THE ORPHANS TICKET HOME GALA BLEW US AWAY!
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT WE RAISED?
IT BREAKS DOWN LIKE THIS:
$7,140 RAISED ON THE SILENT AUCTION
$14,875 RAISED ON COMMITMENTS (WOW!)
9,020 RAISED IN TICKET SALES
FOR A GRAND TOTAL OF $31,681 .........................LESS EXPENSES OF 6,482.99 GIVES US
$25,200 ..............................AND WE STILL HAVE DONATIONS COMING IN!
As I sit here and type, I am still awed and overwhelmed at what the Lord has done through the Orphans Ticket Home Gala!
I set out over 7 months ago with nothing but a vision and a calling by my Lord, that honestly, I hesitated following. Standing in the shower one morning, I heard clearly from the Lord that he was calling me to organize an event ... even giving me visions of my RED table cloths, the worship team,my keynote speaker and more. I don't believe when I said "YES LORD" that I knew just what the next 7 months would hold. I don't believe I would know just how close I would feel his presence and his hands as I walked with him to see what he would have each of us do to make sure that HIS night was just as he would design!
I don't believe that any of these words and pictures will ever do justice to what the Lord did this evening and through this event. You see, I can tell you about how much money was raised ... and I will, I could tell you about how incredible and powerful Tom Davis was ... and I will, I can tell you about the delicious food, the gorgeous tables and buffet, the never ending Silent Auction ... and I will, but I may never know and be able to tell you about the heart of the people that came and left CHANGED! You see, that was our prayer and I can tell you one thing that can never be measured by a dollar amount and that is what the Lord did that night and will surely do when he gathers his children to talk about his orphans. If I have learned one lesson it is this ... the Lord would go to that much trouble, time and expense to open the heart of one! Change the heart of one! Save the soul of one! Bring home ONE! Those things we may never know.
I can tell you this ...
In the past 24 hours since the evening has ended, I have had three people share of stories of families who came and heard the Lord tell them ... you are adopting a child. At the end of the night, as I sat and was closing things out, one of those couples came and shared that the Lord had confirmed that they had a child waiting in Ethiopia. SO, I will at best, show you some amazing pictures and tell you of the amazing generosity of the guests who came and acted but none of that will ever compare to the things we may never know, will never see. We may also never get to see the children who are impacted but we do know that the Lord does.
Let me tell you just a little about the day and night in case you missed out!
When I awoke on Friday I felt like a child who was just about to embark on Christmas morning. I didn't know what surprises were around the bend but I knew that I would be overwhelmed with the greatness of HIS gifts! We left the house and arrived at the church for a day of set up and preparation. Many hands joined in to create a marvelous silent auction! My Mom (Billie Gill) and a precious friend, Debbie Graf, had taken full reigns on the "decorations" for the tables and before my eyes it seemed as though little elves were at work making it splendid!
Over the past 7 months we had collected 98 items for the tables that ranged from jewelry, gift certificates, hotel stays, themed baskets and even a hand painted painting by a beautiful little boy named, Igor, who was adopted from Russia and wanted to give back by putting his work in the event to help other little boys like himself find a home. Truly .... the Silent Auction came together and was an amazing hit and their are so many to thank that I don't know where to begin! Thank you ... all of you, for your donations, for asking, for gathering and for bidding .... thank you!
Take a peek ....
Mr. Wallace - the proud winner of Igor's wonderful painting!
The Silent Auction tables - set for 98 items and bid sheets!
And a big Thank you to our Silent Auction Donors!
We spent the day at the church setting up all the details to make the sanctuary look beautiful and in the late afternoon we all broke to go home for showers. When I arrived home, I had several e-mails from people looking to see if they could still get tickets for the event and several who were having to cancel for one reason or another. Fortunately, we had purchased extra dinners with the caterer and set an extra table so with a few phone calls, and a few changes of the guest list the Lord made certain those he intended to be there ... were! Once again, as I was showering, I realized that the Lord was bringing me cancelations and re-filling those seats with the people he was ordaining to be there - that guest list, was his guest list. Those tables were being orchestrated right before my eyes. As I stood in the shower, I was overcome with emotion as I could see so clearly that the Lord had known all along who would join us and who would not ....
I arrived back up to the church at 4:30 in time to come into the worship sanctuary to find The Foote's doing sound check. Once again, I was so taken back as I entered the sanctuary to Cindy warming up to "Rescue the Perishing" and I looked on to see Tom Davis sitting behind the sound booth working on his Mac, signed books ready to sell, and Brian Luis (calling me on his cell and lost HAHA) would soon be arriving. Everyone was there ... everyone at work to do their part!
