I don’t even know where to begin with this post. This past week has been a chaotic, stressful, exhausting, and challenging time for us. We worked for three months sorting, pricing, packaging, planning for our fundraiser event. We had no guidelines to work with. We started with a simple rummage sale in our driveway to a bigger rummage sale at our church. Then it expanded to serving foods/drinks, and then expanded again to having vendors sell at our event. Which then expanded to a silent auction. One simple idea kept getting bigger and bigger. This whole journey has been incredible. We have met some of the most gracious and amazing people. When we asked for donations, we were provided with well over 100 families that had donated to us. We asked for baked goods for our bake sale and received well over our needs. When I reached out to vendors, so many perfect strangers were excited and willing to attend our event, donate silent auction baskets, donate their commission (or a portion of it), donate their time, share their excitement for us and the journey we are on. Also, we received such amazing support from our church. Everything we needed, they were there to help. We give our many thanks to our pastor, to the church secretary, and anyone else who made our process successful, and for all the help they provided to us. We made plenty of new friends throughout the past few months.
Now, don’t think this past few months has been sunshine and rainbows. Haha. We have been beyond busy. This past week was a challenge, to say the least. We had eight days to pick up over 50 tables to set up, so many boxes and items to transport (lots of larger pieces of furniture, too), sorting, pricing, planning where to set up the tables, what categories to have, etc. We were blessed to receive help from our parents, some close friends, Christi’s boss and coworker, etc. There were plenty of arguments due to lack of sleep and frustrations. We started early and didn’t usually get home until close to 10pm most nights. We functioned on eating one meal a day because we forgot to eat or were too busy to take a break. We did share some laughs, too. We got goofy at times, sometimes simply just from being over tired.
Then the fear kicked in. Are we going to have enough room for everything? Are we going to have enough tables? Are we going to have enough room for all the vendors? Will enough people show up? What are we going to do with everything once the event is finished? Are we going to receive enough helping hands during the event? Are we going to receive any help to clean up? Are we going to have good weather? We prayed and prayed over every one of these questions, trying to hold onto faith that God is in control. He put this desire in our hearts to adopt and have our family. He has helped us every single step of the way as we went through this planning process. Everything has worked itself out every single step we took. The night before our event, we didn’t get to bed until after midnight, just to wake up a couple short hours later. Trying to function when you are running on empty is, well, exhausting. Running through our lists of things that still needed to be finalized… visit the store for last-minute items, making sure we have enough ice, getting our cash boxes ready, prepping the foods, packaging the bake sale items that were donated, setting up the silent auction, planning the spots for the vendors, assisting the vendors in any way we can, etc. You get the idea.
Then the event had officially started. We saw so many new faces as well as familiar faces. We had folks from our childhood show up; many we hadn’t seen in years! We received so many donations for our adoption. We met people who had also adopted or had been adopted or have known someone who had been adopted. It was neat hearing the stories and about their experiences. We received so many encouraging words. It was so overwhelming, but in a beautiful way. It is incredible to know how much support is out there for us; so many that are praying for us and are excited to follow us during this journey we are on.
Remember me saying that God has been there every step of the way? He had provided for us. He answered every single prayer; every single fear we had were taken care of. We had plenty of room for everything. We had just enough tables. We had room for all the vendors. We were blessed with more customers than we could have even imagined. We had friends and relatives show up and volunteer their time. They helped guests load items to their vehicles, answer questions, assist us in ever way that we needed. We had the most amazing weather both days of our event; not too hot, sunny, light breeze, etc. Simply perfect.
During the first day of our event, we met this group of three individuals who were shopping for this incredible organization, Nation of Visions. Nation of Visions Annual Summit is aimed at providing individuals, communities and organizations with inspirations, in-depth Leadership professional development workshops, networking, and community service opportunities. They were looking for items that could be packed up and taken to Africa to help those in need there. You can find them on Facebook by simply searching for “Nations of Visions”, and you can learn more about them on there. Any who, we told them that if they were interested, they could come back at the end of our event and take whatever they needed for their mission. We were already blessed with the donations, we wanted to share our blessings with them, too.
