If you’ve seen some of my Facebook status updates recently, you’re aware that I’m trying to raise money for a project called Heaven Train, a mobile children’s Bible school in Columbus, Ohio. Here’s the scoop:
Heaven Train is a repurposed school bus, festively painted and with a train whistle. It once cruised the neighborhoods of Cleveland, OH, and has for the past year been making rounds in Columbus, OH. Volunteers are on hand every Saturday as the ‘train’ rolls into its 4-5 established stops in neighborhoods where kids abound. These children, for whatever circumstances, are generally unaware of the tradition known as Sunday School, but they have become very familiar with the Heaven Train, and by it, familiar with the love of Jesus and some of His followers. There is a time and place (outside) for running and games, and inside there are songs, stories, puppets, and object lessons. Upon leaving, there is some kind of healthy treat, like the fruit & produce that coordinators were able to negotiate with local vendors.
The group of sponsoring churches in Columbus now has an opportunity to purchase this bus that they’ve been leasing for the past year. The price tag is a fabulous deal, especially given the positive impact on the kids and their communities. Any price, however, still requires a gathering of funds, and that’s the phase the project is in at this time. They’re hoping to have necessary funds gathered by Thanksgiving of this year, just a couple of weeks away.
I’ve been aware of Heaven Train for a while, then I had an extended conversation with a long time friend. Turns out, he’s one of the key people in this ministry, and they’re trying to take advantage of this opportunity. I had recently, from a variety of sources, been getting the repeated message “if you would see your goals met, help someone else reach theirs“. I tend to take the hint when that happens, and so, I asked the dangerous question….how much for one seat aboard the Heaven Train? His answer, about $444.
Now, I can’t just stroke a check for that amount, and neither can most of the people I know – but I do know a lot of people who can contribute a little. Facebook says that I have more than 300 friends. If less than half of you, 111 to be exact, kick in just $4, we can buy one seat on the Heaven Train. With the price of one fast food meal, one upscale coffee, a couple of 20-ounce drinks, or a few candy bars, you can not only improve your physical health, but you can contribute to the spiritual health of 5 kids every Saturday. One gift, an eternal investment in 5 lives week after week after week.
My fundraising mentor found in this a teachable moment as he reached for his wallet. “You’re asking too low”, he said; “You should ask 45 people for $10”. I don’t disagree, it’s fewer people, and ten is a cleaner number, since currency conveniently comes in that size. The point is, some can give more than others, and that’s ok for everyone. I appreciate everyone doing what they can.
My objective is simply that I get a little positive practice making requests, and that I help a friend meet a worthy goal. I’d like to say I instigated the purchase of one seat – that people from all corners of my world pooled a little of their resources to reach the children of Columbus with the gospel of Jesus. Part of our conversation, and I’d really (REALLY) love to see it happen, is the idea of getting an ASL interpreter on the bus, to make the adventure accessible to deaf kids in the community. We could even let the Heaven Train kids know about Dr Wonder’s Workshop – after all, the real goal is getting kids introduced to Jesus while they have their best chance to “come to Him like a little child” (Mark 10:15).
Can I make the case for 111 of my 300 Facebook and/or blog and/or Twitter friends to give up $4 one time? Will you be one of 45 who proves my mentor’s point by giving $10, one time? Please help me get the word out and the contributions in so we can buy at least one seat by Thanksgiving, there are only a couple of weeks to go.
Your contribution should go to:
Shepherd Church of the Nazarene
re: Heaven Train Facebook Challenge
425 S Hamilton Rd
Gahanna, OH 43230