The tables were set. The Red tables cloths adorned by beautiful centerpieces of children's faces that illuminated by candlelight, programs, commitment folders, and more were all in place. As I walked to the back, the once would be gym had been made over into an absolute grand sight. The Silent Auction tables no longer sat alone but now were set off by two large groupings of tables that were highlighted by massive floral arrangements as the focal point on the buffet catering tables and dessert and beverage tables. It was such a sight and as I greeted the team from "Black Tie Affair" and they asked how I was, my eyes filled with tears and all I could do was say "It is absolutely STUNNING!"
Do you want to see? Boy, if you could see it in person ... it was a sight!
The Buffet Tables
The Buffet - SImply was gorgeous and the red linens transformed the entire space perfectly!
The tables were set and ready for guests!
The programs ready to share the news!
Here is a table close up ... I wish you could see those centerpieces illuminate those faces (well done Jen Gager!)
Once the Silent Auction and dinner portion of the night was complete, the program began. I was absolutely honored to stand with my husband as he led us in prayer and then get the privilege of introducing my best friend and the most incredible couple I know ... Billy and Cindy Foote to lead worship! They were incredible!
The Foote's sang "Sing to the King", "I have a River", "All Praise to God" and then .... Billy spoke!
Billy told a story of the jews who were being transported into concentration camps by a train that would go through a little small town. As the train would go through the town, the people of the town could hear the cry of the people coming from the cable cars that were packed in like sardines... crying out for food, water and in sheer agony. He told with eloquence how the same towns people would go to church and in order to drown out the cries they would simply "sing louder". Billy told this story to usher in his last amazing song ... "Rescue the Perishing"
The Keynote speaker of the night was Tom Davis who is the author of "Red Letters" and "Fields of the Fatherless". Tom is also the president of an awesome organization called "Children's Hope Chest". Through this organization he helps care for the orphans in Ethiopia and Russia and more. Tom truly is doing the work of the Lord.
Tom was absolutely dynamic, powerful and filled with truth. He shared some personal stories of his times in Ethiopia and Russia. He shared of his own adoptions of two beautiful little girls from Russia as well. But Tom drew all of us in when he spoke of the church's role in caring for the orphans ... "The Lord's little boys and little girls" he would say. Tom drove a knife into the heart of apathy when he spoke of the Father to the Fatherless and how the Lord wanted our hands and to use our hands to Father them. The Lord intended us to be his hands to his "little boys and little girls"
The last scripture Tom spoke was this from Matthew 25:34-43
"On the last day, Jesus will say to those on His right hand, "Come, enter the Kingdom. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was sick and you visited me." Then Jesus will turn to those on His left hand say, "Depart from me because I was hungry and you did not feed me, I was thirsty and you did not give me drink, I was sick and you did not visit me." These will ask Him, "When did we see You hungry, or thirsty or sick and did not come to Your help?" And Jesus will answer them, "Whatever you neglected to do unto one of the least of these, you neglected to do unto ME!"
WOW .... taking care of the orphan is taking care of Jesus!
Once Tom wrapped up then a humble and gentle, Brian Luwis took the stage and told of the identity for Children portion of the Orphans Ticket Home Campaign. He told of how AWAA is literally going in and investigating the history of each and every child they can .... with the help of our finances .... AWAA will help get 5,100 children into the adoption system and HOME!
Brian spoke with a quiet spirit and showed me so clearly the heart of this agency. As he stood from the stage he shared how he was a simple architect that was called into something bigger .... something unfamiliar. Today, 15 years later, over 2,000 children have found their forever family because of his obedience to listen, follow and obey! Thank you, Brian - I am one of those families whose lives you changed and my daughter is one of those children who found a HOME!
Pictured here is Doug and I with Brian Luwis, Founder and President of AWAA and Amanda Lawrence, Director of Development and Tom Davis, President of Children's Hope Chest.
Let me take just a few minutes to show you a few more pictures if you will let me.
Hanging out before the night officially begins!
Cindy warms up to lead us in worship
Doug sharing his heart and what has led us to do what we do!
Some precious girls who served in a mighty way: Katie, Julie, Sheridan and Joan- THANK YOU!
So as you can see the night was incredible. I cannot even begin to put into words the amount of gratitude and thanks I have for all of my OTH team who put up with me as I led each of you on this journey with me. I am blessed to have served along each side of you!
Karl and Jen Gager, Debbie Graf, Paul Graf, Rhonda Wall, Kristy Jones, Roseanne and Steve Oliver, Amanda Lawrence, Steve and Pam Kleiser, Courtney Smith,Nana and Papa, and my Mom and my Dad and of course, Cindy who bathed me, my family and this event in prayer! Sister, I love you more than you will ever know!
