Oh how my life has changed! Sitting in church in late January or early February, Pastor Pete at City Church Charlottesville, called us to serve our community, even if it meant stepping out of our comfort zone. That was when I felt a “Jesus Jab.” You know that feeling, when something from scripture or a sermon remind you that you could be doing more than you are currently for others. Call it conscience perhaps. Whatever the name, I felt it. Something moved in me, and it gave me the confidence to approach Pastor Pete in the parking lot after church one Sunday. I had already been working on this very website for Foster Love Ministry, so the idea had been planted for awhile. The plan was simple, convince Pastor Pete to let me hold a bag drive to further support our local foster children and perhaps ease the burden of the hard working churches already involved in this project.
Pastor Pete loved the idea. After a few email exchanges, we met to discuss the particulars with the pastoral team. I came to realize that Pastor Pete has lofty goals. It changed from a bag drive to a full blown ministry before I even knew what hit me. Best of all, I was in charge! EEK! I left that meeting wondering what just happened. Oh boy.
Fast forward to March. The date was set! I was to present on 3/19. I enlisted all the help I could and prepared a presentation. I worked very hard on preparing bag tags and an easy way to pick them up. This meant crafting. I have no complaints about that! I worked all day to finish the presentation board so that people would take me seriously. What a day. Finally, that evening, I had a few minutes to think of what to say. I had a feeling Pastor Pete would ask me what I did and explain. He knew that my cohorts and I are pediatric intensive care nurses. Absolutely everyone asks how we do it. I knew I was going to have to explain that onstage, I needed to formulate a good response. Some of the time, I have no idea how I do it!
Sunday morning came and time was rapidly counting down before I had to go on stage. Talk about anxiety! My husband said he never saw me so nervous! It has been a very long time! I don’t think I heard a single thing Pastor Pete said, as I waited to hear the cue for me to go onstage. As I made my way on stage, I had two missions: 1. Don’t faint. 2. Don’t trip – the most difficult of all challenges for a clumsy person.
By the end of it, I have no clue what I said. I heard it was good though! People came to my table in the lobby not long after I finished speaking. The bag tags were flying off the shelf! It felt like Bodo’s Bagels on a Sunday morning. I watched in awe as the last tag was pulled off the board. I grossly underestimated the size of the hearts of the people at City Church. I can’t believe how overwhelmingly positive the mission was received. I had so many other employees of the UVA health system approach me to tell me how wonderful it was that we were taking this on. My favorite was the mom of a former PICU patient thanking us and vowing to get involved. I even met her little daughter, that my unit was responsible for saving. I had moms wanting to donate clothing and even one family approach who was interested in foster care. A current foster parent was interested in helping me identify community needs to improve the outlook of our local foster children.
I am in complete awe over yesterday. If anything, it was an affirmation that what I am doing is worth it. All the hard work in the next few weeks is appreciated and meaningful. I was told by the founder of the parent ministry, that her one time foster daughter, now adopted, loved her bag so much that she slept with it and took it everywhere with her. That really pulled at my heart strings. If we had the opportunity to help one child feel a little love, all of this is worth it. Money is no obstacle.
Please consider getting involved. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form found on this website. Shopping lists are available online if you would like to buy your own bag.
Thank you for reading this!