those plans may or may not work.  I wouldn’t know until I got there.  I made the decision to thank God for the placement he had given to us and told him He would be the one to get all of the glory from the event because there was no way I could play or do to make anything happen since everything I had planned was based on other details.

Fast forward to Saturday morning, October 4th.  Oh my goodness, it was COLD!  Why is it that the first day of the season that temperatures dipped to the 30’s we had to set up a booth outside and stay there for hours?  Brrrr!  We could see our breath! The temperatures warmed up slightly but then the wind picked up.  We stopped by Burger King and got breakfast on the way to the square.  As we pulled up, there was only other woman setting up her Scentsy booth.  We got out and introduced ourselves and assisted her with putting her tent up and she returned the favor when we got to that point.  All in all she and her sister were very friendly.  She even offered me gloves when my fingers failed to cooperate due to the cold.  A little while later a man with a truck and trailer pulled up to set his booth up on the other side of us.  As he did so, I asked what he was there to sell.  He hung his head and said, “I am embarrassed to say: Italian Ice!”  We chuckled and then he told us he planned to sell coffee and hot chocolate too, of which I preordered so we could have some sort of warmth!  We ended up getting a cup each on him.  Then up pulls a man in a truck on the other side of them.  They began to talk and phrases like, “Praise God!” “He is so good,” and such started to fly around the air.  Apparently they had been placed next to each other at other events and they got to know each other a little bit.  Not only that, they were both Christians!  How cool.

We finished setting up our booth sometime between 9:30 and 10 that morning.

IMG_20141004_091608_171[1]IMG_20141004_091618_755[1]We had decided once we had gotten everything set out and situated, we would pray together and commit the day to God and ask His will to be done.  However, once we finished up, we walked over to see what the people on the other side of the Italian Ice booth brought to sell.  Turns out they are actually a mortar and brick business who sets up at craft fairs, too.  They were called, “Sanctified” and they offered various Christian themed items.  Almost right away, I spotted this sign:

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He explained to me that his brother makes them out of old barn wood.  They are sanded smooth, then screen printed with bible verses.  I was gifted this by a friend and it now rests on my mantel at home.  I absolutely love it.  I was able to share with him why this was so special to me which lead to more conversation.  About that time, the Star Spangled Banner was being sung at the grand stand to signify the start of the parade. Because of the conversation we had, I asked him if he’d like to join us in praying over the event and our day and he agreed.  Not only did he agree, the Italian Ice people joined, as well as the Scentsy rep three booths up!  So here we are, all six of us, standing there with hands joined, voices raised, asking God to bless the day and for us to have eyes more on people who walk in our tent and their needs, more than the dollars that they’d bring in.  We asked for relationships to be strengthened and new ones to be built.  It was just a beautiful time of prayer and praise with our brothers and sisters in Christ whom we hadn’t even known just two hours before hand.  Isn’t the spirit of God amazing?  It joins us and binds us to those who call on His name!  It was like we had known these people forever.

I mentioned that it was cold, right?  Most of the morning was spent catching our and our neighbor’s tents as they were being hoisted into the air by wind.  The term, “holding down the fort,” had a whole new meaning to me after Saturday.  At one time, we had 4 people holding our tent down and that’s in addition to the 4 large cinder blocks that were tied to our tent.  Miserable doesn’t describe how we felt by the time noon arrived.  Thankfully though, there were moments when the sun came out and the wind died down to warm us a little bit.  Thankfully, unlike other booths, none of our product blew away.  As a matter of fact, a friend of mine named Melissa even comment about how it seemed less windy in our tent than the others.  The presence of God?? I will take it!

I had two goals for this day, but one goal for the weekend.  I wanted to raise $250 to finish up paying for part of our travel expenses.  My first goal for Saturday was to earn $125, or half of my weekend goal.  My second goal was to raise the whole $250 which I wasn’t sure was possible since I had never been to this event, not even as a patron.  All I knew was that God was in control.  Part of the way through I counted what I had to that point and I think the total was $175, give or take.  Soon after that the crowed died WAY down and I’m not sure we made much after that point.  Once everything was packed up at the end of the day, I recounted and to my surprise, I surpassed my first goal, AND MY SECOND GOAL! I even made $17 OVER my second goal!  I couldn’t believe it!  That meant that our event the next day would be going 100% toward our extra expenses.  Since I had met my big goal for the weekend, I really didn’t have a goal for that event.  I just prayed that God would provide what he saw fit.

