Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Blood, Sweat and Tears for His glory...Fundraising

We God placed the mission of international adoption in our hearts, and WE AGREED TO BE OBEDIENT, we felt sure about one thing. God did not plan for our family to accrue the enormous debt of $40,000+. We bought the book Adopt Without Debt by Julie Gumm. She has compiled in her book, various ways to raise funds to offset costs associated with adoptions. She was called to the same beautiful mission as we were. And, through God's provision, she was able to accrue NO DEBT. We bought and read her book. We gained a lot of valuable information and are utilizing many of her tactics. We have just concluded our third yard sale fundraiser for our Ethiopian adoption. We started publicizing our plans and asking for donations; just anything people planned to rid themselves of, give to Goodwill, or even leftovers from previous yard sale. The outpouring was tremendous and greatly humbling. Our first sale was held at our house, Friday and Saturday, August 2nd and 3rd. The night before our first sale, our garage was filled from floor to ceiling and wall to wall. We even had a large pile of merchandise under tarps in the drive way that just would not fit.

Here is a photo (the only one of the day) of our garage at 6:00 am Friday morning as early birds waited eagerly. The pace of the day never let up, with record-breaking sales (at least for me). The miracle of it was, we had not priced a single item. Not because of sheer laziness, our schedules just did not allow it. It did not matter, God was in control. Saturday we were rained out by 10:30 am, but was still amazingly productive. Our first sale raised $1,365.50! Have you ever? I have never made anywhere close to that kind of cash through any yard sale I have ever had...IN MY LIFE!

Our second sale was held in Ripley, my old stomping grounds! My grandmother lent us her farm, so we loaded up our garage contents and headed to Ripley. Does it seem possible that we sold over $1,000 worth of items and still have this much stuff left? We also had our preacher's truck (our loaner, while Marcus's car is being fixed!) loaded down as well. And, we still had a pile in the center of our garage that we just could not seem to fit.

 Loaded up! Ripley or bust!
 Seeking shelter from the rain!
Although we were forced to reschedule this sale due to unforeseen car turmoil, and being a rain out before noon, our total profits for our Saturday-only sale in Ripley was $410, but that included selling 3 of our new fundraising shirts (totally different BLOG POST**). Technically, $350 in sales from the yard sale itself. Then, we sorted everything, organized it, and once again loaded everything left over and hauled it back to Jackson. Next stop Hillcrest Baptist Church!! Our bodies were tired from all of the loading, unloading, loading and unloading again, all in one Saturday.

Our third sale was in collaboration with our church, specifically the Women's Ministry (LIGHT) and the Activities Committee. It was a Yard Sale/Bake Sale combo. The sale was publicized in our church bulletin and even in the pulpit. Our gym began to fill with more needed donations. We began organizing merchandise on the Wednesday before the Saturday sale, and continued through Friday evening. After set up was complete, or as complete as could be (we actually did not have room for every single piece of clothing we were donated!), we loaded up and went home to bake cookies. We baked 48 iced, sugar cookies in the shape of Africa with a tiny heart over Ethiopia. We retired at 2:00 am just to rise again at 5:30 am in prepare myself and Shy, feed her and set off for the sale that began at 7:00 am. As I drove, praying God's presence and provision over our efforts, God gave me peace. We had certainly put forth our hard work and now it was in His hands. As I turned into the church drive to the view of a packed parking lot, I knew He was in control and would be showing out yet again. I had no idea just how much!!

 Setting up! And, sampling merchandise??

 Not for sale!!!
 Bake Sale

 Check out
 Hard Workers!!
We were consumed with busy customers every hour until our sale ended at noon. It was amazing to look around the gymnasium after all customers had left and wonder, did we sell anything. The place was still full of merchandise! The committees and we worked hard and got everything packed up by 1:30 pm. We raised an amazing $2,239.45 from the yard sale and bake sale combination! What an awesome testament to God's faithfulness to those that love Him. How do we feel? Amazingly blessed, awesomely loved by our church family, friends and our Father, who receives ALL of the glory for this!!  

Feeling very uneasy about releasing all of these generous donations by people who believe in our mission, we packed most everything BACK up and hauled it BACK TO OUR GARAGE for another attempt!Our final attempt (and I do mean FINAL!!!!) came September 13-14. We hit it hard with low, low prices to move all of the excess merchandise and the kids insisted on having a lemonade stand to raise money themselves to bring their siblings home! Starting again, early, this was our easiest sale by far. All of the items were already prices and organized, thanks to the efficiency of the Women's Ministry at our church. The dates were still hectic, with a trip to Nashville for an eye appointment for Eli and a soccer game mixed in with the sale. We did manage to pull in $443.26, which was worth the time and effort by far!! 

 Last attempt and still SO much left to sell!

 Who wouldn't buy a cup of lemonade from these two cutie pies?

 Yes, for the skeptics, there was actual blood...and maybe even a few tears along this extensive journey!

We have found that we have been given NUMEROUS opportunities to raise awareness of the orphan crisis in our world. And in return our heavenly Father has given us story after story of renewal through the ministry of adoption. People are sharing their stories with us, they are sharing intimate moments of their lives with us. I had this sweet, little lady come by our first yard sale. We told her our reason behind our sale and she prayed the sweetest prayer over me at that very moment. I could not contain my tears. "The joy of the Lord is my strength." Nehemiah 8:10. Many of these people are unknown brothers and sisters in Christ that we would have never had the opportunity to meet. I am continually humbled and blessed through this. God is showing Himself faithful. Our grand total of combined yard sale totals is $4365.01! How amazing!

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