I brought them into the house and we found a cute poem inserted into the largest jar:
"We know of your quest to enlarge your nest
With two little orphans whose names will be 'Morfords'
Our vacation cash we'll add to your stash
Best wishes to you and your little crew!"
Knowing that it takes me months to save up this many coins, the sacrifice was evident. Also knowing that my last 3/4 full #10 can of coins was worth about $150, I was very moved by the generosity of the family that left such on offering...especially considering the fact that it was their vacation money!
We did have a conversation, however. As the older kids came in from chores, we showed them the gift that was left on our doorstep and everyone started trying to guess who left it. The focus became trying to figure out who the givers were, rather than the gift itself. I sat them all down and took out the scriptures.
I read Matthew 6:1-4 to them:
"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in Heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thow doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right had doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."
I explained that if the family who donated this gift had wanted to be known, they would have made themselves known. It is not our job to go sleuthing and try to figure out who they are because that would deny them the blessings the Lord has in store for them for their generosity and sacrifice.
I asked them, "If the Lord wanted to, could He point His finger and cause the $50,000 we need to suddenly appear on our doorstep?" They, of course, agreed He could.
But He doesn't do that, because He knows that would remove all possibility of blessing us all for the sacrifices we will make to bring Ruslan and Nastiya here. He doesn't want to deny us of the experiences and refinements that will come to us because of the sacrifices, difficulties and joys that are part of the journey. After all, this life is all about becoming like God and learning to walk by faith. Letting go of our will and bowing to His is what we are meant to do. Without trial, effort and the personal sacrifice of our desires and the worldly part of us, we can't become all we are meant to become.
I explained that this generous family was most likely composed of children who had to make the decision to give up their vacation to make a difference in the lives of two other children. They had to be willing and able to see that the vacation would last for a while, but the lives of these children would be eternally changed and blessed through their sacrifice.
And with that, they went to bed...considering whether or not they were personally capable of such a sacrifice.
*****This morning, after chores and breakfast, I told them they could go ahead and dump out the coins and get counting. They excitedly went to work with the little ones ready to help sort. Imagine our surprise when Emma found a small roll of bills in the big jar! We were all shocked and excited as she started counting and found that it was $143! Suddenly, this wasn't just a jar of coins, it was a bigger sacrifice on the part of a family that had given up something they had planned for.
|My children counting the coins. . .|
As Emma continued to slowly pour the coins out of the big jar another, larger roll of bills was found. There was silence. We all stared at it in disbelief. It was clear that it was a substantial amount of money. And Patty begged to be allowed to count it.
She started with whatever bills were on top. Because of that, the counting got a little difficult. She wasn't dealing with whole numbers anymore! She slowly counted out loud, adding as she went. Since we hadn't sorted the bills into like denominations, there was no way to know how many of each kind of bill there was...no way to know that there were fifties and hundreds in there.
When she counted to $1,000, my tears started. The kids were giggling nervously because they weren't sure how to respond to that kind of generosity. As she counted to $2,000 I started to pace and the kids began to quiet down. When she reached $3,000, we could hardly contain ourselves. I explained to them that this family had given up something extremely grand for Ruslan and Nastiya's sake...a long anticipated trip to Disneyland, perhaps. Patty suggested it might have been a couple who could have gone on a cruise with that amount of money.
There is really no way to describe in words what it was like for us to discover that there was $5,000.91 hidden in those three jars of coins. To us, it was a matter of minutes before all the hard work of so many friends over the past few weeks had been doubled in value. But to the generous angels who left this donation, it may have been many months or, more likely, years of saving for something wonderful to do as a family. That vacation may have made wonderful memories that would have lasted their lifetimes. But, instead they seem to understand Matthew 6:1-4, 19-21 and 33.
Thank you, friends! The Lord sees and knows your hearts and we are praying that he will increase your blessings 100 fold for your willingness to give so much so freely!
|So excited and amazed!!|