The ripple effect of generosity is AMAZING! Here is a story from Mary Friesen who is the Indian Creek Gardner Journey Student Ministries leader (along with her husband Brian).
Tonight, the Gardner youth had an awesome opportunity to be generous to a member of the community! Matt issued a challenge last week to identify a person or persons to bless this week during service. We were told we would get $20 base and could add to the amount. We were also given guidelines to not just give the cash out, but to make it something meaningful and make it anonymous.
The students happened to choose the xxxxx family, as a few of the students went to school with his oldest son. I issued the challenge last Sunday for a few students to snoop and find out what the family could use. With the help of a parent, we discovered that xxxx and his wife, were having trouble paying their bills/ coming up with grocery money. When we gathered for the baptism service, Brandon handed me $65, money he had raised from people to use for the cause! We decided to get the family a gift card to Walmart so they could buy food and or personal items they may need. Brian and I chipped in the last $15 and were able to purchase a $100 for the family. Our group also purchased a card to put the money in and wrote a simple note saying that we were praying for them and wanted to bless them during this difficult holiday season. We decided that I would bring the card to the front door since I had never met the family.
We pulled up a few houses away in the white church van (de-badged of all the ICCC identifiers) and I was thinking I would just walk to the door, ring the bell and give the card. As I was walking to the house, I saw a tall, slender man with a teenager walking toward the same house. He asked me if I was looking for xxx and, shocked, I said why yes I was! He greeted me like I was a long lost friend and I had never met him before. I handed him the card and he asked me if I could come in for a minute so he could open the card with his family. Shocked, I agreed. I never expected him to invite me in!
Before we entered the house, his neighbor came out (the one he was returning from when I got there). She was sobbing and telling him how amazing he was and how blessed she was to call him friend, that she didn't deserve all his kindness and that she could never thank him enough. He vary graciously accepted her praise and took me inside, apologizing for wasting my time outside.
When we got in, he introduced me to his wife and 2 sons and opened the card and read it out loud. With tears in his eyes, and in his wife's, he graciously thanked me and said it was very difficult for him to not just run out to our white van and peek in to thank the people inside. I apologized and told him I was not allowed to say who was inside, nor where they (or myself) were from. I only told him that these were young people who knew him, his story, and his family.
He asked that I share with the group the story of why we ran into each other out front. He and his son were taking a basket of Thanksgiving dinner (full of a turkey, pumpkin pie, etc) for his neighbor because they were having hard times next door. He proceeded to tell me about this woman, and her 3 young children and about how she had lost her job and they wanted to make sure she and her family had a good meal. He told me he needed his son because the basket was too heavy for him to carry on his own. He said the timing was incredible and that they were very grateful. He then gave me a hug, as did his wife, and each of his sons and we parted ways. He only requested that he meet the people who had been so generous to him sometime, even if in passing. He said he understood their anonymity but wanted me to share that they were always welcome to stop by and say hello, even if he had never met them, and that they would not have to share that they helped in this gift card.
I shared with the students his amazing story. Incredible how a family struggling to meet their own needs would go above and beyond what they could probably afford to serve another family in need. Just the experience and the chance to meet the family was a blessing to me. They treated me like I was a long lost friend with whom they were eager to catch up with. Deep impact on our group. God does amazing work, doesn't he?
Yes He does! Thanks for sharing Gardner youth!
Posted on Tue, November 24, 2009
by Gary Kendall