I received a phone call last Wednesday from Jack’s art teacher. She had read the book I made about his inspiring story when Jack baked and sold pumpkin bread during the month of October 2010 to raise money to send children in Uganda to school. He raised $1700 in four weeks. He now sponsors three children for full time school and has promised to do his bread baking every year so they can remain in school. So, when Amy Shorter read his book, after she wiped off the tears, she called and told me that she shared it with her pastor and he wants us to come to his church and speak about what our family is doing in Uganda.
So I called Daniel Irving, pastor of The Journey, and he said, “I need you this Sunday because your story illustrates what my message is about: serving, caring, and going beyond the daily comforts.” I had a little problem with myself at that moment. I have some anxieties about public speaking, and I’m a perfectionist with preparation, and this was the shortest notice ever. But I also knew this was a subject that I know is important to share. I understood the decision wasn’t really mine to make. It had already been made. God’s timing is not my timing. And God was telling me I was going to do this in a few days, and that it was about Him, and not about what I was going to do to be ready. I told Daniel that I would email him the photos by the next day, and I’d be there early on Sunday.
After I set my phone on the counter a melon dropped from my heart into the pit of my stomach. I had to lean over and pray, Lord what have I just done? I’ve committed myself to stand in front of hundreds of people and speak. I am so much more comfortable sorting my thoughts into the written word then I am standing in front of them with my voice. But I was already committed, so I got busy selecting photos, writing a pamphlet, and organizing my topics . Every time I got overwhelmed I stopped. I remembered this is about God, not about me. That’s how I got my breathing to return and my thoughts to unknot.
I found myself balancing far out on a delicate limb, away from where I’m comfortable, and more vulnerable than I prefer. Is this how God wants me to be for Him all the time? Could I get comfortable here? Is comfortable the objective? I was beginning to understand.
As I spent my precious baby napping hours preparing my thoughts I saw our whole story take form. I remembered details I had forgotten. I took a perspective from the back of the room. What I saw was God working through us. From the beginning when I was on the first mission trip in Uganda holding an orphan realizing God wanted to us adopt a baby from this country all the way through our journey to this point where I now had the opportunity to share what God was doing.
This is a story I want to share. I have to share it. It’s God’s story and it needs to be shared.
So, yesterday Jack and I packed up two boxes of necklaces and baskets, samples of pumpkin bread, order forms, the pamphlet I wrote about the project, and copies of Jack’s book. We drove into Houston to meet Daniel Irving, prepared to stand in front of his congregation. My stomach rumbled all morning long. I ignored it with the thought that God will direct me to say exactly what is useful for Him. My job was to share the story, His story with us as the characters.
I saw people wiping their eyes as I described how the children in Uganda live. They applauded Jack’s results, twice! Their faces beamed to see the photos of the beautiful children in Uganda. After service we enjoyed talking with people and selling our things. Jack took 26 orders for bread. In the car on the way home he counted all the money, and there was over a thousand dollars for the orphans to go to school.
God says in psalms He is the father to the fatherless. And in James he says that perfect religion is to help the orphan and widows. Why? So we won’t be polluted by the world. I am surrendered. I realize what I need to do next. I’m going to send out copies of Jack’s book and be willing to travel and speak about how one little boy did what he knew how to do. How God took his loaves like another little boy who gave two fish and five loaves, and turned it into enough to feed thousands. How I am so thankful I did not obstruct God’s work through this young child, because we all would have missed the miracle. Finally, how God answers the prayers of mothers and children on another continent with our obedience here. My comfort is not the objective.
So I will put myself out on that limb and I am willing to go and speak about what God is doing for a group of orphans in Uganda. If you ask we will come. I believe God wants to touch hearts with their story.
To learn more about the story keep a watch for a subject at the top of my blog: Jack’s inspiring story. I will share the photos and story highlights. (I’m writing it currently and it will be ready soon!)