Of course, I am incredibly grateful to my amazing husband who listened to me when I said "Can I" and then jumped in with 100% to help me in any way he could to make this one fabulous night. His spiritual covering over every detail was invaluable!
Lastly ... my Lord is awesome and this night was completely orchestrated with every detail by him and for him!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
THE ORPHANS TICKET HOME GALA BLEW US AWAY!
Posted by Cristie at 1:55 PM
Monday, November 10, 2008
As many of my faithful readers know, we are organizing a wonderful Gala here in San Antonio called the "Orphans Ticket Home". This Gala will be raising finances that will go towards four initiatives that America World Adoption Association is working on that will ultimately get 5,100 children into the adoption system. YES ... a totally awesome and wonderful cause!
Over the last 6 plus months we have been working on all the details of this awesome night. As I look back, it is actually quite comical that I am the one organizing this. As I was telling "Dany" who is Tom Davis's former Assistant at Children's Hope Chest and who I worked with to get him set up to speak ... this is just not my thing and not something I usually do. I can remember when the Lord started prompting me to take on this task. Honestly, thinking he was totally crazy that me .. someone who seldom entertains in my home because it stresses me out, would organize an entire Gala. I remember thinking ... I would SO love Tom Davis to be the speaker and I can remember Cindy (my precious friend) telling me that more than likely he'd be booked already but it was so worth the try. I can remember e-mailing him and telling him our desire for this event and thinking ... Lord, if you can get me Tom Davis, then I KNOW you want me to do this. Well ... low and behold ... within a few short days, not only was Tom still open for the weekend we would be doing the event but more than willing to come and join our night. I knew from that moment that this was going to be something so sweet! The Lord had already planned it all out for me!
So ... here we are, less than two weeks out. I am furiously working on Silent Auction bid sheets, putting certificates into frames, organizing tables, selling tickets, sitting in the lobby of churches, speaking to small groups - Christian Business Chamber meetings, bible studies, MOPS, and even had a 30 minute slot on KSLR - "The Word" radio to which Doug and I were the guest of that time and were interviewed about our adoption, the Orphan Crisis and this event. Really ... so unreal and so FUN was that sharing with those listening our heart and our passions. Maybe, so far, that was my highlight. You know i love to share my opinions and thoughts right ... now imagine ... 30 entire minutes of talking about my baby girl, adoption and the Lord's Orphans! I think the only thing better would have been 30 minutes of getting to tell the world how crazy they were to vote the big "O" - Oooops their I go again!
So .. here we are, working towards that finish line. We are soon wrapping up ticket sales and soon we will be setting those beautiful centerpieces (so amazingly created and constructed by my sweet friend, Jen Gager) on the fabulous RED table cloths and stepping back and getting to think ... YES ... it's just what we hoped for.
It's the sprint to the finish line and though I am totally exhausted and have a laundry list of "to do's", I am more pumped about this night than ever. It's the adrenaline of knowing how awesome the Lord is and without a doubt ... whether it looks in the end like I envisioned ... it is HIS night!
So, with all of that, I wanted to remind you guys to buy your tickets and JOIN US! We have to close out our childcare this Wednesday, November 12 - SO REGISTER and GET THOSE KIDDOS REGISTERED FOR THAT FREE CHILDCARE!
The big event is November 21st from 6:30 - 9:00. Register, Come, Worship, Listen and leave ... CHANGED!
Go to www.orphanstickethome.org and register TODAY!
I promise .. you are not going to regret this night!
Posted by Cristie at 6:39 PM
Friday, November 7, 2008
I am still processing the decision of our country to place a man in leadership that we know NOTHING about. I am still processing that our Great nation chose to look past relationships, philosophies and ideals of this man because skin color and history became more important. Now, before you go posting on my blog a comment that says I am being racist .. know this .. that is as FAR from the truth than you will ever know. As a Mommy to a beautiful Asian child and a woman who is praying daily about promptings of Ethiopia ... know that I never see the color of someone's skin but see the character and values beneath it. But you see, my friends, the past few days I have heard how this nation has made history and we should all be proud of that. But I'm not! Yes, I would be proud to know that we elected a woman or an African American, if I believed we elected him on the basis of WHO he was and not because it was an historical choice he would be. You see, I believe that our country has reversed this racism issue and we made a choice based upon that and are still celebrating based upon that. If we were truly a nation that had moved past skin color then I wouldn't be hearing how historical that choice was and I'd be hearing more about the man to which made the history. I know little of this man and what I do know, his values, principles, ideals and associations are far from ones I am proud of.
Are you watching our nation and what is going on? I am and in doing so, find my heart aching more and more with each day.
