I am still getting goose-bumps. From setting up at 5am to closing down around 3:30pm the Congo Carnival was an incredible, inspiring, blow-me-out-of-the-water- day! In fact, I’ve found myself putting off writing this post because I can’t find the right words to summarize my joy, gratefulness, & admiration surrounding the whole event. Here is my best shot…
Why am I shocked by His goodness & faithfulness? Why am I surprised that he has chosen to stir hundreds of hearts in my community to come together for orphans? He is God. He cares about me, my world, us. He loves humanity. And, He has a heart for orphans. I believe he rained down blessings on this community as our hearts began to match his.
Ironically, if I had known how fast this Heart for Congo group would spread & how big the Congo Carnival would get I would have been too fearful to get started. I think I am not alone in that feeling. We doubt that we can do it- that we can make a difference. Saturday exposed that lie – we did it! And going forward, I may not know what I am doing but WE are doing it!
I’m not sure where to go from here except that I know God wants me to continue fundraising for a year. He has promised me his blessing & his protection for a year. I’m actually starting to believe Him!
I think what has amazed me the most (besides the fact that we brought in over $11,000!) is that I never once had to beg people or recruit help. YOU ALL OFFERED your gifts & what you were able to do. And each of us was needed to make it happen. If Ry hadn’t suggested the yard sale I wouldn’t have thought of it. If Saedi hadn’t come up with, “I know, let’s have a bean-bag game!” we wouldn’t have considered carnival games & the importance of including family & kids. If people hadn’t donated items there would have been little to sell. If others hadn’t come to help me organize & brainstorm items would have been overlooked. If others hadn’t sent encouraging notes & spoken words of life into me I would have begun doubting & questioning. If the Gades hadn’t offered to set up "Congo Carnival North" we would have missed blessing a huge portion of our community & foregone a huge sum of cash! If others had ignored their heart promptings to send a check or to deposit online we wouldn’t have exceeded our goal. If people hadn’t come early to move boxes we wouldn’t have been set up in time. If the Wood family hadn’t crafted beautiful signs we would have looked like just another large yard sale. If people hadn’t baked we would have missed out on new interactions & a huge chunk of cash. If crafters hadn’t sent their flags, hair clips, ponchos, buttons, onesies, pottery, magnets, etc we wouldn’t have stood out. If there weren’t balloon twisters, face painters, cookie decorators, bounce house guards, people wiling to tie prizes on a fishing pole, bean bag helpers bending all day long, sellers willing to be kind to all, off-site food stands & other sales we couldn’t have done it. If others hadn’t come to clean up we would have been overwhelmed with exhaustion. But WE did it. YOU have inspired me. YOU have made this journey more than about myself & my dreams & passions & calling. You have come alongside me & we are doing this together. We are truly changing lives locally & abroad. These Congolese orphans are getting electricity & we are well on our way to feeding an entire orphanage for a year! Thank you for your passion, hearts, dedication, dreams, hope, & love!
1 Corinthians 13:2
“If I have the gift of prophesy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans & possessed all knowledge, & if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.”