As I mentioned in DWW – Dear Donald, part of my task at Silent Blessings is to respond to fan mail. Sometimes they simply say hello, sometimes they ask about Lisa’s pink hair or Paula’s blue hair, and sometimes they ask bigger questions. Here’s one from today (yes, I changed the names).
Within each human body, there is a person… You don’t need an advanced degree in biology, psychology, or philosophy to know that – but have you given it much thought?? Continue reading A Child is Born
The interesting thing about facts is, no matter who tells them, they remain true. I hereby invite you to catch the vision of reaching deaf people with the gospel, preferably while they’re young enough to be guided and guarded by it.
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
For an overview of the most recent few weeks (and one reason there haven’t been any blog posts), see the article on Sim Games: A Metaphor. I’m starting to climb out of the dangerous hole I’d wandered into, and with a low-cardio high-ministry week coming up, I should be in fine shape soon. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself and anyone else who asks.
And yes, it’s getting past time to wiki-fy this blog.
We did a Deaf Camp in Grand Junction, MI, and I met some more kindred spirits (yes, they each have their own bodies, though one is a clown who shares a body with her human – it works that way). I can report that JJ (my clown) and I, and our team from Silent Blessings / Dr Wonder’s Workshop, presented the gospel clearly to about a dozen families in a fun and memorable way.
One family was there for only a day, the day the clowns were there. This family touched chords in each of us, and each of us in turn touched a member of that family. We spoke at length, giving encouragement for the parental advocacy battle, Father to Father, Mom to Mom….and the subject of discussion had some one-on-one time with a real live clown who spoke his language and didn’t mind getting dirty. “Will you go to the beach with us?” “No, time for me to go somewhere else.” “Please?”… in my search for my fellow clown, I ended up at the beach, much to the little guy’s delight. Something whispered that the whole event was orchestrated to bring God’s love and some much needed encouragement to that family. God’s been known to do such things.
Next up, a marathon week at my pay-job, and a trip to KY for my family reunion. While there, I made some progress in honing my “elevator presentation” for both Silent Blessings and Stained Glass. (the “Elevator Presentation” is a networking device, a challenge to clearly present a complete package of information in the amount of ‘face time’ you have during an elevator trip between floors.) I also spent some time at the Silent Blessings office, and got a little farther into the communication flow between Dr Wonder’s Workshop and fans of the show.
The following week was supposed to include a church homecoming in Columbus, OH – reference the ‘Sim‘ article for why I didn’t make it. I did have a productive and encouraging meeting with someone who knows far more about ministry & missions & financing than I do. (There’s an English idiom about ‘going off half cocked’…I’ve long known what it meant, but now I have a clearer understanding of it’s application: a big explosion of concentrated energy, with no distance or power to penetrate.) We’re going to assemble a committee, and they’re going to add their energy and guidance, a longer barrel, if you will, to ensure that the target is actually reached effectively. It’s infrastructure work, which is both critical and largely invisible. As for the rest of my week, it was spent on Mom & Dad’s couch until I had to make the drive back home & resume my work schedule.
One private Bible study has resumed. We’ve finally wrapped up the books of the Kings, and now we’re in the first book of Chronicles (or, the book of First Chronicles). This will take us, from another perspective, through the life of the nation of Israel, starting with genealogies (and difficult names). If you’re in the same place, don’t skip too quickly through the first chapters, because some of those names include parenthetical remarks about the people they belong to, giving hints that will be important in the longer stories told later.
Today, I enjoyed a relaxing, laugh-infused picnic with my deaf friends and others from the area I hadn’t met before. I spoke with another set of parents who are finding themselves in the aforementioned advocacy battle with the schooling and professional systems in place. I told a few people about Dr Wonder’s Workshop, handed out a few business cards, and lost a watermelon eating contest.
Next on the agenda is a VBS (Vacation Bible School) in Warsaw, IN, using the Dr Wonder’s Workshop materials and some of the lessons learned at camp. We’re expecting 20 or so deaf kids among 70 or so attending. That would be fabulous!! Tune in to the next ministry report article to see how it went (but pray for us while it’s still underway).
The Prayer List:
— energy, for all of us
— families that attended Deaf Camp in Michigan
— the committee of people God will assemble for this missionary
— long distance Bible Study (via Skype)
— deaf people, and parents of deaf children, in our community
— Vacation Bible School in Warsaw
— wisdom, always wisdom 🙂
— a friend’s car that insists on dying when she needs it most
— a coworker who’s been to too many funerals this week
— our very own Deaf Olympian, heading out of country soon
— some medical billing and worker’s comp entanglement
Jesus knows the details 🙂