You are seeing persecution in it's simplest form. This country, though founded on Christian principles, has lost all sight of the things that made this country what it is. We have turned away from God, keeping him out of our decisions, our legislation, our schools and more. Separation of Church and State was to keep the STATE out of churches ... we have turned it around to mean differently, misinterpreting every word. We have replaced the Lord with people and then give them a God like status. We have moved towards a country that is "Me" serving instead of considering the values to which made us great and being the ones to serve it. The mass and main stream media is in the tank for this new president elect. We will never know the true man that was elected as they will go to great strides to protect him .. just as they did during his campaign. On the other side, they will also go to great strides to continue to destroy the Conservative Party by whichever means they can ... including destroying the name of a man who seeks first the Kingdom of God. While I don't believe that Pres. Bush was perfect and he had his share of mistakes, I do believe he values the very principles to which once made us great and I do believe he worked to keep them at the forefront of his decisons - protecting and defending us at all costs .. including his own name .. He also defended the Constitution and the Bill of Rights that set in motion a Country that became the Greatest and most powerful in the Word in just 200 years. China and other Countries with thousands of years of history have never done what this country has in such a short time. I believe that the Republican Party stands to defend that and the other stands to re-create that to fit their "new" philosophies and their new Liberal policies. I'm quite certain the defense of that article won't last long as the words from the man who soon will lead were this ..."The Constitution is fundamentally FLAWED". Can you or anyone else please tell me how he will take the oath that will pledge to honor and uphold that very article. It baffles me ...
While you have to respect the Office ... I believe the person who holds it must earn the respect and not be awarded and given it freely. I'm watching and praying over his every decision and most importantly PRAYING that he will lead with the knowledge of what made this Nation Great .... and with the PEACE of knowing that in the end, he is but a simple man and My God ultimately is his authority!
Posted by Cristie at 5:57 AM
Monday, November 3, 2008
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MALIAH! Look at you ... all grown up at the big age of THREE!
My memory takes me back to just how tiny you were when the Lord revealed his splendor!
MY HOW YOU HAVE GROWN!
Maliah at referral ... approximately 6 months old
The day we met!
Maliah's second Birthday!
Wow, time really does fly. It is SO hard to believe that our beautiful Maliah is turning three today! We have been so incredibly blessed to have been called to be Mommy, Daddy, Big Sister and Big Brother to the absolutely most beautiful and bright little girl. I received an e-mail the other day detailing how big an epidemic abortion is in her birth country and the words seemed to take me off guard. Sometimes, we glaze over the testimony of God's goodness and his plan for Maliah as she is simply our child just like our other two ... while she didn't come from my womb ... day in and out .... she is OURS and we are HERS and nothing feels different. In fact, on most days, I forget that she is of a different ethnicity and it is when a curious stranger asks about her that I am reminded that she was born of a different nation. She is Maliah ... my joy, my baby girl!
With that e-mail, however, I was reminded and taken back to the biggest part of the equation ... her amazing birth Mommy who CHOSE life for Maliah. On days like today, I often wonder if her birth Mommy is thinking of her. As with my other two, I love to think back to our birthing day and remember the excitement and anticipation of that final push ... those first cries, the first time I got to look into their little eyes and officially introduce myself. For my Maliah, I find myself wondering what that day was like for her birth Mommy. When she held her that first time what did she feel? When she placed her in a place so carefully to be found ... did she watch from afar until she saw that someone had come for her? I know in my heart that she must have because as a Mommy, if forced with the same conditions, I know I would. So, on days like today, I think of her. I pray for her often as I know my God is a BIG GOD! I pray that someone will come along and share the story of Jesus's death and resurrection to her. I pray that she would receive his salvation message. I pray that on days like today, when I know her mind drifts to the sounds a beautiful babies cry at her birth, that the Lord would give her visions of a bouncing, giggly, healthy and VERY LOVED little girl. I serve a BIG GOD and I know in my heart that he is BIGGER than the miles that separate us. So, while I may never get to hug her neck and I may never get to express my eternal gratitude of her gift, her sacrifice and her choice that blessed my life ... I know that the GOD I serve can do those things! So today, I celebrate my beautiful Maliah and I honor the woman and my Lord who gave me that most amazing gift!
Today, we celebrate our Maliah with no greater joy than knowing that the God who created her did so with US in mind! Psalm 139 - beginning in verse 13 - sums it all up perfectly!
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my (birth) mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for MALIAH were written in your book BEFORE one of them came to be." IS OUR GOD SO AMAZING AND BIG!
Lord, you knew and created Maliah and even before her birth Mommy heard the sound of her first cry ... you KNEW the days before her. May my Maliah receive those scriptures and know in her heart that her testimony resides in the POWER and the GLORY of the life you planned for her!
MY HOW YOU HAVE GROWN!
Posted by Cristie at 6:20 AM