Four times, Psalm 107 says to praise the Lord for His wonderful works among the children of men. So, here goes!
About a month ago I was starting to get a little panicked about the outcome of the Green Bean Project. We had about 22 days left in the project and I realized that the amount that had come in would cover the text books for the Children’s Home in South Asia and shipping on two flat rate boxes to Central Asia. That was it, there wasn’t enough there to fill the boxes or to send a gift to Kenya for the building project. That moment inspired the “Fill the Boxes” video, which I posted in December (Watch here). But, while people seemed to enjoy it, and while it was incredibly fun to repeatedly drive 800mph from one end of the valley to the other in the making of the video, there really wasn’t a lot of direct response.
Little by little funds started trickling in, but by our December 31st deadline we were still $157 short.
God’s First Wonderful Work. When I asked the ministry in South Asia for a list of needs they gave me one thing. They needed certain 5th grade ABeka textbooks. When it came time to purchase the books we were given the wholesale price and the shipping was free! God is so good! The total that we paid was less than half of what I had estimated.
God’s Second Wonderful Work. Because of the savings on the textbooks, we were within $30 of the amount we would have had to split between the other two ministries if we had made our goal. So, we decided to add that extra $30 from the General Fund and were ready to start shopping for the ministry in Central Asia!
God’s Third Wonderful Work. Before I started shopping I felt it was important to double-check the shipping costs. Gulp! $62 a box for the large flat rate box (which is usually the cheapest way to ship)! I knew what was in “my pocket” and knew that I couldn’t ship more than 2 boxes at that rate. This meant that I was left with $130 to spend on the children ($65 for the girls and $65 for the boys).
I don’t always open my emails from JoAnn Fabrics, but that week I did! Guess what, there was a coupon for 25% off your entire order! But it gets better. When I went in and picked out three, four-yard pieces of denim to be made into skirts for the girls, they were 40% off. So what should have cost $157 was only $67. But He wasn’t done. The next day I went shopping for the boys. I knew that $65 wouldn’t go far at Wal-mart, but I also knew that Goodwill often has some very good used jeans. By the time I was done, I had 22 pairs of jeans mostly at 50% off prices – $65!
God’s Fourth Wonderful Work. Denim is rather bulky. It didn’t take long to figure out that we were not going to get 12 yards of denim and 22 pairs of jeans into 2 flat rate boxes – even if they were large. Finally, we decided that if it took us all year to send them we would just send a little at a time as the money came in – we estimated that it would take a minimum of $310 to ship them all, most likely more with the rates going up and the extra cost of insuring the packages. I was actually starting to contemplate taking the items over myself! But somehow, I don’t remember all of the details now, we realized that if we could get everything into one very large box it might be cheaper. I was just headed out to the UPS store to get the box weighed and an estimate on shipping when I got a call from the church. Another gift had come in!
Getting that check to the bank was in itself a miracle. Let me just say that I am unbelievably grateful for bright red envelopes on incredibly windy days!
I also want to make a personal note here. It’s exciting to report all of this now, but as you go through these things there are pressures. Should I take from my personal funds to make this work? I don’t have enough personal funds to make this work. Should I do this or that, should I just wait a day or two and see if God has another way of working things out? This is an entirely faith based ministry. If you knew the monthly support level you would be as amazed as I am at the things God has allowed us to do over the last four years…But I’m getting off course. On the day this check was written, I made a financial decision, having no idea that this check was coming. It was a decision that I knew would mean personal loss, but I also knew that it was what God wanted me to do. Several days later the check arrived and I saw the connection. God knew long before I made my decision what He had in mind. I don’t tell you this to brag, but to encourage you. If God has laid something on your heart, do it. Even though it may require sacrifice – He will repay you with blessings you never could have imagined.
Wednesday night, I finally found a box that everything would fit into, not just the jeans and denim, but also a few little extra things for the children. Today, I was finally able to get all of the forms filled out and get the box to the post office. Guess what – the total came to just over $168. Only $48 more than what I had put aside, and the gift in the red envelope covered it all! And not only that, but the box was inside the Central Asian shipping restrictions by 1”. Thank you, Lord! I didn’t know the CA restrictions when I packed the box!
God’s Fifth Wonderful Work. There was money left over after the shipping and as planned we were able to send the entire goal to the ministry in Kenya to help with the purchase of their property!
God’s Sixth Wonderful Work. There was still money left over! So, I just sent an EXTRA gift to each of the three ministries!
God is so good! It is such a blessing to watch His hand move in these things. Sometimes I feel like so little is being accomplished. I look at this project and think, “But what does that really do.” The truth is it enables three missionary families to care for the 226 children that God has put in their care. It enables them to clothe them, to teach them and put a roof over their heads, all while sharing the gospel and training them “in the way [they] should go”. It also serves as a reminder to me that God, through His Son Jesus Christ, met a need that I never could have met. He paid a debt I could not pay. And there are many around me each day, who need to know about His provision, not just of clothes and books and shipping, but for the forgiveness of our sins.
We are done with the GBP for this year, but the paypal button on the FTN website will remain in place year round if you would like to get an early start on next year!