So now what do I do???
It's an overwhelming question, really. What do I do? What can I do?
Compared to the staggering need in the world..I can't do much.
Compared to what I'm doing now...a whole lot more.
So I continued puttering through my life with all this conviction and confusion swirling around in my head, and found myself reading Jen Hatmaker's blog. (Warning-stay far, far away from this woman and her writings if you want to continue enjoying life as is. Jen will mess you up for Jesus.) In this particular post, she was talking about her book, 7, and some ideas about how her readers could use to start living the spirit of the book without driving themselves stark-raving mad. That's where I found these words:
H.E.L.P. has this smart idea: Use our excess to serve the poor. Clever, right? And this is how: Garage Sale for Orphans. Sell what we’ve already bought and give the money to support the most vulnerable kids on earth.
There is a paper-thin line between orphans and human trafficking. Kids on the streets or those just aged-out of the system, children with no options and no advocates, are targeted almost immediately for sex and labor trafficking. They are exploited and abused relentlessly, low-hanging fruit for predators.
H.E.L.P. is stepping in, building safe homes in Haiti for the whopping price of $6000 each, out the door. This is how Chris Marlow, founder of H.E.L.P., explains it:
One of the best and most effective ways to fight trafficking is to prevent trafficking in the first place. Traffickers TARGET orphaned children.
We will build these homes within 20 minutes of the Dominican border. Kids are being sold at this border right now, into the Dominican Republic, where they will become sex and labor slaves. H.E.L.P., in partnership with Austin New Church and Restore.com, is going to build 12 preventative safe homes in 2012.
We will rescue "the worst case scenarios" orphans - kids that are homeless, doubled-orphaned, abandoned, etc. And we will rescue girls that age out of their current orphanage. Which means: 12- and 13-year-old girls kicked out of the orphanage because they're too old. These girls usually become prostitutes locally in Haiti or sold into the DR.
Each home will have an overseer, or house mom/dad, potentially a widow. We hope to create a family style orphan care. Our local leader in Haiti will oversee the entire project. The kids will be sponsored, so they will get food, water, clothing, and will also be able to attend school. Once we rescue a child, we will raise that child until they graduate college or trade school, so they can then take care of their own families.
Good reader, let's knock out one of those homes together, yes? Two? Five? And by the revolutionary idea of selling what we've already bought. Redemption! What if we took trash bags and dollies through our homes and purged, purged, purged, converting our indulgences into bricks and mortar and safety and a future for these precious, beloved-by-Jesus Haitian girls? Plain old garage sales, re-imagined.
And that's when I knew what I was going to do first!
Every.single.time. I read about these girls aging out of their orphanages at 12 or 13, I get teary. I cannot wrap my mind around that kind of hopelessness, loneliness and destitution. For all of my life, I have had family surrounding me...sometimes more than I even wanted! I have always known that no matter what happened there were not one or two, but dozens of people who loved me fiercely, and would be willing and able to care for me if I needed them to. In fact, I have never really given the matter much thought. I've been able to take for granted all my life that I would always have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food on my plate. To consider life otherwise is unfathomable to me. But it is reality for so many around the world.
And so what do I do now? I'm going to build those girls a house, that's what!!!
(or at least a wall or two)
The purging began. My family hid their stuff from me. I was looking at everything we owned with new eyes. "Do we need this?" "Do we need this more than the girls in Haiti need a house?"
Lots and lots of stuff was set aside to sell. Eventually my hubby and kids got on board, too. Some were quicker than others. God has been doing lots of work in their lives, too. Katie and Mackenzie would donate kidneys and send them to Haiti right now. They already left their hearts there in January.
Friends and church family donated generously. And pretty soon, the chapels of our funeral homes looked like a thrift store:
Two Saturdays. Grand total = over $2900!!!!
To borrow Jen Hatmaker's own words...DUDE!
(that's almost half a house)
Never, ever in my grandest daydreams about this sale did I ever imagine that we would raise that kind of money. The God we serve is so incredible. He doesn't ask us to do great things. He only asks us to follow Him and He will do great things, and let us go along for the ride.