Sunday, April 19, 2015

That Thing in Your Hand

The title of this blog post goes back several years to when employees at the Provincial Government funded agency where I work were challenged to participate in a campaign called "The Power of One." The idea was that if many staff at Christian Horizons raised $500 each for CH Global, which is only funded by donations; collectively it would add up to a significant amount.  It was in the last quarter of the fiscal year, a busy time at work, and I remember having a sinking feeling. I am not a natural fundraiser and it felt like one more pressure added to my full plate.

That attitude didn't last long, thank goodness. I was soon thinking of the old bible story of David and Goliath. No one was stepping up to fight the giant Goliath until a young shepherd boy named David  reminded them that there was a God in Israel who only needed a willing heart and pair of hands. My attitude to that point resembled that of King of Israel at that time: Saul; who was defeated before he even tried, because he looked at the natural possibilities--not the supernatural. There was really no choice--I preferred to be David than King Saul.

That's when I thought of another even older bible story--this time about the reluctant leader, Moses; when God asked him, " What is that in your hand?" God used the staff in his hand supernaturally as a sign to the people of Israel that Moses really was commissioned by him to lead them out of Egypt. I thought about what I had in my hand, and it was pie. I put my goal out on Facebook: 25 pies at $20, equaling $500. By the end of March I had sold over 50 pies and raised over $1000. In my experience, God always exceeds our expectations.

Image result for dwayne milleyIt was a couple of years later, November 2013, and at a leadership conference I again felt God tap me on the shoulder with a nudge to bake pies for CH Global. I touched base with my boss at the time, Dwayne Milley, and he approved the idea, asking only if I'd mind getting behind our $10,000 district project--a simple guest house in South Sudan, where visiting workers could stay. CH Global was giving support to the people there. I began taking pie orders with that project in mind, drawing energy from thinking of this people so far away, who had so much less than we do here in North America. Two weeks into December, civil war broke out in South Sudan, and the little guest house we were funding, became a place where an impossibly large number of people fled, from the atrocities that began as the war took hold. 

So many people got behind the pie project, donating pie boxes, flour, sugar, apples, and peeling box upon box of apples to be frozen. Many people helped by buying pies at above market price and I have now had a lot of practice, baking hundreds of pies and raising thousands of dollars. All the time with people far away on our hearts.

Last week I went to my hairdresser, Gravity Salon, in Barrie, where Ivo Tiberio, the owner, and his staff, are part of the cheering section for the pies for South Sudan, giving generous support at every opportunity. 

I never go to the hairdresser without at least five pies in my trunk--just in case someone asks, and I had five with me last week. As I stood at the cash register paying for my hair cut and colour, the pies were snapped up. 

Ivo, called me over to his chair. The woman whose hair he was cutting wanted to ask me about the project. She looked to be in her late thirties, with fine features and her ash brown hair cut in a stylish mid length bob. "Why South Sudan?"  she asked.

I told her the story in a nutshell, then she told me she'd bought pie before when we were both in the salon at the same time. And then she said, "I haven't been in South Sudan, but I've been in the north with the Canadian Armed Forces in charge of logistics." She said,"You need to know that while all the wealth is in the south, it is all taken to the north."

Dwayne moved from Christian Horizons to CH Global last October. He now gets to see first hand what most of us can only imagine in the Third World.  On April 16 he posted a story on his own blog about South Sudan and you can read it HERE. I read it this afternoon and spent some time searching for words for the emotion I felt. Then I gave up--it is impossible to describe without diminishing the impact of Dwayne's words, so I hope that everyone who reads this, clicks on the link and reads his story.

I continue to be amazed at what happens when you follow God's lead. And when you simply pick up, "that thing in your hand."

4 comments:

mercygraceword said...

Sometimes it seems like there is nothing in our hands. So thankful that God has done and continue to do so much with your willingness to obey the "pie call"; imagine it might be heaven before you know the full impact!

Belinda Burston said...

Yes, Deb, thankful for this little piece of God's work in the world through a humble pie. :)

Angcat said...

I loved this post Belinda!
It's all about having a vision. I loved Dwayne's story, about the brick by brick.
That's so much of what we're all yearning for here in our western world, especially our kids.
Thank you for sharing!

Belinda Burston said...

Thanks Ang. I am so glad you followed the link to Dwayne's story. Wasn't that so humbling. It completely undid me.