Sunday morning we woke up and Mrs. Barbara was to stay at my house with the boys since my husband would be at work (fireman) and I didn’t have another option other than taking them all with us.  Like I said, I didn’t have another option.  Petticoat Junction is approximately 30 minutes from my house so I needed to plan enough time for travel as well as set up.  At the very last minute, I called a team member and asked her if it would be possible if I had her daughter come over to sit with my two youngest boys if I took the older one with me.  I knew it was a long shot, but thought I’d try anyway.  Guess what she said?  YES!  That freed Mrs.  Barbara up to come with me!  What a blessing because I wasn’t sure how I was going to get it all set up in time and speak and take payments for items.  She is my right hand girl, for sure!  Seriously her coming with me took away layers of stress for me.  Jackson was a help too.

The women were spending the weekend at this cute place because it’s set up to be a scrapbooking retreat location.  My friend Michelle, who hosted the trunk show just a week before, invited me to come share my testimony there because there would be women from other towns there.  That was SO important because when you live in a little town, it’s easy to exhaust everyone you know where fundraising is concerned.  I am normally a nervous wreck when I speak.  I just don’t think speaking is my strongest ability.  These 10 women listened, asked questions and made me feel so comfortable.  As soon as I finished one woman, sitting up front asked if I would consider speaking at a women’s event at her church.  EErrrrch!  Put on the breaks!  I need to explain something really quickly

Just two weeks ago, I asked God how he was planning on getting the word out about LofT218 and the work we plan to do through that non-profit (when they get their certification).  Loft218 will be who we set up the children’s home and life skills training center through.  They will be our umbrella.  Well, in my conversation with God, I told him if he wanted someone to speak to women’s ministry groups or other public speaking type engagements, I’d do it if he went along beside me to do so.  I really figured he’d say, “No that’s ok, you aren’t a very eloquent speaker.  That’s a good idea though!  I will have someone else do that!”  Hhahahaha, nope!

When she asked me, the words literally just couldn’t be found.  I had just asked God, verbatim, if he wanted me to speak to a women’s group and those were nearly the same words that came out of her mouth when she asked.  I was FLOORED!  She doesn’t even realize that God used her in that moment (well I guess she does now if she’s reading this!).  Tuesday (today) is the day she was supposed to be speaking with the women’s ministry board and telling them about the calling God has given me sooo…. we’ll see!  I told her October is booked but that I could do something in November or possibly the first week of December.  Outside of that I would need to wait until January or the spring.  Please be in prayer for God to make it clear to that board if I am supposed to share with them.

After I answered a few questions, I invited the women to browse the jewelry and shop for Christmas.  Things moved so quickly.  Several women asked for items to be shortened or changed in some way.  Thankfully, since we had spent extra time preparing Friday night, I was able to accommodate their requests.  I met one woman by the name of Brenda who has adopted two special needs children, one from China, one from the Ukraine.  We had some amazing conversations about orphans and orphanage life.  We compared our “God moments” regarding our callings to adopt/missions.  Other women had encouraging remarks and warm hugs to give.  What God did through each of these women, financially, absolutely astounds me.

I shared with them during my speech that I had approximately $4-500 left to raise for my extra expenses.  I also told them that I had that event and three others left this month to pay for that need.  I was much to busy to count things up there but once I got home, I pulled out the financial support and couldn’t even cry I was so overwhelmed.  Two women gave cash donations, the rest purchased jewelry.  That’s 10 women shopping/giving financial contributions.  Between those 10 women God provided $720! I am not sure it has sunk in even now, two days later.

Let me be perfectly clear here:  in six months I tried my best to raise the whole amount needed for the trip.  We have worked our BUTTS off to raise that money.  Day in, day out.  Fundraise, fundraise, fundraise.  And you know what, in all of our efforts, we only accomplished a small sliver of that total.  God provided $720 for our initial deposit while we were out of the country on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic, $500 from a complete stranger at a tire/lube business and $1,400 through a captain’s dinner and fishing tournament. Yes we did work for the fishing tournament, but I am not sure any believed we would raise THAT much for each of our 8 families.  Two weeks ago, he provided $1,300 through others and a trunk show ($395).  Then this week, he provided $980 in two days. The way I see it, God provided $3,810 strictly from his hand without effort from me or my husband at all.  The remaining amount was his blessing on our exhausting efforts which totaled $1,490.  That little amount took us 6 MONTHS to raise.  God provided the other portion to us in a total of 8 days if you add them all together.  We actually have money in the account good toward our next trip!  And three months before we even leave for our first trip!

If I may, let me challenge you.  If God is leading you to do something for him and his kingdom, listen and obey.  There is NOTHING impossible for God to handle.  Don’t let financial issues keep you from doing the Will of God.  Rest assured, He won’t let his reputation be tarnished.  He will see you through.  He will provide.  It’s his name on the line, not yours.  Step out of your comfort zone.  Say, “Yes, Lord.  I will follow you where ever you want me to go.  I will allow you to take me to where my faith has no borders.  I believe you will see me through and take care of all of my needs.”  I promise you, it is impossible to come out on the other side of a God encounter like this the same.  My family’s faith has grown exponentially.  We have seen the hand of God more times in the last year than I ever have in my entire life.

Thank you to all who have prayed for us, supported us emotionally, financially and morally.  Every single bit helped more than I can express to you.  Thanks for walking this journey with us.  Thank you for being confident in us.

Cheers,
Andrea

On a Mission: Answered Prayers

Today was the day I wondered if it would ever come.  Today I got some amazing news that, no doubt, will change my life for ever.

I told you all about the Captain’s Dinner & Fishing Tournament just a few days ago.  After all of those funds and the funds from the trunk show I did last Thursday, my husband and I still had somewhere around $900 to raise to make our balance zero with the mission trip planners.  When you start with $5-6,000, that is a sweet day to say you’re down in the 3 digits!  We were stoked!  That is still a bunch of money though, my word!  However our October fundraising schedule looked pretty good so we were confident that we would probably be done by November.  Then we could start fundraising for expenses that are outside of our official trip fees (plane ticket, lodging, etc) such as childcare expenses, clothing for while I am there, etc etc.

I woke up this morning on a mission to figure out how I was going to set up my booth at Old Timer’s Day since it would be different than my trunk show set up.  It’s an outside venue which means there aren’t walls to lean my mirrors and such against.  Around 11:30 we got a text from our pastor who had great news to share.  He said that someone donated $375 toward our total needed!!  That took us down to $864 according to his records.  That’s awesome!  Josh and I texted back and forth a bit about it and were super excited.

At 1:11, I get ANOTHER text from our pastor saying that we were just gifted ANOTHER $243!  That took our total down to $621 left according to the official record.  I reminded him that I had $360 to turn in from the trunk show and other jewelry sales so that would take us down to $200-some-odd left.  All three of us were super excited (Josh, Pastor Scott and I).

Fast forward another couple of hours to abut 3:15.  My phone rings and it’s the pastor again.  He asked me to give him an exact amount that I would be turning in to him.  I went to my jar in the kitchen where I keep my funds waiting to be turned in and pulled all checks out to recount.  (Sorry to those of you who gave checks last week at the trunk show, I forgot to take them to church Sunday so they will deposit NEXT Monday)  I started adding it up and had to recount twice.  Somehow my total wasn’t $360, it was $395 PLUS cash (I believe…I might be wrong)!  He was tickled because with that amount and the person who came into his office since the last time we texted back and forth who gave more to our mission fund, we were FULLY FUNDED!  Aaaaahhahahahahahahhaaaa!  I cannot tell you the feeling I have today to know that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, Josh and I will be on the plane on December 26th!  I am beside myself.    Not only are WE fully funded, our entire team is fully funded as of today!

I wish I could express to you how big of a deal this is.  16 people are fully funded, two and a half months before departure.  Each person owed $2,400.  That means God provided $38,400 in five months.  That is so overwhelming to me.  And then to take that a step further, to think that in ten months, God has provided $7,200 for my husband and I to participate in His work.  I cannot fathom why he would pick two incredibly imperfect people to do His work.  Oh my goodness, I pray I can represent him well.  In His strength and guidance only…  I am so humbled by how he has moved.

