We had a wonderful time at Praise in the Park (PITP), 2 weeks ago. We were overwhelmed with the kind responses we received from the people we met. Upon opening our booth, we met a young lady. She didn't tell us her name, in fact she didn't say very much at all. We began telling her the purpose for our booth at PITP and a little information about our adoption. We invited her to enter the t-shirt give-away and gave her a card with our blog information on it. She said she wanted to make a donation, handed me (what I thought was) a few dollars folded up, and walked away. As I put it in our donation box, I realized that it was more than a few dollars, it was actually $7. This was our very first donation! You may be thinking to yourself that $7 is not a lot of money, but to me it was. At most, I expected that people would give a dollar here and there. Well, little did I know of what God had in store for us. We began greeting those who walked by, inviting them to enter the t-shirt give-away (this was THE #1 THING that drew people to our booth), when a few minutes later the young lady came back. She spoke with Blaine and explained to him that she just felt like she needed to give more.... AND SHE HANDED HIM $20! I was amazed, not simply because of the amount, but because of her attitude toward giving. It spoke volumes to me that a person, a perfect stranger to us, would GIVE without intent to receive. When there were so many options for her to spend that $27 (food, jewelry, clothing, Tupperware, etc.) she chose to GIVE IT AWAY. What a blessing!
The blessings kept coming. A man and his wife stopped in and prayed with us. This is what I love about being a child of God, when you meet other children of God there is an instant bond between you. We felt that with this couple, and so many others that day. We met a man and his family who are adopting from Ukraine. He began to tell us about an organization, with which he and his family are affiliated, called Promise 139, out of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. (For all of you Louisiana readers who may not know, Hattiesburg is a city about 30 miles outside of Laurel, where I lived for 10 years and where my dad currently pastors.) Promise 139 is an orphan hosting program, comprised of individuals in the Hattiesburg area who share a burden for the orphan crisis worldwide. This year they will be hosting a Christmas camp for orphans from Eastern Europe. Blaine and I were more than excited to hear about this program. We are making plans to be involved in this organization, and encourage our readers to do the same. For more information about Promise 139, visit http://promise139.posterous.com. We met another couple and their twin toddlers that they had adopted from Russia. They shared with us that they were at PITP last year selling t-shirts to raise money for their adoption. We were so encouraged as we began talking about their experience and sharing our own. We were also able to spend most of the day with dear friends of ours, who we don't get to see very often. We felt blessed just to have their company all day. As PITP was ending, and we said our goodbyes, they handed Blaine a gift to add to the donation box. It wasn't until they were gone that we realized it was $100. There are no words for the gratitude in our hearts. It means so much when strangers give, but all the more when those we know and love support us. All we can say is GOD IS SO GOOD!
We were able to share our story with countless people who walked by. There were so many people that we barely got a chance to sit down. God showed us that His people are EVERYWHERE and His purposes are being accomplished throughout the earth. We are not alone in our endeavors, rather we are CO-LABORERS with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We collected $368.05 in donations, gave away 3 t-shirts and 170 wristbands, and received immeasurable amounts of love and encouragement. We thank God for every person that stopped by, for every cent that was given, for every prayer that was prayed, and every relationship that began. God's mercies are sweet, indeed.