Something incredibly cool happened among our youth group a few months ago. It was actually before I started blogging and so I have not shared it with my readers yet. It is still on my mind often and I thought it deserved to be written about.
We live in a poorer community. I know I have mentioned before it is a very small town. (About 1700 people) It is also among the 25 poorest counties in the U.S. So I was a little doubtful of the outcome when, Britt, a girl from my husbands youth group called a week before Valentines Day with a “great idea.”
“Let’s see if we can collect canned goods and share it with a needy family for Valentine’s!” She said. “You know since it is all about love, we could share our love with someone that needs it.”
N said “O.K.” and put Britt in charge of it. Britt made an announcement on Sunday, February 10th for people to bring canned goods up to the church if they wanted to give to the family. By Wednesday night my husband had several grocery sacks of food in his office from various individuals. By the following Sunday morning there was a huge box in the foyer full with several more grocery sacks around it. And by Sunday night about an hour and a half before youth group started my husband called me from the church to ask if we had any empty boxes. He said a couple of our Senior guys were going to come by and pick them up because there was so much food and no place to put it.
“Wow, that’s awesome!” I thought.
N called me back a few minutes after the boys picked up the boxes to tell me the whole story. We had three senior boys at that time. All of which had only been coming to youth for a month or two. They had gone around town earlier that day, from door to door, asking for donations for a family in need. They received all kinds of goodies, and some monetary donations as well, adding up to about $100. These three guys took that money twenty miles to the nearest Wal-Mart and bought more “goodies”. Can’t you just see three seventeen-year-old boys shopping for groceries together? It makes me smile every time I think about it. They then went up early to the church to deliver the groceries and package them up for our distribution of them that would take place after youth group that night. N, could not believe how excited and proud these boys were about how much stuff they had gotten. It so blessed N to see it!
I was shocked when I showed up for youth later that night to see the amount of; not only canned goods, but also paper towels, toilet paper, bottled water… all kinds of stuff. It was awesome.
Youth ended and Britt asked if she could make an announcement to get some of the kids to help drop off our gift of love. She stood at the front of the room next to my husband and said, “We’ve known from the beginning when we first started collecting these items, who we wanted it all to go to, all this stuff is for our lovely youth pastor and his wife!”
WE WERE FLOORED! We had no idea that they were doing this for us. You should have seen the looks on those boys’ faces too. They were all, absolutely giddy. We felt so blessed as we were really experiencing a time of need. We were not about to starve or anything but it had just been one of those months when we were wondering how the bills were going to get paid. But what was so much greater than that was the amount of love and acceptance we felt being poured out on us by this youth group. They were all so pleased with themselves.
Most of the kids stayed and helped bring all the groceries over to our house. It looked like even more when we got it into the kitchen and it took me 2 days to sort it and put it all away. Would you believe these boys had done a very thoughtful job in their grocery shopping that afternoon? They did not just go to the store and buy $100 worth of generic stuff. They had picked out, among a whole lot of other things, quite a few items specifically for our children. Juice boxes, animal crackers, oh, I forget what else. One of the boys apparently approached N after youth and apologized if they had gotten too much “junk food” for the kids. How sweet, right!
We were further blessed when our pastor shared with us the next day how this had all come about.
At a prayer meeting the Wednesday night that Britt had called with her bright idea, our pastor had briefly asked the group to be praying for our family. N, also works a full time construction job (which is where a large portion of our paycheck comes from) and his boss did not have any jobs lined up at that time and so N was currently out of work for an unknown amount of time. Britt’s mom came home from the prayer meeting and mentioned it casually to Britt. Britt said, “Well we have to do something then.” So she got on the phone with our pastor to get an o.k. from him on her big scheme and the rest is history. I am humbled, awed, and nearly brought to tears every time I think about the act of love that these kids and our community poured out on us. I was further moved several weeks later when, at a weekend youth retreat I sat in a room among kids sharing their testimony. Those three senior boys were present and every one of them had a similar story to tell, a story of growing up with nothing. A month of rationing nothing but bread between himself and his two sisters was one of the guy’s stories. Another shared about how he had gone to work at a young age to help supplement the family income when his father was not working. They had all experienced need so unlike any I have ever known and yet from this hardship comes the most generous spirit. They had not just seen a need and met it; they had done it with such joy and excitement.
This is most, but not all of the stuff we received. Isn't that Awesome?