Posts Tagged ‘generosity’

Would you believe me if I told you that with just over 30 people and just over 30 days we raised just over $5,000 for Christmas in the jail! HOLY COW! The thermometer was filled on July 31st!

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I am so humbled. I set a goal, a necessary goal to reach, but if I’m honest, I wasn’t sure we were going to reach it. I thought, “hey, if we aim for 5, maybe we will get 3 and that will be a great start”. But no, we not only hit 5000, but we passed it! With that and the couple thousand Calvary Church is chipping in, I now have almost all of the money we will need to put on an amazing Christmas celebration in the jail this year. Just like last year we’ll have journals, coloring books, colored pencils, devotional books, candy, Life Recovery Bibles, and of course a hand written note to each and every inmate. There’s also a couple of additions this year, but I’m not going to ruin the surprise because I know word will get back to the jail and it’s more fun to get presents you don’t already know about.

To those who gave financially, THANK YOU. To those who encouraged me, THANK YOU. To those who have supported me over the passed several years in getting to this point, THANK YOU. For those who have prayed, THANK YOU. I couldn’t do what I do without all of you behind me. I’m so grateful.

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Last week Hearts for Homeless put on a spaghetti dinner fundraiser, and I was helping out with it. I went shopping for some of the food on “adventure night” (aka babysitting night) when I had my sweet littles with me. The girls were champs as we went to store after store gathering different items that had been donated, and trying to do the math of how many boxes of pasta it would take to feed the unknown amount of people who would be coming… (we didn’t get enough – hooray for an awesome turn out!)

Anna was especially excited when I told her we would be shopping for pasta, it’s a photo-47favorite of hers. But then I followed it up with the fact that it wasn’t for us. I explained that it was for a fundraiser for my friends without houses. One thing I love about living with this family is that I get to see the world through little eyes. Though they are young, my sweet littles know there are people just like them who don’t have homes. They already know it’s a problem, and they know that it’s so much more than just a problem…these are people. They’ve met many of them, and anytime they hear about homelessness they come running over to tell me, because they assume it’s one of my friends.

But this day stood out to me because we weren’t talking about homelessness. We were shopping and having a grand adventure and out of the blue Anna said quietly, “Shelby, will you tell me the next time you need money for your friends without houses, because I have some in my bank.” This is generosity at its finest.

photo-46I think as grownups we so often look at the whole problem and try to come up with an answer that solves every little piece which is a good thing…we want to solve every little piece…but it also takes the faith of a child to step up and say, I don’t have much, but there are coins in my piggy bank, and I believe that we can change the world with that. I believe I can help those around me with my little bit…her coins will never reach the homeless across the world, but they can have a big impact on a life here in State College, even if it’s just a cup of coffee. Her sweet heart reminds me of the little boy mentioned in the Bible in John 6:9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” …if you don’t know the story look it up, but here’s a spoiler…that lunch fed thousands! And it continues to have an impact on many lives to this day.

If you can’t offer much, give what you have. That could be time, money, a meal, a hug, a smile, a word of encouragement. There are people all around who can use the great things you have to share. Lets love like littles do and overcome our big world problems day by day,  one step at a time.

When there are no Words

This post is really hard to write. I’ve started 4 times and then erased it all. I want to write so much, but there are just not the right words to express it all. My brain is going in circles. There’s so much good. There’s so much bad. There’s so much confusion. There’s so much hurt. But Jesus is so much more than we could even think to hope for. He is enough. So I’ll try to write something.

I want to tell you about CityServe and how amazing it was! How we were able to reach out to over 100 people and help them with a project around their house and share God’s love with them. But those stories are for later.

I want to tell you about one of my newer friends who was using the Out of the Cold program that 10 local churches host all winter. She was blessed by that program, but sadly it only runs through the winter. Now it is over. I wish I could tell you that she stayed in another shelter last night, but I can’t. The other shelters in our town are full. If it hadn’t been for someone’s generous gift of money for a hotel stay she would have been sleeping on the street. She and the baby growing in her belly. We are working hard to find a better solution.

I want to tell you about other friends from the Out of the Cold program who after searching all winter finally got an apartment of their own just 2 days before the program ended! How exciting is that!?!

I want to tell you about my church and how they are focusing on generosity and how it is visible in peoples lives throughout the town. From big acts of kindness and gifts to little things like giving someone change for a parking meter.

I want to tell you about getting my PA drivers license and license plate and what a process that was.

I want to tell you about my sister’s visit and how wonderful it was.

I want to tell you about support raising and how I can see God providing even as I struggle with doubts that I will find enough supporters.

I want to tell you about other areas of ministry that I am involved in and looking to get involved in.

But there’s no way to fit it all, so instead I will tell you this: God is so good. He always loves, always provides, always has a plan. When things around us are scary, He is here with us. I am trusting Him. I hope you are too. Please keep my ministry in your prayers and pray specifically for my friends without houses. I believe one day soon they will just be my friends, and will each have a pillow of their own.