Friday-Sunday of this week I have two vendor/speaking events which will go toward those “other” expenses that I mentioned earlier.  They will also be used to help other team members with their needs should the need be there.

THANK YOU ALL who are on my contributor’s page.  You all are part of my praises tonight.  I am so thankful that God worked through you in such an amazing way.

Cheers,
Andrea

On a Mission: Rajasthan, India Fundraiser Update August Through October

Liz caught me hanging up a wreath to be silent auctioned at the Captain's Dinner on Sept 19.

Liz caught me hanging up a wreath to be silent auctioned at the Captain’s Dinner on Sept 19.

 

This month has been a BUSY month for fundraising.  As a team we all pitched in and organized a captain’s dinner and fishing tournament.  When all was said and done, we have around 200 items donated from area businesses, more than 20 sponsors and 17 boats registered for the tournament!  One of the winners at the fishing tournament returned his portion of the prize money back to LofT218 which is the umbrella which our children’s home will fall under once non-profit status is obtained!  Go God!  All proceeds were split over the families going on the trip to India and we still each earned around $1,400!  Isn’t that amazing!  Unfortunately I really don’t have any pictures of the event except for this one that my friend took while we were setting up at the captain’s dinner last Friday night.

Let me back up to August.  I was busy that month too, I guess!

It started with a Bunco! party on the 15th.  I had a total of 4 tables of people who played that night and we had a blast!  I even had a player who was almost a total loser (meaning she almost lost ALL rounds of ALL games!). She finished the night out with one single win which absolutely meant she got the boobie prize.  As far as pictures go, Jackson took most of the pictures on his camera and then lost his cord so I don’t have pictures of the winners with their goodies but everyone made out like bandits at this get together too!

Donated prizes for my August Bunco! Fundraiser.

Donated prizes for my August Bunco! Fundraiser.

Jewelry set up at my Bunco which was held August 15th.

Jewelry set up at my Bunco which was held August 15th.

We were approached by a man in our church early in August about smoking pork shoulders/Boston Butts as a fundraiser.  He has a very large smoker and said he would do the work of smoking the meat if we would buy it, bring it to his house and prepare it (season and wrap it) and then come back in the morning after it smoked for 12 hours and take it off of the smoker to deliver it all.  We priced the meant and decided that was a really good idea because we could have them delivered for the Labor Day weekend.  We ended up doing well on it considering the local football teams were also selling Boston Butts at the same time!

Pulling Boston Butts off of the smoker on August 29th.

Pulling Boston Butts off of the smoker on August 29th.  Josh is up top pulling off meat and Mr. Long is observing to make sure things were going the right way!

Pouring the excess grease off of the smoked pork meat.  Oh my goodness if you could just smell that meat...

Pouring the excess grease off of the smoked pork meat. Oh my goodness if you could just smell that meat…

Our next fundraiser was the next day and it was my cloth diapering seminar.  On my facebook event and by word of mouth confirmations, I was expecting between 10 and 15 women of all ages.  When it came down to it, four women showed up.  A month earlier I had one a private seminar for a couple who just had their baby a week ago yesterday (on the 18th!  Congrats Walkers!)  I had gotten so many corporate donations that each of the women went away with a load of gifts!  Two of the women there are pregnant and have never cloth diapered before, one woman had her baby there who hadn’t cloth diapered before and the fourth woman had just started cloth diapering about a month earlier but heard about all of the amazing prizes I had to give away so she came and helped give the other girls another perspective of cloth diapering.

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Fruit tray set up at my Cloth Diapering Seminar which was held on August 30.

Fruit tray set up at my Cloth Diapering Seminar which was held on August 30.

Cotton Babies, Snapies, Charlie's Soap and other diapering companies totally came through with donated items for my seminar.

Cotton Babies, Snapies, Charlie’s Soap and other diapering companies totally came through with donated items for my seminar.

My attendees.  I had 10 people who said they would be there but 4 showed up.  Each woman went home with so many gifts it looked like Christmas!

My attendees. I had 10 people who said they would be there but 4 showed up. Each woman went home with so many gifts it looked like Christmas!

