Recently, my wife, daughter, and I attended an informational meeting at our church regarding middle school missions trips. Linnea, my daughter, found excitement building inside, as she learned about the possibility of a first missions trip. On the way home I asked Linnea how she would raise money for her trip. I referred to one of the main topics of the meeting, when her middle school pastor told about jobs he used to do to raise money for his trip.
Linnea replied, “Honestly, Dad, I think I might just want you and Mom to write a check.”
I laughed. “Well sweetie, that isn’t happening. Even if we could just write a check we wouldn’t do it. You need the experience of working to raise the funds for something you want to do.” The passage of time showed me her comment had little to do with laziness and more to do with a fear she would fail to earn all she needed for the trip.
Like most missions trips the children received encouragement to write letters to family and friends for financial and prayer support. Linnea wrote a letter and I helped her figure out who she could send it to. Together we gathered addresses. She stuffed envelopes and sent the letters on their way, with a little help from my wife and me.
Linnea also came up with the idea of having a bake sale booth at her school’s spring market. The day of the sale we loaded up tables, chairs, and a multitude of baked goods to set up for the day. Then the sales began. People came by and noticed the “Treats for a Cause” sign Linnea created for her booth. Many purchased items and a number of people told Linnea to keep the change for her trip. We felt stunned by this show of generosity.
A few days after the bake sale I learned Linnea had already surpassed the amount needed for her trip even before counting money from the bake sale. My wife, Susanne, revealed she had prayed we’d raise enough money to help other children who fell short of their fundraising goals. We shared delight as prayers became reality.
As I’ve reflected on these events several thoughts occurred to me. We worked together to send support letters but really, not too big a task for us. We depended on the good will of the letter’s recipients for success. The hard work and generosity of the recipients made the difference. We worked hard on the bake sale. But in the end, whether from our work or the generosity of others, we realized anew the results were completely God’s doing.
We could send letters, bake goods and set up tables. Linnea could tell her story about why she wanted to go on a missions trip. Yet we held no control over the outcome. We offered what we had, but the final outcome depended, as it always does, on God.
It reinforced the truth that God cares even more than we do about our daughter’s heart and willingness to learn about missions and his kingdom. Of course, this would stand true even if fundraising had not gone as well as it did. But it is God’s mission, it is his kingdom, and he demonstrated his love to our daughter by moving generous people to give.
And he reminded me to ask for more, as my wife did when she prayed for excess. God showed me he’s happy to provide when we ask on behalf of others.
Whether fundraising a few hundred dollars at a bake sale or thousands of dollars for a Tanzania book drop as I see ABH do, the Lord reveals his work. He moves through our words as we send letters and builds our faith as we wait for him to provide. He stirs hearts of recipients as they give generously. God’s work may show up in big or small situations, but through all of it he teaches us more about himself. Linnea’s experience prompted me to keep my eyes open and grow. I encourage you to stay alert. Take note of the continuous work of God, which shows us more and more of his own character.