An Unexpected Gift...
Stacy and I traveled down to The Woodlands this past Wednesday to visit long time friend and mentor Matt Poe and his family. He invited us down to his church The Woodlands First so his youth group could commission us and pray for us for our up coming trip. Little did we know the Lord had a plan of His own…
So Stacy and I made the trek down from Dallas to Houston and braved a wild rain storm that stretched the span of I-45 and reduced our visibility to about six inches in front of our car…needles to say it was slow going and our car felt more like a boat than a little Honda Civic.
The FUSE youth (FUSE is the student ministry at The Woodlands First) welcomed us with open arms as we made our way through the youth building. Many of the students knew who we were because we had been apart of their Elevation Weekend (an intense discipleship weekend) back in February where Stacy and I lead the 11th grade boy’s and girl’s groups. The students we had the opportunity to lead were amazing, both hilarious and spiritually available. My guys were super funny and some of our crazy antics that weekend included ringing Adrian Peterson’s (yes, former Vikings RB) doorbell in hopes to trade up our paperclip for his sparkling Buggati in the classic game of Bigger and Better…Our attempts to trade with him, let alone even see him, failed. We also had some very deep conversations about the Lord and His will for their lives. As our talks progressed through the weekend I revealed to them that Stacy and I had felt the call to go to Australia and were making plans to obey that call, it was a conversation that got one of the students wheels turning in a way I hadn’t anticipated.
Stacy and I were sitting in the FUSE service on Wednesday night just soaking in the great worship and interacting with the different youth. Matt called us to the stage and laid hands on us and prayed for us as all the students stretched out there arms in support. The moment was moving, rejuvenating and inspiring; support like that is the very breath in our lungs, it gives us life. After the service had ended Matt asked Stacy and I to meet him in a back room, waiting there was a student named Preston, an 11th grade boy and one of the fellas that was in my group at Elevation Weekend. He’s a humble kid, a little taller than I am and much better looking, very soft spoken, but one of those guys that when he has something to say it’s going to be meaningful and powerful. You know the kinda guy that handles his words the same way he would handle a loaded handgun, with respect. As we entered he had a nervous smile, not the kind of nervous smile that comes when you have a sneaky plan or even because he was excited to see us, but the kind of nervous smile where he’s just amped up to tell us what the Lord has done. After a few hugs and hellos (this was the first time we’d seen him since February) he began to tell us why Matt just creepishly ushered us to this backroom for a private meeting. Preston explained that he remember me telling him about the trip that Stacy and I were planning on taking to Australia with YWAM and explained how inspired he was by our story. After seeing our official posts that we were going and had started raising money He said he asked God how he could help support us on our journey… and that’s when he came up with the idea.
He told us that for the past two weeks he had been washing cars to raise money. As he was saying these things he pulled out an envelope and he set it in my hand, which literally drooped towards the ground. I looked at him, as he smiled, not knowing how much was in the envelope but knowing by the weight of it he didn’t wash just 4 or 5 cars. He was so humble about the whole situation that I actually had to ask how much cash I was holding, he responded, “Eight Hundred Dollars.” “EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS!?” I shot back at him. He laughed and said, “yeah, I started washing cars and telling people what I was washing the cars for and people were generous.” Stacy and I were floored. God has used some unsuspecting people to help support us, complete strangers in fact, but this took the cake! I mean a 17-year-old boy could do a lot of damage with $800. He could have put that into his sweet ride get the girls tuning their heads, take a girl on a few dates…after she saw his sweet ride, heck he could have bought an engagement ring for that fact, but this guy decided he wanted to bless a couple of crazy people going to the other side of the planet to do some crazy stuff. I looked at him, too overwhelmed to even cry and told him just how much of a blessing that money truly was. I explained to him that because of the church match we are receiving he didn’t just bless us with $800 but rather $1,600; the Lord blessed his efforts and labor with a double portion. I believe he will be blessed with more than a double portion, because of his faithfulness the Lord is going to personally bless him not because the Lord has to or because Preston would hope for it, but because he so diligently and humbly acted in faithfulness. Preston is sowing into the kingdom at seventeen, I'm excited to hear about is eternal return. His last question to me was, “how can I continue to support y’all while you’re over there?” Can you believe that? After he already blew our minds with such a wonderful gift he asked, how can I help more?
It was amazing to see how the Lord set this up because when Matt invited us out he had no idea of Preston's plan until a few days before we went down, but the Lord knew and was orchestrating it all behind the scenes. Stories like this only go to show that the Lord is our provider and he truly is the one making this happen when he uses teenagers who have no money and complete strangers to help us financially. We can take no credit for raising this money because it’s truly all Him.
Preston is such an encouragement to Stacy and I, not just because of his financial gift, but more importantly because he actively exercises the heart Jesus asks us all to have for one another, A Servants Heart.
What a wonderful gift and lasting inspiration.