 

That got us through August.  Then came September.  I mentioned above about the fishing tournament and the only other fundraiser we had for September was last night (the 24th).  My friend invited me into her home to share my testimony and showcase my paper bead jewelry and it went really really well.  There were five women there and the hostess.  Between all of those ladies purchasing Christmas gifts and gifts for themselves, I raised $310!  I came home and cried to myself after being so showered with support both financially and morally.  My goodness, they really warmed my heart.  Michelle took pictures of last night but I don’t have them yet.  I will update this entry when I get them.

This necklace sold last night to my friend, Lisa!  She also wants a bracelet made to match as she picked up the earrings but the matching bracelet walked out in someone else's hand!

This necklace sold last night to my friend, Lisa! She also wants a bracelet made to match as she picked up the earrings but the matching bracelet walked out in someone else’s hand!

Coil bracelet which was on sale last night at the Trunk Show.

Coil bracelet which was on sale last night at the Trunk Show.

I need to pause a minute to make a HUGE shout out though.  When I first posted this blog post about my projected fundraising events, several people spoke up and asked how they could help.  Three women in particular haven’t stopped since the day the offered.  Mrs. Barbara began helping me with cakes several months ago and then helped me finish 42 cloth diapers.  In the  middle of all of that she took the time to learn how to make paper beads and has been on it nonstop since.

Then there’s Granny (Josh’s grandmother) and Aunt Kate (I think she’s actually Josh’s grandfather’s cousin?).  I am pretty sure there are wires under their skin..those women are machines.  I have yet to take them too many paper strips.  I honestly am not sure how to pump out as many paper beads as they do.  Barbara and I have decided they have an underground women’s club who come over at night and helps.  It seems impossible the work they do, just the two of them.  They have said they aren’t young enough to “go” anymore, but this is something they can do and feel like they are contributing.  My word, they are contributing in HUGE ways.  Look at this picture:

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They have done this quantity for me twice!  One time they did it over the weekend.  If you have never made paper beads you don’t know that they work up really quick but take forever to do. It’s a oxymoron I realize but it’s absolutely the truth.  In the hours Mrs. Barbara and I have spent working on beads, together we have never been able to turn out a whole ziplock bag before.  God is working through those hands of theirs.  It’s truly God’s economy of time and favor for sure.  Their help has allowed me to focus on creating pieces of jewelry instead of making beads AND making jewelry.  I can work much fasting knowing I have a workforce behind me.  I wish there was some way to replay all three of these women.  I mean I have so much gratitude for them…they are just priceless.  There’s nothing I can do to repay their kindness and support. It’s like God’s grace.  I don’t deserve their help or God’s grace.  But there they both are.  I am blessed far more than I deserve.

This next weekend, I am setting up at Old Timer’s Day on the town’s square.  It’s basically a community festival which celebrates the heritage of the community.  There’s a parade, food, vendors, church groups who do face paintings, games for the kids and so on.   I will be there with my paper bead jewelry and cannot wait!  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about it though.  It is just uncharted territory for me.  That will be October 3rd and 4th though the booth will only be open on the 4th.

Saturday, October 4th, on the square in Manchester!

Saturday, October 4th, on the square in Manchester!

Looking forward past that, Michelle has asked me to speak at her scrapbooking retreat on October 5th at a bed and breakfast called Petticoat Junction about 30 minutes from here.  There will be 10 women there whom I have never gotten to speak with before so I am very excited about that opportunity.

I get to rest until the 18th which is when I will set up at Kimbos Wish fall festival.  Kimbos Wish is a group who helps make dreams and wishes come true for local kids with severe illnesses.  They are having a fall festival at Grace Baptist Church in Tullahoma complete with music entertainment, food, games, vendors, you name it.  They are having door prizes and all kinds of cool things to check out.  It’s a family friendly environment that you should consider attending for sure!  My paper bead jewelry will be there and I’m also donating a few items for a door prize.

kimboswish

On the 24th of October, I will be traveling to Murfreesboro to work a Bunco! night for my friend Tina who has offered to invite her friends on my behalf!  Do you see the types of friends I have?  Generous, loving…  My goodness God blesses me more than I deserve more times than not.  We are accepting vendors there.  Cover to play is $20.  If you would like to set up, it’s $20 and I will waive the cover for all vendors and you still get to play Bunco!  All I ask is that you donate an item to be used as a prize at the end of the night.  No percentage of sales is being requested.  If you are interested in either option, contact me via my facebook page, or if you know Tina, get with her.  Vendors are on a first come first serve basis, no double businesses allowed and we are reserving the right to limit product time (IE: jewelry, crocheted goods, etc).   Space is limited so please RSVP, ASAP!

