If you’ve ever spent much time in ministry or worked in some sort of church office then I’m sure you’ve experienced the countless fliers, postcards, e-mail blasts proclaiming the “good news” of the next great conference or ministry retreat where you can find out just how amazing some new aspect of ministry or program is in reaching people for Jesus. Now don’t take what I’m saying as a slight to the validity that some of these, and maybe MANY of these places, events, people really do have a project of great quality to share and discuss, but one thing I am pretty certain of – you HAVE NEVER RECEIVED anything telling you about the “Boombox & Mini-fridge Gospel”.
So in an effort to not disappoint you – I felt the need to share with you this random reality of an offer of “good news” in which I’ve recently had the privilege of participating. But first let me give you just a sliver of context and then at the end ask for your own participation (if you would be so kind as to oblige). Some of you may have been fortunate enough to have already checked out an earlier post called “God’s Economy” – but if you haven’t – why not take a few minutes to go back and check it out —- I’ve not nowhere to be – I’ll wait……
Okay now back to the context – my friend “Kathy” (from that other post) was facing yet another dilemma in her already desperate situation. As we have gathered to meet on a few occasions she continued to mention just how understanding her 2 girls have been with all the things they have had to sacrifice. Has it caused strain & stress? YES! Have there been times they didn’t understand and argued and wished things were different? YES! But ultimately have they tried their best to stick together and battle through this without placing blame? YES!
So Kathy constantly shares how she just wishes that her girls could “catch a break”, to see some glorious silver lining around this dark cloud of despair they have faced in recent months. She mentioned that the younger daughter had to sacrifice a birthday this summer with absolutely nothing done in the way of celebration or gifts. Kathy, feeling awful, keeps promising to “make it up to her” once they can get back on their feet. The other daughter is facing the same fate this very day. Today the older girl turns 16 – that’s right – one of those “BIG DAY”; mile-marker occasions in one’s life. But the outlook is just as bleak for her – well at least WAS until…..
Until I felt like God was prompting our church family to get even more involved – to go a step further than we had to this point. To do something for someone who absolutely could do NOTHING IN RETURN and according to many in our “pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps-society”, did not even DESERVE it. So we went to work, considering, praying and most importantly DOING!
So I had the pleasure of talking with Kathy about an idea – a plan to do something to surprise her girls with birthday celebrations that they would most definitely remember! We decided to throw 2 surprise parties. The first would take place TONIGHT – for the one who is turning 16, we would rally the troops of our church family and lay the need out for all to see. With a complete confidence they would respond. Then, so the younger daughter does not feel completely left out and forgotten about – after watching her sister get celebrated, we would turn our attention on a 2nd surprise party for her tomorrow night – full of more fun & fixin’s all provided by our family.
And respond our people did! We secured food for a meal for this evening along with a personalized cake with candles – we were able to provide a fun present that the girl would enjoy – we also were able to put a gift card for a store she likes and then some cash along with a card letting her know that we are thinking of her and love her and her family – but more importantly that GOD LOVES HER! The response was overwhelming enough to create the funds for a pizza party for Wednesday evening for the younger daughter, along with another personalized cake – another fun present that she would enjoy – a gift card and some cash to spend on clothes and needs & wants that she gets to choose along with a card once again sharing that we are sorry we missed her birthday but that she is loved by us and also by God!
By this point you may be thinking – “yeah Neal that’s great – but where the heck does the boombox & mini-fridge come into play?”
So glad you remembered and are sticking with me. During my inquiry to their mother about what the girls might be into or enjoy – so that we could get them something specific. A gift that their mom could even put as being from her so they would know that she was thinking of them and loves them – this is what I found out. She said the older girl likes music and might like a CD player/boombox type stereo for her room and that the younger girl (and this is where it gets a lil strange – but awesome at the same time) had recently seen a sale paper at the house with an ad for one of those dorm style mini-fridges that she would like for her room to keep drinks cold for her and her friends when they were hanging out. The great thing is that God was WAY AHEAD OF US ON ALL OF THIS!
You see back at my own house – in my room are 2 items for which I don’t have a lot of use. One of these was a gift given to me a few years back, that’s in great condition and hasn’t been used much and in fact has been packed up in the original box ever since I moved to the Atlanta area. That’s right – it is a CD player/boombox stereo – complete with radio (and even cassette player if ya really wanna go old school!) it also has a remote control and works like a charm – so I told Kathy that she could totally have that – wrap it up and give it to her daughter.
But what about the younger girl and her interesting choice of a mini-fridge?? Well it just so happens that my mom had given me the small fridge from her office after she retired from her work place. It was a relatively new fridge and was in great shape and she figured I might could use it here in my living situation. (Little did we know then just exactly how it would be used!) So I packed it up and brought it with me but really haven’t had any need for it – so guess what! That’s right – I was able to clean it up really nice – found the original paperwork on it – boxed it up and had it ready to go so that Kathy could give it to her younger daughter (not to mention it is MUCH NICER than the one she saw in the sale paper!). But not only the mini-fridge – her mom told me some of her favorite drinks, so I picked up a few of those and loaded them in the fridge for an extra special surprise!
So it is my heartfelt hope and prayer that these random and somewhat silly gifts will be reflective of the matchless beauty of Grace, Mercy, and Love that was shown by my own Heavenly Father to myself and our church family and in turn will be shown to these young ladies. So here is where I could use your help – will you pray with me – that they will “get it” that they will see a glimpse of HIS GREATNESS through this humble offering of the “BOOMBOX & MINI-FRIDGE GOSPEL”. That the story of HIS LOVE will be able to be shared and these won’t just be seen as some neat things someone did for them in a time of need. But instead will be seen as a spotlight pointing brightly to the greater gift that a wonderful Savior did for their GREATEST NEED some 2,000 years ago!
I love that our church family came together – to rally around – to show some love – to dig deep and give, create, care and offer a glimpse of the gospel through something so small as a boombox and a mini-fridge! So please pray for my friend Kathy and her 2 girls as they celebrate tonight & tomorrow and may we celebrate a “birthday” of another sort in the days to come!