A few years ago, the owners of an adoption agency began to attend some of our fundraisers across the country. They had been so very impressed by the quality and character of the Sacred Selections families [over a hundred] they had met over several years. “They’re all such good people” Kelly said. Kelly and her husband Adam who is the Business Manager were simply fascinated by how all this worked.
Adam, told me in a phone conversation, “Kelly and I decided to carve out some time to attend as many of your events as we can this year to learn more about how Sacred Selections works.” We replied, “That would be great” and went on to say as we always do, “It’s all God.” I know what Adam was thinking, “Nice cliché” but we really want to understand how.
Just recently I had a brief conversation with a good sister, mother of two Sacred Selections adopted children and she told me a personal story that explained it in all its glorious simplicity.
Sherry [not her real name] and I were chatting near the close of a fundraising event she was hosting and chairing. It was a relatively simple event but “simple” doesn’t by any stretch imply easy. Every event host, chairperson or team gets that same feeling at the end of a successful event. It started with a deep breath and a verbal or non-verbal, “WHEW!” Then followed by a wave of relief and finally the ability to sort of relax and enjoy the moment and good conversations.
It was clearly that moment for Sherry when she said, “I’ve got to confess something about this.” She paused for a second, I’m sure she was thinking, do I really want to let Dave know I almost didn’t do this? Sherry smiled and continued. “When Dana called me a few weeks ago, I saw her name on my phone. I was in the middle of something and decided to let it go to voicemail. “You never know what you’re going to hear, be told or asked to do when Dana calls.” Whatever it was, I knew I wasn’t ready to deal with. I know that sounds bad but that was the moment. A few hours later I listened, playing back her call.
Dana is one of the best “salespersons” I know and could go on for days telling stories of things I bought, did or volunteered before after one her “pitches” but that’s another story…stories. Sherry confirmed that as she continued, “You know every time Dana calls, she’s so positive, upbeat and encouraging. She started by telling me about this amazing family that wants to adopt. They live close by; I would be the perfect one to host an event for them and we really need the funding to make this happen.”
Sherry has hosted and chaired several Sacred Selections events. She is not only very good at what she does, she’s exceptional at organizing, motivating and enthusiastic about the cause. She has two compelling reasons to be so…she has two children whose adoptions were funded by Sacred Selections, but today she wanted to tell me about one more…the most important reason.
Then Sherry gave me the “confession” part. “You know Dave when I listened to Dana’s voice mail, I really did not want to do another event. It was a really bad time for us. Brad [husband – also not his real name] and I were right in the middle of a big home repair – remodel project, we were way over budget and to some degree our heads, having discovered so much more that needed to be done.” She took a deeper breath, her eyes widened as she went on, “I knew I needed to be prepared if I was going to tell Dana no, I’m sorry just can’t do an event right now. I thought through all the reasons, I prepared my ‘speech’, I anticipated her replies, I worked up my courage…for a few days. I even picked up the phone to dial but put it back down.” By now I’m laughing to myself…been there.
“One Saturday a few weeks ago I was ready to ‘make-the-call’ but just as I was looking for my phone Brad called me for something. It was the perfect rationale for another postponement. I got caught up in what Brad needed and the rest of the day just went by.”
Sherry started to smile as she told me what happened the next day during Sunday morning worship services. “I was sitting in the pew listening, well half listening to the sermon while also thinking to myself, ‘I really have to call Dana tomorrow…first thing!” As I was flipping between focusing on the sermon and zoning out, I heard the preacher say, “This morning I’d like for us to consider in depth what scripture teaches us about caring for the fatherless and the widows. Please open your Bible to James 1 verse 27…”
“Over the next 30 minutes”, Sherry said, “Every one of my reasons, approaches, appeals, rationales started breaking down.” As Sherry hopped in the car with Brad, she snapped her seat belt and looked at Brad and blurted out, “I really think God was speaking to me this morning.” Brad nodded understanding the entire context of what that meant, even in the “moment” they were both experiencing.
Sherry kept her commitment to herself. She did make the call to Dana first thing Monday morning. “Hey Dana, it’s Sherry. How are you? Yes, I would be delighted to help the family with a fundraiser. What can I do?
As I listened to Sherry’s confession, a big smile started spreading across my face and I thought back to Adam’s question,” How does all this work?” There is no big marketing plan, there is no centralized command and control and there is no organizational chart. There is only ONE reason for WHY and HOW all this work to help the fatherless happens.
Our Father tells us all the same thing, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction.” When each of us listens to the Father the work gets done.
It is just that simple.
After 15 years of this simple how…378 children have found their own home and a place at the table.