“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”
When I started my fundraising campaign for Amina’s family–Syrian refugees living in Lebanon–on Ash Wednesday, I did not know what to expect. Would people care? Would they think this too political of an issue? Would I be questioned about why I was helping there and not here? Would anyone even give?
The results have been humbling and inspiring. Thirty different people have made monetary donations to our campaign and we’ve raised $2,100. These folks include business owners, retirees, and young families. They live in Texas, New Mexico, Canada, and include some folks who I do not even know. They are Methodist and Catholic and Baptist and some have likely never set foot in a church. Donations ranged from $5 to $200 per person. And every single one of them helped to accomplish our task.
What have we been able to do with this money? Let me show you.
On our last Skype call, the father (Metheb) asked if we could use a portion of the funds to allow them to purchase sheep. In true “teach a man to fish” fashion, he explained that doing this would allow them to start a business and support themselves long term, rather than relying on donations. Of course, I had to laugh. What he didn’t know is that my family raises sheep here in the states. When I told him we could, indeed, help him start his flock, he teared up and told me that we were changing his family’s life. The sheep were purchased at market this week.
A washing machine was delivered just today and a fridge is coming next week. We’ve also sent money so that their daughter, Bailsan, can see a dentist about an infected tooth she’s suffering with.
In addition, there have been over 10 “Go Delivery” orders sent directly to the family. From children’s toys to food to clothing to toilet paper to cell phones to blankets to formula and diapers, we have helped to feed and clothe this family without ever leaving the comfort of our own homes.
We’ve still got about $500 and I’m planning on Skyping with the family tomorrow to see what else they need at this point.
The world is a hard place. It is easy to look at the hatred and violence, the hungry children and war-torn nations, and just feel negative and dejected. For over a year, I felt God tugging at my heart about the situation in Syria, but I also felt paralyzed and unable to know where to start or what to do that would really make a difference.
These photos make clear to me that we’ve made a real difference for Amina and her family. And who knows, maybe God will use this project and the others like it to make a major difference in the world. Could something like this help to end terrorism or anti-American sentiment in the Middle East? Could it help to stop religious hatred between some Muslims and some Christians? Could it really change the world? I don’t know…but I have to believe it is a start. I’ve got to think that there is one family in a refugee camp in Lebanon who will not think evil things when America is mentioned. Instead, they will think of the white-as-day Christian family in Texas who rallied their friends and bought sheep and food and washing machines for people they did not even know. Maybe we’ll change the world, or maybe we’ll just change it for this one little family in a tent in Lebanon. Either way, I’m happy to be a part of it.
Remember, in the end, we are more alike than we are different. The two photos below–one taken last week in America and one taken last week in Lebanon seem to illustrate that pretty well.
What we have done for this family, it gives me hope. It restores my faith in loving our neighbors–even when they may not live nearby or look the same or even pray to the same God. It makes me remember that there are good people who are always willing to help others. Thank you for being His hands and feet here on earth.
I am inspired and humbled and honored to be a part of this effort. Thank you all for doing something.
We are still taking donations through the Go Delivery page (click here) and the fundraising website (click here). Please feel free to share with your friends if they might want to help. If you’d like to adopt your own family, just go here (and feel free to contact me if you have questions or need any help!)