Saturday, December 7, 2013

$12 a Day First Annual Fund Raiser

I've been blogging for 4 years. Where has the time gone? I've decided that for my birthday next February I'd like to raise money for a family of eight  six who live in Guatemala; one mom, one dad, one biological daughter and five three orphans. (I had to edit this because 2 of the children have gone to live with their older siblings) While I attempt to pay down my debt there isn't much wiggle room for philanthropy. Awhile back I was day dreaming about all the things I want to do once I am debt free. The very first thing I thought of was blessing this family with $6000. I know, it's a crazy number but my heart is really set it. Although asking for money is not something I do well I quickly came to the realization that I don't have to wait until I am debt free to bless this family. There are people right now with the means and willingness to give them this gift. I have chosen to dine upon a slice of humble pie and institute the very first annual $12 a day fund raiser.

The first three years that I went to Guatemala a young Guatemalan man was working with the ministry there. He wasn't from the mountain village where the ministry was based but several hours away from the hustle and bustle of Guatemala city. He was staying in the spare room at the missionary house and he helped out with anything the teams who visited needed. The teams would build houses for widows and also help serve food at feeding programs in the mountains. This particular young man did whatever was needed; lugged building materials up hillsides to get to home steads, bridged communication gaps between those of us who came to help and the indigenous people who came for food, ran errands for supplies, answered our one million questions about the people and their culture; he was a jack of all trades really. One of the things about the trips I took there that stood out most to me was how selfless and accommodating the people who worked for the ministry there were. We didn't go to Guatemala to help those workers but rather the people in the mountains who had such little food and virtually no earthly belongings. Yet the workers all bent over backwards and sideways to serve us in anyway they could.

This young man was no exception. He was in his late teens, early twenties, living in a spare room in a remote area far from home and always without fail cheerful. He showed love and compassion to the people we'd come to help as well, always playing and giggling with the children, discussing matters of need or concern with the mothers with babes slung on their backs. And our team threw him a monkey wrench when the person who was to interpret our Sunday school type services at the feeding programs bailed. The missionary volunteered this young man for the suddenly available role. He was nervous like you wouldn't believe but he did it without a question. We had puppets, games, a skit; the kids were amazed at all these fantastic things they'd NEVER seen before and he translated every word we spoke all week long.

During our second visit I ended up speaking a small message at each service about how God had made each of those beautiful children special and different than anyone else on the planet, different than anyone who ever was or who ever will be because, "You are the only you there ever will be. You can chose to be a very good very special you or you can choose otherwise." The words flowed effortlessly and their eyes were glued. When I asked them to look at their fingers, at their very special very unique finger prints every child in the room gazed at their hands in amazement. The adults did too. I don't think they knew they had unique finger prints honestly. These moments are ones that will hold a very special place in my heart always. In those mountains I was being the very special me that I was meant to be.

As I spoke I had to remember to pause every few words so that this young man could translate. I don't understand Spanish perfectly but hearing my words spoken in Spanish was almost like listening to them in English. The thing that fascinated me about this young man was how even though he didn't want to be up there in the spotlight translating he glowed as he spoke each word, as if they were coming from his heart not mine. He actually spoke my message better than I did. Truth be told I loved those beautiful little children so much but he loved them daily. They were much more special to him than they'd ever be to me even though I cried upon leaving them there.

I hadn't thought of it as much then but now I realize that this young man could easily have been back in Guatemala City working a regular job and making a good income, buying expensive clothes and all the things young adults blow their money on. He chose to be there in the mountains serving at a ministry that builds houses for widows and feeds the hungry. Before working for that missionary he worked in an orphanage. I remember him telling us about how he first met his American girlfriend there. She came to work at the orphanage, I believe it was during summer break while she was still in high school. He said that he was embarrassed to speak to her because she was so beautiful, like an angel. I think he went most of the first summer she was there without ever talking to her.

They're married now. They live in that same small mountain town where a large part of my heart resides. In fact he is working for the ministry there still. They have a BEAUTIFUL little girl and as I've mentioned before they've taken five three orphans of various ages into their family. It's really sad how children can be so easily abandoned. A father will leave a family, the mother will get re-married and the new dad will dis-own the children of the first man; just throw them out on the street. Or a mom will die in child birth and similarly the new wife will disown the children from the previous mom. The last time I was in Guatemala I met a 3 year old girl who'd just lost her entire family in a mudslide (which are very common there). I don't know how these five three children were orphaned or how they came to find a home with this incredible couple but I do know that now all of them have a family, a very loving home, a tremendous father and precious mother who love them SO much. They have new lives. Honestly $6000 would probably be a huge gift to them but I think it's nothing compared to what they're giving.These two people in my eyes are changing the world.

I'll post a fund raiser reminder once a week until February. I'm putting up a donate button shortly. 100 percent of your donations will go directly to this family. This is one of those moments when I'm thinking, "How awkward... will anyone want to give to these strangers they've never met? People are going to be annoyed that I'm asking for money. <heart beating faster and faster> Well, here goes!

$12 a day first annual fund raiser update #1
$12 a day first annual fund raiser update #2
$12 a day first annual fund raiser update #3
$12 a day first annual fund raiser update #4

$229.62 was donated to the family in Guatemala.

It's not $6000, it's not $600, but I couldn't be happier. It's $229.62 more than I could have given them all on my own. It's $229.62 more than they had before you gave. Thank-you to all who made donations. From the bottom of my heart: THANK-YOU!

February 17, 2014


  1. This is great that you want to help them. I did an online fundraiser earlier in the year for a friend of mine who has some major medical problems and the expenses are piling up. I know the feeling of putting yourself out there and hoping people participate and don't get annoyed. But I was surprised at how generous people were. A lot of the people I worked with and family members of mine that never even met my friend surprised me with how generous they were.

    1. Awesome that people stepped up to the plate for your friend! It really feels so weird doing this but it feels right too. I've been thinking about it for quite sometime so yep, finally went for it.

  2. Bless you for doing this. What a ministry! If you do it again, I'll try to donate next time. Missions are very close to our hearts. We have 2 Compassion children and help support a missionary in Kitale, Kenya. May God bless you for being the hands and feet of Jesus.....