• Renee

Joy in Giving

How many times do we come across a post on Facebook, a commercial on TV, an add in the mailbox asking us to donate to something?

I think we could all probably agree that this happens OFTEN. Most of the times, we scroll by, don't pay attention, or just throw it in the garbage. But sometimes, we look. We listen. We are burdened. I believe that God puts different passions on different hearts for a reason. We can't be all things to all people, but we can all do our small part.

"Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love." - Mother Teresa

The question is...are we doing the small things? Or are we just relying on and trusting that someone else will do it?

I know she would never brag on herself. That is not who she is, but my sister is such an inspiration and encouragement to me. Not everyone is called to GO. Goodness, I think half of the people "called" shouldn't GO. (soapbox...and another blog, another day...) But if everyone would realize just how stinking blessed we are, and choose to do their part, wherever they are, this world would be a different place. Today, I wanted to share the JOY that I see when my sister gives.

Just yesterday, we started a campaign to raise money for school for the children at the Children's Village where we spent our first three years serving in Haiti. We challenged people to choose a number, 1-150, and then donate that amount to Okipe. That afternoon, I received this picture, with the caption, "Guess what we're doing later?!"

She was planning to cut all the numbers up, put them in a bag and then she and the four kids would all draw a number, add it all up, and donate that amount to Okipe. Being the worrier that I am...of course I said, "What if you all draw HUGE numbers? Maybe you should just cut up 1-50 and then add that together." To which she responded:

"I want to keep all the numbers in...makes it that much more exciting!!!! I was going to ask if you do a payment plan, but then I thought, nope! If that's what we draw that's what we need to give. I just spent over $300 at Meijer today on groceries for the next two weeks. Puts everything in perspective!"

Wow. I was challenged. Half of me wanted to argue with her. What if it was too much?! But I knew that she would just tell me that giving isn't always supposed to be easy and without thought or sacrifice.

“We’re not giving what we’re called to give, unless that giving affects how we live — affects what we put on our plate and where we make our home and hang our hat and what kind of threads we’ve got to have on our back.

Surplus Giving is the leftover you can afford to give; Sacrificial Giving is the love gift that changes how you live — because the love of Christ has changed you.

God doesn’t want your leftovers. God wants your love overtures, your first-overs, because He is your first love.” - Ann Voskamp

So, away they went. She showed the video to the kids to explain what they were going to do. Then they cut up all the numbers and put them in a bag.

Then, I asked if she would video their draws so we could join in the fun! The anticipation of what they were going to draw was SO fun!! Here's the first video:

122...131...110...You guys! I have to be honest...after she sent that first video, I had thoughts like, "it's too much," "you don't have to follow through," "set a limit before you draw the last ones!" I may have even said those things out loud...but of course, she would hear none of it. (And how about LUKE?! Isn't he a riot?!) On to the second video:

96...129! Which brings the total to $588!! And you cannot help but smile when you see the joy and excitement of giving. These numbers were not planned. I even questioned whether or not I would share this story after the total got to be so high. I didn't want to bring any negativity toward my sister and her family for simply being obedient. Some may be thinking...well, it's easy to give when you have a lot of money. I want to encourage (and challenge) you. My sister (and her husband) may have more money now than they did ten or fifteen years ago, but I know that they were just as obedient and generous. They have always intentionally set money aside to give. If we aren't able to give when we have a little, it is likely that even when we have much...we still won't give. It's a way of life. A decision we make. It's not about the quantity. It's about the heart.

"It's not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving."

-Mother Teresa

And let me tell you, there's a whole lotta love in this family. I'm so proud and thankful to call them mine

If you'd like more information, or to join our campaign - we'd love to see your pictures and videos or hear your fun ideas of how you chose your number!! Head over to the Okipe Facebook page and send us a message :)


Bercy, HAITI

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The Janofski Family