October 24th, Murfreesboro!

October 24th, Murfreesboro!

The very next day, I will be the vendor at a team member’s Bunco which will be held here in our town.  I will be playing and selling that night.  She is having BBQ catered in and lots and lots of door prizes, just like I will have!  Nobody leaves empty handed.  Liz and her family are going to India but they are paying for THREE people to go.  Just when I thought we had a big bill to pay, shew!

I believe that’s it for October as of now.  If you need a speaker at a women’s event in the month of November or December, let me know now before those months fill up.  I’d be happy to give my testimony about how I experienced God back in March regarding India and bring my paper bead jewelry along as well.  If you would like for me to share with your friends in your home like Michelle did, I would be absolutely happy to do that as well.

I appreciate all supporters so much.  Each word of encouragement and each financial support just fills my cup more than you know.  It’s not easy following God’s calling some days.  Some days it’s downright hard and discouraging if you want me to be completely honest.  Some days I don’t think I can do it for another day.  And then I get a phone call, Facebook message or text from someone which spurs me on.  God tells us in the word that we are to build each other up with encouragement.  I believe it’s in Matthew but don’t quote me on that.  All I know is that each of you are so special to me.  Thank you for everything.

Cheers,
Andrea

 

Couldn’t be On a Mission without God

Today is Tuesday, August 5th.  I am sitting in my living room thinking over the last few days as my head feels like a balloon stretched to it’s limits, eyes tight and tired from crying for the last few hours.  I cannot believe all that has transpired.  You all might remember the post I put up about how God provided for our first deadline payment for our India trip back in June.  That situation was such a testimony for me and so many others around me and my family.  If I’m completely honest, this situation is engrained in my brain and soul, but it’s crazy how quickly my emotions can come in and cloud how amazing God provides.

Let’s start with Sunday morning.  I get up and go to church a little behind schedule and without my full attention on where and what I was about to go and do.  The kids were going in ever direction but out the door, one of them didn’t have clean clothes to wear.  I was flustered at best. We finally arrive late and settle into our Sunday school classes where I was preoccupied but the fact that we had exactly one week left to pay our next payment for our India mission trip.  OH I guess I forgot to say we were $600 short. We owe $1,000 a week from that point and we were $600 short.  I didn’t speak much during class because of my preoccupied state until I walked out of our classroom and paused a second when a fellow India mission team member walked up.  She could tell something was wrong and I started to well up with tears.  As we met eye contact, I said, “I don’t think we are going to make our next deposit.”  With that the tears began to fall.  It was made clear that we were only allowed to be slightly off at each payment point or we would have to reassess if we thought we would be able to go on the trip or not.  Us not having the whole amount meant we would potentially not be able to go on the trip at all in December.

Before service started I prayed and asked God to help me refocus so I could hear Him through the sermon.  I am not sure what the sermon was supposed to be about but this is what I got out of it.  Moses was born in less than favorable circumstances, could have lost his life, but God knew, and probably planned the whole terrible situation of the Hebrew babies being thrown into the river so that one day a little Hebrew boy would be “rescued” from the river by a princess.  He would then be taken back to his birth mother to be raised for the first 3 years of his life and then be raised by the princess as royalty.  His birth mom didn’t understand why, possibly, Moses didn’t know why.  The princess didn’t even know the real reason she was raising him.  God fostered a love and a pulling for the “underdog” in Moses the whole time he was growing up.  That lead him to defend a fellow Hebrew against an Egyptian.  That also lead to him being out in the wilderness and eventually being in a position to defend another underdog…his soon-to-be wife.  Then God calls him by a burning bush to once again, go defend the Hebrews…this time from a much more powerful Egyptian, the Pharaoh.  If he hadn’t had the life experiences and processes that he did, being found and raised by a princess and living in the royal courts, could he have just walked into Pharaoh and had a captive audience?  Yeah, no I don’t think so.  All of his life experiences were for a reason.

That got met thinking about my own life.  I was molested as a little girl (11ish).  As a woman God broke my heart for the women in the adult industry.  One of the reasons he was able to do that was because I could relate with the abuse they went through at one time.  It is said that 98% of adult industry workers were at very least molested if not sexually assaulted at sometime during their lives, usually by a close friend of the family or family member.  Ba-da-bing!  Guess what I can relate!  I felt an overwhelming compassion for the women and forgave them for the hurt that “they” had caused me in my life.  Had my parents never divorced, had a new person not come into the family dynamics, had I not been abused, had that person not gotten chosen over me by my own birthmother… I may not have been able to fully relate.  Then as an adult I became friends with a woman for “unexplained reasons” couldn’t have her own children.  As a result she adopted two beautiful children internationally.  For the first time, I got to see first hand the heartache and devastation of having to wait for a referral, the process of getting an NOC and travel approval.  My heart hurt with joy when I got to experience all of those things being completed.  The overwhelming elation as the family left to go bring home their child from a foreign country, one of which she and her husband had never been before.  And the peace once their feet were on USA soil.    I felt like I had just birthed that child through my heart and she wasn’t even mine.  The prayers and heartache I felt for her before she was home…my goodness.  My perspective of adoption and orphans was never the same after that.  Was it any wonder I had gone through all of that?  God has shown me time and again it’s because he was preparing me, just like he had Moses, for our calling in life.  I am go to serve these very people.  The abused and orphaned.

Fast-forward to Monday.  I woke up feeling still a bit heavy.  The sermon was good.  I did feel like God communicated with me, but not the way I felt I needed to be communicated with (after all I know best, right?).  I decided to fast and pray and ask God how in the world I was going to be able to pay for our next payment for our trip.  One thing was made clear, I was being called to India and that’s all good and fine.  But without the money to pay for the next payment, my toes and rear were not going to be on the plane to India, they were going to be on my couch and in the carpet of my living room.  I wasn’t going anywhere.  See these are my thoughts most of the day.  So I put on a sermon from the pastor at World Outreach Church and guess what that sermon was on.  Not Moses, but Noah.  About his life….leading up to his calling.  How God prepared him for a purpose.  That his life was such that he was prepared for the “job” he was meant to do.  *sigh*  I’m thinking, “God, I got that from Pastor Scott yesterday!  I already know I’m called. T hat’s NOT what I’m asking! I need to know how I’m going to pay for this upcoming payment….like 6 days from now.  Could you answer that one please?”   Dinnertime came and I retreated to my bedroom for what I thought was going to be quiet time, but my phone rang instead.  I almost didn’t answer it but I decided to because it was my friend, Kelly.  She asked if I was going to be starting back up with 50 Cent Auctions on Facebook again.  I told her that I had, in fact, started listing that morning.  There were items donated to she and her husband to sell on there but they had made the decision that they weren’t going to continue selling items for fundraising purposes.  Folks it is a LOT of work…I don’t even remotely blame her.  I took two weeks off for the same reason.  I was overwhelmed with everything too!  Apparently, it’s a whole garage floor worth of things to sell.  I accepted the gift of things to sell and hung up the phone.  As I sat there praying over the day and thinking about the conversation I had just had with Kelly, it  hit me.

God had been telling me while I was worrying about the payment that He had called me to this mission trip and beyond this mission trip where India was concerned.  Never in the bible had he called someone to a great work and left them to figure it out on their own.  He gave them step by step instructions about how to carry it out.  Afterall, his reputation is on the line.  The bible says that he will see his word to fruition, because he never lies.  It is impossible for him to go against who he is.  If he had called me to this, he is going to see to it that I have what I need to see his calling through.  Yes…that includes providing financially.  He isn’t stupid.  He didn’t miss something.  He was telling me, “Chill out woman!  I’ve got this!  Just give me a second, sheesh!”

I could end this blog post right here and it would be pretty amazing.  I pray for financial provisions, he gives me things to sell.  End of story.  WRONG.

