When putting the flyer together for the Sacrifice Sale, I chose the scripture verse, "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." (Jn 15:13) It seemed an appropriate way to put in terms children could understand what it was we were asking them to do. Over the last few days, however, I've come to think that maybe the children really didn't need all that much of an explanation. As I spoke to children, teachers and parents about Ethiopia and the orphan crisis, I was continually humbled by the people who joined with us in making this sale a huge success, in many, many ways. For example:
- The fourth grade girl who held her dollar tightly in her hand, picking up and examining many items before her teacher called for the students to line up. She turned to me, looked at the dollar in her hand, and barely whispered, "Here. I just want you to have this. I don't need any toys." Sacrifice.
- The parent who asked, "Hey. How's the sale going?" And when I responded with the amount we had raised at that point she shook her head saying, "Oh no, no. That just won't do. We need to do more." She wrote out a check on the spot for over one hundred dollars. She took a single bandana to use for her kid's party games. Sacrifice.
- The family who delivered a sealed envelope with only the words, "Sacrifice Sale" written in pen on the outside. When the envelope was opened, long after this family was gone, we found inside a brand new one hundred dollar bill--no name, no note, their good deed known only to God. Sacrifice.
- The child who carried a ziploc bag filled with 100 pennies he had counted out at his home. Sacrifice.
- The families whose children brought home toys that chirped, buzzed, squawked, beeped and rang. Sacrifice.
- The teacher who bought less than 10 items and said, "Everything is just one dollar? That doesn't seem like enough. I'm going to give you a little more." Then handed over a check for fifty dollars. Did I mention she teaches at a Catholic school? Sacrifice.
- The people who stopped to ask about adoption from Ethiopia and in asking, shared their own stories--of infertility, of miscarriage or of loss--with me. Sacrifice.
- The parents who volunteered at the sale, while juggling work schedules, child care, parent-teacher conferences and illness. Sacrifice.
- The child who found the book she had donated when her class came to the sale and spent her own dollar to buy it back. Sacrifice.
Kimberly Hahn says, "We have been bought, at a very, very high price. God loved us so much that he sent His only Son, who lived only to die, that we might see Heaven." SACRIFICE---and do you know what? These children, these teachers, these parents, they get it.
We have always loved our children's school and felt that it was the best decision that they attend. However, with the prospect of H starting school there shortly, followed by CB next fall--the cost of ever rising tuition has been a frequent topic of conversation here on the ark. If anyone learned about the meaning of sacrifice from this sale, maybe it was me. The cost to educate our growing family here may be a sacrifice for us, but after witnessing the generous hearts of our school community these past two days, this is one sacrifice we're willing to make.
***Our sale went on to raise $729.71 and gather a suitcase full of socks and underwear, which is an amazing gift from our school children to the children of Layla House (our orphanage). This donation will be matched, up to $1,000.00. So we're going to try to come up with the last $270 and change to get the full match for Layla House before my husband and son leave in about 2 weeks!***