It was 2005 when hurricane Katrina hit the Atlantic. I remember because it was the end of August, and we had just kicked off a new year --- 6th grade. Maryland wasn't hit badly, but we listened to the news to hear which states had been hit the hardest. In the days that followed, Samaritan's Purse ministry deployed personnel and equipment to help those who were the most devastated all along the coast.
Our hearts went out to the families and individuals who were suffering --- people who had lost everything. The same thing is happening now in the aftermath of the deadly tornados that struck the plains of Oklahoma and Texas this May. Once again, volunteers are ministering and helping survivors.
I remember teaching math that afternoon in August 2005 when one of the twins suggested that we do something to raise money for the people who were hit by the hurricane. "Maybe a yard sale?" I suggested. But as soon as I said it, I realized how much I disliked yard sales...
...The early morning visitors to the yard with their coffee mugs in hand -- waiting to get something for fifty cents or a dollar. Thoughts of our family rummaging through the basement for old knick-knacks. The dust, the time, the hassle...
Then I remembered that it was for an excellent cause. We talked about donating any money we earned to Samaritan's Purse. And I recalled my numerous reminders in previous years, "Share. Help people. Give." Now was the time to act on those words.
... Do you ever have those moments when your own words ring in your ears, and your kids look at you as if to say, "Well? Didn't you teach us this?" Well, it was one of those moments.
"Okay, let's do it!" I announced after we finished the math lesson. So we began to prepare that week for a huge yard sale the following Saturday. "Every penny we get, we'll give to Samaritan's Purse," the guys joyfully reiterated.
Our art department consisted of one twin with a thick black magic marker who could write big. He did numerous signs with gigantic arrows. The promotions department (me & twin #2) thought of the best places in town to put the signs and placed price tags on various items.
We looked at all the things in the basement that we could certainly live without. In fact, we found the whole experience to be a good lesson about learning to live with less. We rummaged, searched, and parted with lots of trinkets, old toys, and clothes that didn't fit any more.
In the end, we sent the money to the ministry and were glad that we were able to do a very small part in helping the hurricane victims.
This blog isn't to encourage you to do a yard sale -- it's to encourage you to help your children see beyond their four walls to the hurting world and to see how they might help in some small way. Maybe they have some creative ways to make money to help people in Oklahoma or Texas this summer.
In the end, I learned that yard sales aren't a bad way to meet and to interact with people in the community. So all of us learned something that weekend!
All the best as you think of different ways to help people in need. God bless you and your family!