Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tell About It Tuesday -- "Giving Tuesday"

So, we've survived Black Friday (no, I didn't take part in the madness!), Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday (which I enthusiastically participated in) and now it's time for Giving Tuesday.

I don't know who came up with this "Giving Tuesday" idea, but I kind of like it.  It's the perfect opportunity to update you about the While We're Waiting ministry and tell you how you can help support it.

If you're new to the blog, you're probably not familiar with While We're Waiting.  WWW is a nonprofit ministry to bereaved parents, co-founded by my husband and me and our good friends, Larry and Janice Brown.  My husband and I lost our 17-year-old daughter, Hannah, to cancer in February of 2009, and the Browns lost their 34-year-old son, Adam, in action in Afghanistan in March of 2010.

Early on in our grief journey, we found that nothing was more helpful to us in the healing process than spending time with other Christian couples who had lost children.  One Sunday after church, we had lunch with the Browns, and we discovered that we had a similar desire to help bring families who had lost children together.  Three hours later, we left that booth in Cotija's Mexican Restaurant with a God-given dream of a ministry in which we would host retreats for bereaved parents.  By the time we left the restaurant that day, we already had a location planned, dates picked out, and a name for this fledgling ministry.

Since that day in late 2010 ...

...We've hosted six weekend-long retreats for parents

...We've hosted three weekend-long retreats for Dads

...We've hosted eleven one-day mini-retreats for Moms

At these retreats we've ...

...Shared our children's stories

...Prayed for each other

...Eaten delicious food

...Cuddled baby bunnies, ridden a redneck carousel, flown down Slide Mountain, and zip lined across a pond

...Cried together and laughed together

...And encouraged one another to live well while we're waiting to be reunited with our kids in Heaven one day.

We've met parents from ...

...Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Illinois, Florida, and Arkansas

We've seen broken hearts begin to mend and a number of lives changed forever.  And this is not due to anything we've done.  God's presence has been so evident at each one of these events, and His hand is clearly on this ministry.

And we've expanded our outreach...

...We have a vibrant, growing community of bereaved, but believing, parents participating on our Facebook page ("While We're Waiting -- Support for Bereaved Parents")

...We have a monthly While We're Waiting faith-based support group meeting, which has been a great blessing to so many

...We have sent 58 Hope Packages to newly-bereaved parents just in the year 2013

And, most exciting of all, we are in the very early stages of a building project.  We believe God is leading us to build a facility which will be dedicated just to the While We're Waiting ministry.  This will be a lodge-style building on 50 acres, which will contain 8-10 private bedrooms with baths for retreat attendees to use.

Our desire is to create a warm, welcoming, safe place ... a refuge ... for parents who have lost children to come "home" to.  

I've never been any good at fundraising.  When my kids used to have to do fundraisers for school, we'd hit up the grandparents, and then I'd buy whatever else they had to sell myself.  I couldn't stand to ask people to spend their hard-earned money for wrapping paper, or popcorn, or whatever other little trinkets they were selling.

I'm still pretty uncomfortable with the whole fundraising idea.  But especially as we undertake this building project, funds will be needed.  We do not charge for any of our events or for sending out the Hope Packages, although we do receive a love offering at our events.  We never want cost to be a prohibitive factor for anyone who would like to attend one of our retreats or receive a Hope Package.

Do not donate to While We're Waiting if it would cause you to give less to your local church, which is where I feel our first responsibility lies in our giving.  And we wouldn't want you to give less to any other ministry or missionary that you may already be supporting.  But if God has blessed you, and you have an abundance this year and would like to donate some of it to a worthy cause, we'd be grateful if you'd consider WWW.

So, if you'd like to participate in "Giving Tuesday" -- please consider making a tax-deductible donation to While We're Waiting.  You can do so by going to the While We're Waiting website and clicking on the "To Donate" tab.  If you prefer not to do online giving, you can send a check made out to While We're Waiting to this address:

While We're Waiting
c/o Jill Sullivan
307 Canon Lane
Malvern, Arkansas 72104

You can be assured that we will be good stewards, and that every penny you give will go directly to the ministry.  Thank you so much!

No comments: