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The Backyard Gathering

The Backyard Gathering

This week’s blog is a story of celebration and victory. It’s a story of God coming through.

A couple of months ago, this idea started floating around in my head. The idea was to host an outdoor gathering that would be a multi-purpose event. It would be a “Friendsgiving”/harvest party/house concert/benefit for my friends at Redeemer Christian Foundation. I could envision twinkle lights at dusk, candlelight on rustic farm tables, fine china, bread & wine, friends gathering for a hearty meal and live music and fun conversation. People feeling connected, welcome … happy.

  photo cred: toby white

photo cred: toby white

  photo cred: toby white

photo cred: toby white

It felt like a “God vision”. You know that feeling when something stirs inside of you and you’re pretty sure it’s coming from God? The first thing I did was write it all down. And pray. Then I made sure Darron was on board. (He was.) Next, I approached Alyssa with the idea. She’s my sounding board and partner-in-crime when it comes to dream-casting and making things happen. Her excitement and readiness to jump right in gave me the push I needed to go for it.

But you know how it goes. As the weeks went by, my initial enthusiasm began to look more like fear and doubt. What if it rains? What if only six people show up? What if a neighbor complains about the noise and the police shut us down? What if we run out of places to park? What if I freeze up at the microphone?  (This was a big one. Public speaking is most definitely high on my list of phobias.) What if this thing is a massive failure? …. What if God doesn’t come through?

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There was a spiritual battle going on inside me because, ultimately, this was about something much bigger than me. This was not just about us hosting a fun night. It was about the children at Redeemer Christian School. It was about connecting our friends and community at TheSpaceWeShare with a young teacher in the Middle East and a classroom of 52 students, many of them orphans, impoverished and oppressed and with no hope for a future apart from Redeemer.


Ultimately, this was about something much bigger than me. 


My heart felt it. There was much more at stake here. Over the weeks, every fear was shaped into a prayer. And God was faithful. He was pouring out His promises to me every time I opened my Bible. “I will not leave you or abandon you.” “My peace I give you…” “I am your protecting shield and your triumphant sword!”

And you know what? He came through! Both in the tiniest details and in the blow-me-away moments that left me breathless and speechless before Him. The evening was a success in every way. Fifty-two guests sat down to eat together Saturday evening (representing the 52 students – exactly what we prayed for). The weather was perfect. The night was magical. AND…WE RAISED $5,800!! Enough to get RCF to their $10,000 goal for the expansion of their school!!

  photo cred: toby white

photo cred: toby white

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I’m so grateful for this community of people who got behind this and showed up with an outpouring of unique talents and gifts. If I had attempted this on my own, we would still be waiting for the lasagna to come out of the oven. But God sent Grace, an organized, detail person and professional event planner who gave generously of her time and talents to ensure things would go smoothly. Amber jumped on board, despite being an exhausted foster mom of a newborn, and helped plan, pray, cook, prepare, and host.

 Grace: left, Jana: right 

Grace: left, Jana: right 

Alyssa brought her unique talents as videographer, photographer, decorator, and graphic artist. The guys worked tirelessly moving furniture, setting up and tearing down. Darron used his skills to build a beautiful table and benches to seat more guests. Others baked yummy desserts, decorated, served, and donated generously.

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And our boys with Matthew Bell & The Next of Kin provided an evening of wonderful live music!

It was a beautiful picture of people coming together for a greater purpose, each bringing our “loaves and fishes” and watching God multiply them right before our eyes.

  photo cred: toby white

photo cred: toby white

From all of us at TheSpaceWeShare to all of you who showed up, who listened and responded and gave of your time, talent or money – Thank You and God bless you!

Much love,

Jana

Food for Thought: Is there a “God vision” stirring around in your head? I encourage you to write it down, pray, gather your team, and when God says “go”… be ready to move!

 

 

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