Throughout the month of May, Houston was our home base for a couple of reasons. Being new to the RV world, investing a ton of money in long-term memberships wouldn’t be wise. So we opted for a basic membership to Thousand Trails, a network of RV parks located throughout the country. That basic membership was an investment of roughly $600, but it gives us “free” stays at their campgrounds for the year. (The key here is availability, because most members reserve their sites months in advance and often times we have no clue where we’re doing until that day, which means limited, or no, availability.)
In the state of Texas, hands down, the best Thousand Trails was Lake Conroe, just north of Houston. They have mini-golf, tennis and basketball courts, a pool and the lake. Yeah… this was a great place for home base. But, also it was close to Make-A-Wish Texas Gulf Coast & Louisiana. (Our goal for this summer adventure was to raise $9,700 for this organization, which is the average cost of granting a wish for a child in this area.)
Our plan was pretty simple: Recruit kids to participate while we traveled the state of Texas during the month of May, help them fundraise for the remainder of the summer, and have all the money raised by the beginning of August AT THE LATEST. We were so confident of this plan that we had a goal of raising one-third of the money (roughly $3,250) by the time we left Texas at the end of the month. But there was one HUGE problem: We only had one teenager signed up to help!
This was a first for us. Honestly, we’ve NEVER had a problem recruiting kids or raising money. Our last Fundraising Initiative only had four participants and those kids raised almost $1,300 in less than 10 days, surpassing our goal by $300. With a whole new group of kids, located in an entirely different part of the country, we expected to enlist participants in record time… but we weren’t.
We were really starting to wonder if the Lord was trying to tell us something.
Sydney was scheduled to speak and preform at the Make-A-Wish Texas Gulf Coast & Louisiana Quarterly Meeting. She and Jamie arrived early to set up merchandise at the office. (At this point, all proceeds from merchandise sales were going towards the wish!) When they arrived at the office, they met a young man named Eric. Eric was from the Make-A-Wish American National Office and happened to be there for a meeting prior to the nights events. (Eric has nothing to do with THIS story, but he will enter back into our family’s story in the months ahead. I only bring it up now because it shows how much the LORD has been in EVERY detail, lining up things we could NEVER have done on our own. Not in a million years.
Sydney shared our story to a group of Board Members and volunteers that evening. She also sang two of the songs written for Make-A-Wish. After the show, she quietly moved to the merchandise table with no real expectation of selling much merchandise that evening. Before she and Jamie left for the event, Sydney was pretty discouraged… and rightfully so. We were three weeks into the month of May and we had only raised $200. But, we told her that, no matter what, she has to always show up and do her best. At the end of the day, that’s all ANY of us can do. The Lord has shown us time and time again that this is all He asks of us. When we do this, often times, He shows up and totally shows off.
And He was about to show off BIG TIME.
Shortly after the meeting was over, a man came over to talk to Sydney. He asked her for the least expensive item on the table and she handed him one of our leather keychains from Haiti. Sydney told him it was $5.00 and he responded, “Great, I’ll take one, but I’m paying $2,000 for it.”
I don’t have to tell you the response he received from Sydney… and everyone else within ear shot. And just like that… one person showing an inexplicable amount of generosity… we were almost one-fourth of the way to granting this wish. But, more than that, Sydney saw how quickly things can change. She saw how much of this actually wasn’t dependent on her.
For our girl, that night was a HUGE turning point.