During our last day of our event, during the last hour, we saw this elderly couple going through everything, filling boxes upon boxes of stuff. Out of curiosity, I went up to them joking around about how they “really like to shop”. They explained to me, that they like to go to rummage sales and purchase items to donate to local shelters to help the women with children and the homeless. They are such beautiful blessings from God, with hearts of gold. We couldn’t even imagine charging them, since we ourselves planned to donate to charities as well. We had them take whatever items they needed for their donation, and their faces lit up. We received so many thanks, but it was us that should thank them for being such incredible examples of how people should be.
We had this little girl show up, shopping with her mother. She found this toy carousel and was in love with it. My mom was talking to her and this girl asked, “how much is this?” My mom loves children and gave her a price. She noticed the girl was paying with her own “hard-earned money” and pulled out some coins. My mom didn’t have the heart to charge her the true value, so she said it was a quarter. The girl was happy and paid that quarter and carried her new toy around while she watched her mother shop. She came back a little later with another item and asked my mom how much this new item was. My mom told her it was a quarter. The girl was digging through her little bag and pulled out a quarter and handed it to my mom saying, “Here’s a quarter, but it’s a little dirty, hope that’s okay!” The sweet innocence of this child, melted our hearts. Jason went up to this girl with two bags and told her to put any toys she wanted in this bag, and it would all be free. She asked him if he was serious, and of course he said he was. She was thrilled! After all, we were blessed with all these donations, why not share our good fortunes with those that may be in need?
When our final day of our event was coming to an end, it was time to clean up. We looked around the room thankful that so much had sold, but there was still so much that still needed to be packed up and removed. Our good friend who had been there to help during the week and both days of the event, offered to help stay and pack things up. Then, before we could even stand up to start packing up, a friend of Jason’s, a fellow dartball player, showed up saying he was ready to help us clean up and take down tables. Moments later, the group of three we saw during the first day from Nation of Visions showed up ready to go through the items and pack things up for their mission. We shared stories about our journey through infertility and adoption. They prayed over us and shared their stories and more about their program. We had my dad’s best friend’s take all the clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. to donate to the homeless shelter they volunteer at. I guess recently they have run out of or are close to running out of the clothes they have available, and are in great need. What incredible timing, since we obviously needed to get rid of the clothes we had left over. We helped them load up so many garbage bags full of these items, and hope their needs are now met. The whole experience was amazing. With the help we received, we had most of the gym all packed up and tables put back to their rightful places before we left for the day. We ended our night with a wonderful, inspiring, amazingly powerful prayer that was prayed over us and the journey that is ahead of us, by the pastors from Nation of Visions. We exchanged our contact information, so we could keep in touch and follow each others adventures. We can continue to follow them and their program and they can follow us as we go through this adoption process. Our Lord is amazing, and has provided for us in every way we needed. Even ways we didn’t know we needed him. He brought these individuals into our lives for a reason.
So to conclude, Jason and I had a monetary goal that we hoped we’d reach at the end of this event. We are beyond thankful and happy to say that we not only reached this goal, but we went over this goal. We still have other donations that have been coming in and still need to receive money from silent auction baskets and other vendors that said they would donate some of their commission to us from their sales. We still have a ways to go to reach our ultimate goal, but we couldn’t be any more thankful for the outcome we received from this adoption fundraiser event. Thank you to everyone that has helped us. Whether you donated your items, donated baked goods, donated silent auction baskets, donated your time, donated money, prayed for us, etc. Thank you to my retired bosses church for their donation of items, to our old church for their donations of items, to our church, to friends and family, and even strangers. If we are forgetting to list anyone, we still thank you, too! We couldn’t have done all of this without you, and we could never thank you all enough!
God’s blessings to you all.
P.S. As I am typing this, it is raining outside. I even heard a couple rumbles of thunder out there. Thank you God for giving us our two beautiful days and bringing the rain AFTER our event. How amazing is that?!