“It will be a new experience” I thought as I cautiously signed my name. Whenever I’ve been stopped on the street by a charity organisation, I’ve tried my best not to be rude – but I do my best to avoid them. Now I would be the one asking people to give.
A month ago, the leader of Corporate Services onboard – the work division comprising of finance, IT, AV, Business services and service desk, a very work orientated department – set us a challenge. We are always so focussed on internal ministry in our jobs that we rarely are directly involved in our Father’s work in this world. He showed us that many school children in West Africa do not have pens and books, and that classrooms have no equipment. We were to put together a stand to facilitate people giving towards packages for school kids, teachers and classrooms.
I was sceptical. It would take away from my work time. It would add extra stress to my team. Yet I convinced myself that this plan was the way of Love, the way of our Father. So I had my team add two screens to the stand – one with a looping DVD of pictures of the dilapidated classrooms and the other for connecting a laptop. But that was only the beginning of the challenge. We were asked to assign time from our team towards running the stand. I would not. I simply encouraged them to sign up themselves. One of my team members put her whole heart into it. She was often there nearly pleading with people to give. I didn’t volunteer.
Many, many people gave. The number of packs for students, teachers and classrooms amazed me and I began to look ahead to walking into those schools and giving out the packages. Another port arrived. I decided I need to assign some team time, so I assigned one person one hour on the schedule (which was filling up) – but I knew I couldn’t ask someone to do something I was not willing to do, so I signed myself up.
I talked with my Father beforehand – asking Him to influence people, rather than me. At first it was scary, asking people if they would like to give. Maybe they would buy one less book for their family. Many passed on the opportunity and I politely allowed them to continue, but many people took the slips to pay at the book fair. Maybe it’s best that they pay for the donation somewhere else – then I don’t know how many people really gave, but I think it was quite a few. I was really encouraged by the experience and would do it again. I really look forward to arriving in port and visiting these schools and seeing the smiling faces.