Later that evening, Josh called a man in our church who agreed to smoke Boston butts for us for a fundraiser.  We had spent part of the day calling around getting prices and making arrangements for it, we just had to finalize details.  Once that was done, we drafted a flyer and put it on the beloved communication highway…facebook.  Within an hour we had 4 orders.  I was feeling pretty good and was reminded once again…”I will give you what you need to see my calling through!”  Then I click off of facebook to do something else and when I got back, the administrator for the 50 cent auction group had posted my upcoming Bunco event on our main communications message board inviting people to join us.  See I was 7 people short of being able to play.  I was totally shocked.  Then I get a text from a friend asking for 5 (FIVE) headbands that I’ve been making to sell for trip funds.  She ended up going with two and will be looking at other jewelry later, but there’s another bit of money that will be coming in.  She also agreed to find a date to have a trunk show at her house with all of my handmade paper bead jewelry!  I went to bed feeling much better.  Within a few hours, God had given us $160 through all of those fundraisers.

That brings us to today.  August 5th, 2014.  I woke up feeling energized and relaxed for the most part.  I knew I needed to finish up getting some donations in for Bunco prizes, a flyer needed hung and Starbucks for my cloth diapering seminar and a CD of piano music needed delivered to a friend.  Can I just say God gave us MAJOR favor today.  Listen to this:

  • A local nail salon donated a $25 gift certificate to be used on the spot, no questions asked.  I have it in hand.
  • We were able to pick up a certificate for a 30 minute massage which had been promised a couple of weeks ago.  I have it in hand.
  • Josh talked to several other business who are meeting with the powers that be on donations.  I will follow up with them soon.
  • He also went by a local drive-in called Jiffy Burger.  Apparently India is a soft spot in their hearts so they said they’d talk about how to support us and allowed Josh to put up two flyers about my Bunco night on their business doors!!  Sweet!

At this point he had to come home to get more flyers.  It was so exciting to me, to see him excited about handing out flyers.  It was such a big help to me because I had to be at home with the boys doing school.  He was amazing today.  God blessed me so much just by allowing me watch my husband serve today.  It really blew me away.  Then he went back out to hand out the newly printed flyers.

His last stop was at a friend of the family’s place of business.  He was sharing with John about our trip and the calling God has placed on our lives.  He was requesting an oil change certificate or something of the such.  There was a woman standing in the lobby during this time but left at some point during the conversation.  Josh finished up with John and then went to go get in his truck and as he did the woman from the lobby approached him.  She asked him to repeat the story he had just told John and he did.  She explained that she was new to town and had been looking for a church home.  She tried one church in town but didn’t feel comfortable there so she tried on in a town about a half an hour away.  She liked it ok but people at that church, whom were involved with a Christian biking association suggested that she try Trinity here in town.  They told her there were people at that church who also belonged to the biking group and they though she might enjoy that church.  When she heard my husband say he was from Trinity, she was intrigued and wanted to know more about this trip he was going on.  She asked if she could help him with funds by writing a check.  She asked who to make it out to, Josh said Trinity.  As she handed the check over to him he could hardly believe it.  He said all he could say was thank you.  The check, folks, was for $500!  

As he got into the car and started to drive away, he called me and said, “You are NOT going to believe what just happened.  A stranger just handed me a check for $500…”  I was so confused.  I questioned what he said and he repeated it but said he couldn’t talk.  He was taking it right to church to turn in and that he would call me back with the details later.  I hung up the phone and for three hours I felt like a weeping willow tree.  I just could hardly stand on my own two feet.  I could barely talk.  I was so overwhelmed by God’s abundant provisions.  We needed $600 yesterday morning.  By the end of today (I haven’t closed out auctions for today or checked to see if anymore BBQ has sold) he has provided $660….  I don’t know about you, but I have tears just welling up in my eyes.

I went on facebook after Josh called me and posted this:

“Not for a scond…not even for a millisecond should you doubt that God hears your prayers.  He cares so much about you.  He knows where you are, he’s just waiting for you o ask for help.  Just humble yourself, stop trying to make things work for yourself and just ask HIM or help.  Is he a “short order chef”  to give you whatever you ask for? NO, but when you pray according to HIS will, he will show up in a HUGE way.  What are you waiting for?  PRAY!”

With that I will leave you for the evening.  Thanks for sharing in this journey with us.  Please be praying for Josh’s time off and our childcare during our trip.  That’s another thing that only God will be able to provide for.

Cheers,
Andrea