Sunday, April 23, 2017

An Eggstrodinary Story!

There is no way when easter egg season "rolled" around this year, that we could have anticipated how God would show Himself faithful to Sleepy, and me, her momma!

Last November, Sleepy and I committed to a ten day mission trip through our church to serve in Peru. While Sleepy has had the privilege of serving on the mission field with Doc and Dopey and the Prince, she and I have not ever served in or out of the country on a mission trip together.  We entered into the process excited and eager to follow the steps that have been followed by our family for years as we prepared for mission trips.  We wrote and mailed tons of prayer letters (which also included information if folks wanted to make a financial contribution) and we threw ourselves, along with our other 27 team members and leaders, into hands on fundraising.  We have taken care of children for parent's night out, we have served dinners to marriage retreat attendees, I have driven to and from Amalie Arena and "volunteered" to work the concession stand for a 10% cut of the sales donated to the group, we have made candles, sold tickets to pancake breakfasts, hosted community nights at Culvers and Chick Fil A (just to mention a couple). Personally Sleepy and I have been sending everyone that donates a thank you gift of either homemade dog treats or a hand crocheted dishcloth. However, around the end of February, we were faced with the fact that our funds were just not coming in like we had hoped.  The team was a month away from ordering the airline tickets and we (Sleepy and I) still did not have that amount in our accounts that we had hoped to have by that point in the planning.

We started having some passionate discussions around our house about the trip and the feasibility of us actually going. We could not self fund. The cost is higher than any other trip we have ever participated in ($2,500 a person) and we did not have any financial benchmarks assigned by the team leaders to assist us in gauging our progress, but going off how we had always done fundraising, we knew that we were woefully below our personal benchmark of having the cost of the airline tickets raised and in our accounts by the time the airline tickets needed to be ordered.  Sleepy and I postponed our immunizations from early March until a month later, thinking that if we did not get more financial support, we would remove ourselves from the team, return our funds that were designated specifically for us, and allow the remaining team members to split our group raised funds. Additionally, the immunizations were a $500 commitment for the two of us as we needed yellow fever and typhoid as well as Hep A and we did not want to get the shots if indeed we did not end up going.

After more prayer and discussion, as a family, the Prince and Sleepy and I determined, that just because this trip was being handled differently than we were used to, it was not necessarily a bad thing, it was just different from what we were used to... and that because we felt that God was calling us to this trip, now was the time to trust Him to provide.  We made a plan for what we would do if when we left for the trip we were not fully funded, and began praying about how to work on raising the remaining funds needed.  I contacted a few place regarding getting a part time job as a bus boy, Sleepy considered picking up another shift a week at the restaurant and putting all those funds into her account, but this options did not pan out for us.

About a week after we decided to go, Sleepy was approached by the owner of the restaurant she works at and he told her that we could place bottles of water on the tables in the restaurant with labels on them talking about our Peru trip and they would sell them for $1 each, and the whole $1 would come to us!  Doc's husband had someone design a label, and we printed them and started wrapping water bottles to sell.

About two weeks after that, a woman sat at a table and asked her server about the water bottles. The server indicated that Sleepy, who works there, was going on the trip with her mom and she would send her over to the table to share with her about the trip.  Sleepy went over and struck up a conversation with this woman, who asked a lot of questions and was also curious about how our fundraising was going.  Sleepy shared that it was not where we wanted it to be, but we were trusting that God would provide, He always does.  She then added on the side, that she has been bringing her mom's homemade peanut butter eggs to work to "share" with any of the servers that sold her water bottles.  Both shared a chuckle about Sleepy's creative salesmanship, and then the woman asked if she could buy 40 eggs.  Morgan said she did not see why not, and they exchanged information and set a tentative time deliver the eggs.  This woman told Sleepy that she would donate $300 to her trip! Wow!  Sleepy was so excited.  Truth be told, so was I!!

The week leading up to Easter, I texted the number Sleepy had given me for the woman that wanted the eggs, and she indeed confirmed that she did want the eggs, and that she was going to donate $500 to Sleepy's trip.  I sent the text to Sleepy at school and said, "look at this, are you sure you heard her correctly the first time?"  Sleepy confirmed she was positive the woman said $300 for 40 eggs, but was cautiously excited that perhaps there would be an extra 200 added.

I started praying immediately that this would be a moment for Sleepy to look back on over the course of the next several years and claim it as a "time that God showed up in a BIG way"!!  We all have had these moments!  They encourage us in life and in our journey.  I also, had a small part of me, concerned that this could be a big "people stink story" where this stranger does not follow through on her promise.  So when the nagging thoughts pricked me,  I doubled down in my prayer efforts for this to be a "God showed up moment" for Sleepy.    Guess what... He did !! This wonderful stranger, followed the prompting of her heart to bless Sleepy by writing a check for $500 for her trip!  Of course eggs did exchange hands, and as she was blessing us, we gave her an additional eggs!

In the sharing of the story with ANYONE that would lend me their ear, I got another taker one day at lunch for the "original deal" of 40 eggs for $300!  The following day, I sold 100 eggs at $1 each, for a total of $900 for 180 eggs.

Now if the story could not possibly get any better... my last egg interaction happened last Thursday night when we sold our travel trailer.  Some where in the midst of looking over the camper, haggling a deal, and finalizing the transaction, it became clear to us this young family loved Jesus.  As we tend to do with other believers we start sharing among the adults how God has been faithful to our families.  At some point we discussed the Peru trip, and I shared briefly the egg story.  The family was preparing to pull out with their new to them vacation vehicle, and the man said sort of off the cuff, "Do you happen to have any more of those eggs?  They sound amazing."   I sort of panic at this point because I had one dozen left that morning, but one of my co-workers was supposed to pick them up after their shift and I was not home at that time to know if she had done so or not... and the Lingle dwarfs have NO self control when it comes to my eggs!

I went out to the freezer and opened the door and there was the bag.  I grabbed, them knowing I could make more for my co-worker later,  picked up some napkins and prepared to gift this wonderful family the last of my seasons eggs!   I was so excited about how God had orchestrated the sale of the camper, I wanted to give them these eggs as a gift, and figured they would make a great distraction for their kids as they headed down the road towards home.  Dessert before dinner from that crazy family that they just bought their camper from!!

I handed over the bag of eggs, and the man handed me a 100 dollar bill!  To say that I was shocked would be an understatement.  I guess God wanted me to have a "moment" too!  I am astounded by the generosity of strangers hearing our story about desiring to serve in Peru, and then how they followed through on the prompting in their hearts to be part of the process to get us there in their own small ways!

While Sleepy also sold eggs to classmates at school for an undetermined amount of money, (we were really not tracking those funds closely), and a few contributions from others that we gave eggs to, our total raised in "egg" money for our Peru trip is now close to $1350!!!

I will be honest, if I had purposed to make my mother's handed down, special recipe eggs to sell, I would have been rolling thousands of eggs, especially when you factor in all the dwarfs in the kingdom and the speed at which they love to eat them... well it would have been a full time job!  As we currently stand we need to raise, for the next 10 weeks, $185 a week to be paid in full before our departure on July 5th.  We covet your prayers for continued fundraising success, and more over, your prayers for safe travel and for the good news of God's greatness and love to be proclaimed to those in Peru that may have never heard of His love.  Our hearts desire is to love through words, and actions, to be the hands and feet of Christ to a people that we have never met before.

God in His goodness and grace, saw a way to use our skills and talents and love of something that we were already doing, to show His faithfulness to us as we prepare to go outside our comfort zone and serve Him in Peru.

This is one of those times where I am happy to report, You really can't make this stuff up!!  God is good all the time!