I’m going to Africa! I know that I am because it’s been promised to me! Not by a friend, nor by one of my leaders. God has promised it! I had been praying for an answer as to whether He wanted me there or not. I knew that I wanted to go, but I wanted HIM to tell me if HE wanted me there! I also knew that He sends some people but others, He asks to stay and support. So, I prayed, and I waited.
One morning, I woke up with a Bible scripture in my head. I heard it loud and clear. That had never happened to me before. I wasn’t even familiar with the scripture. It wasn’t a common one that is used regularly, like John 3:16. No, it was one I had to look up. So, I reached for my Bible and flipped to John 6:13. It read, “So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.” Confused, I thought, maybe I actually had misheard or maybe it was some weird part of a dream that I had, with bits of it filtering into my thoughts as I woke up. Like I said, I’d never been given scripture before.
I shrugged my shoulders and went about my day, thinking I’d just been so eager to get an answer that I made it up. I laughingly told a friend about it later, who suggested I read more of the story around it, to see if any of that made more sense. That afternoon, I came back to the scripture and read it again, but this time started at the beginning of that chapter. It was the story of Jesus on the mount, when He fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two small fish. The verse I’d been given was the part after everyone had eaten and they were gathering the leftovers. There was enough to fill twelve baskets! The meaning behind my scripture suddenly became crystal clear! God had answered my inquiry with a Bible verse! Not only would I be able to raise the money that I needed to go to Africa, but I would be able to raise more than enough, with the help of the others who would be going!
In contemplating how to begin raising the $2400 I personally needed to get to Africa, my friend, Jackie and I decided to have a yard sale at my house and split the proceeds. We asked our friends and family to donate unwanted items that we could sell at our yard sale. Then, began to stuff my car with these items over and over and then we stored them in my garage. Soon enough, my garage was literally filled to the brim with any and everything that was offered! We rejected nothing! As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. We had furniture, clothes, toys, Christmas supplies, beddings… you name it, we had it!
Looking through our available dates, the only Saturday we both had opened landed on Memorial Day weekend. I wondered if people would even come that weekend, since most people go out of town or make plans with their families. But, the date felt right, so we went with it.
Finally, the week of the yard sale arrived. I had just started working for my husband at his restaurant, and he’d unintentionally scheduled me to work that same Saturday as my yard sale, even though I had mentioned the yard sale to him in passing. I had to find my own replacement. Everyone I asked was busy or unable to help me out. It was looking more and more like I would have to miss my own yard sale. I started to become anxious. Then, I remembered Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” So, I prayed. Finally, the day before my shift, someone said they would be able to help!
The day before the yard sale, Jackie and I got together for final preparations for the sale. We made signs and hung up notices directing people on how to find us, as well as posted all over Facebook on yard sale websites and such. Then, I checked the forecast to see how the weather would be. My weather app said that there was a varying chance between 10-55% of rain all day!
I asked Jackie if she wanted to put it off to another weekend. After talking about it, we both felt that this was our weekend and decided to see what the day held for us. We might get one good hour, we might get two. We’d find out, but we’d for sure sell as much as we could before the rains came.
That next morning, Jackie came to my house early, and we prayed a quick prayer to keep the rains away until 3:00 when our sale would be over. Then, we headed outside to start getting everything set up. We filled every inch of every table. We laid out blankets and put toys on them to easily tempt the children. We put up our signs that explained our mission trip, and a jar to collect the money. We explained to each customer that there were no prices on anything because everything was for a donation. They could give us whatever they wanted as long as it was a fair donation.
Half way through, I felt a drop on my shoulder. I looked at Jackie, wide-eyed and worried. Was this the start of the storms? Immediately, we stopped what we were doing and prayed against the rain! I never felt another drop! Our yard sale continued, as customer after customer arrived, some buying a little, others a lot. Some just asking questions and some not saying more than a hello. We even had some come, who bought nothing, but gave us a donation anyway!
At 3:00, Jackie said, “Let’s call it a day!” Then, began putting items away. At just that moment, the rains came pouring down! We dashed to get everything put away and out of the rain, laughing as we did so, at the craziness of it all.
Looking back, I can see that God not only answered my question once, using a simple Bible verse. He confirmed that answer by helping us overcome every obstacle that came against us! He even gave us a great start to our fundraising! We raised $526 that day! Jackie and I split the amount, which gave us both a burst of faith. This may only be the start of our fundraising, but I have no doubt at the success we will be having.