Wednesday, August 10, 2011

spreading joy & back2school

I was sitting on the beach with iPhone in hand as I did a hashtag search on twitter using the uncommon term #back2school.  There I found a bright and shining @spreadingjoy star.  That is what Marie Wikle has done for me.  I was excited to learn her slant on back2school and how she was serving her community.  Little did I know that this precious lady is taking on the world from her corner of North carolina not too far above Charlotte, North Carolina.  After a few short conversations, some email, tweets and such we set a meeting.  it would take place during The Community Fellowship' back2school event.  Marie and Steve drove the almost 3 hour trip early Saturday morning and served with our team until late in the event.  They were a blessing to us.  I cannot wait to see how God uses Spreading Joy and the dream God placed in Marie's heart.

This is our fourth year to put on such an event.  It was not the biggest, but it was the best.  It is not about the school supplies or the shoes.  It is about giving hope to some awesome school age students.  Marie gets that.  And she is also gearing up to do even more incredible things.  Join me in watching and supporting Spreading Joy.  It is ALWAYS an honor to found someone with a similar heart that is sending shock waves into the world of hurting and needy people.

You are incredible, Marie.  God said it before I did.  Believe it.  Keep stepping into your dreams and watch God fill 'em in big ways.  You have blessed me and will again and again!

HERE IS WHAT MARIE BLOGGED AFTER OUR back2school EVENT:


Pastor Michael Harrison of The Community Fellowship in Collinsville VA invited me to come and see what was happening in their community for Back2School 2011.  I was honored with the invitation and decided to make the trip to see what was going on in his corner of the world.  What I saw and experienced was nothing short of amazing.

The entire event was very well laid out, from beginning to end.  People came at their designated times, signed in and went to the story area.  They were told about Christ and about washing feet/serving and how we show love for each other by serving and helping.  The next station was where all the children received free haircuts if they choose to. People from his church, community and others that wanted to help make the day special volunteered to cut hair.  Even though it meant standing much of the day, these volunteers were very professional, giving these children great cuts to start their school year off with.

Then the children moved on to received their new shoes and a pair of socks.  I had the honor of working in this area.  There were about 25 chairs set up for the kids to sit in and we (the workers) sat on the floor in front of them.  We removed their shoes, sock and told our runner what size we needed.  As we washed their feet, we chatted about what they wanted to be when they grew up and anything else that came up.  3 of the children that I served were enjoying their birthday that day.

I'd LOOOOVE to have a pair of these!!

The best part was when the new shoes came out and their eyes would light up.  From girly pink converse, to sky blue and then the one's that had hope, JOY and love on them.  Some of the shoes lit up, some had Speed Racer and the Mach 5 on them, but ALL of them brought mile wide smiles from the kids as well as the parents and grandparents.  I was blessed to be able to pray with each and every child that I served.    Talk about an honor.  Several of the children gave me the biggest hugs and thanked me before leaving. I smiled and said you are welcome and invited them to come and be part of this awesome church, knowing I was just a visitor for a day and that the thanks belonged to a church with a huge heart for others.

They left that area and went on to receive 5 articles of clothes.  This clothing area was nothing like I've ever seen.  They looked neatly pressed.  I had the chance to speak with Nancy, who heads up the clothing closet and she told me that 25 precious ladies help keep it neat and in order by volunteering their time each week.

Once the kids received their clothes, they were then able to receive their brand new backpack filled with various school supplies.

I pretty much stayed in the one area from 9:45 am to 5:30pm.  My husband worked in various places through the day.   They started at 8am and I have no clue when the cleanup ended so that services could take place on Sunday morning.

Washing Feet

I can't imagine the work that was put into this event through the entire year and invite Pastor Harrison to share in the comments below anything his heart desires.

The ladies I worked alongside of were simply wonderful! Everyone was super nice and had no idea I was from so far away, not that that mattered, as we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.

I felt at home there, serving with them and look forward to going back next year and even helping where we can before then.

It's my honor to support them financially, to be a voice for them and to do what I can to help.

I went there to spread some joy and be a blessing to Pastor Harrison as well as to see how they are making a difference in their community so that maybe one day, my community can reach out to others in the same fashion.  I received a wealth of information on making a huge event like this happen as well as back2school supplies for my own upcoming event. Unbelievable!

If you are in the area, I invite you to check them out.  If you are on twitter, I invite you to follow @michaelharrison and his church @the_community.

Thank you Pastor Harrison for the invitation and the opportunity to serve your community!

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happy birthday, Julie

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