I have been a champion of Free Wheelchair Mission since 2008 when I saw the video at a Barnabas Group meeting. I showed that video to my Convene members back then. Things were very tight in the economy, and I had lost a fair share of members. One of our members was very moved and decided if he ever had a chance again, he would make a donation, but as it was, he couldn’t even stay in the group. Fast-forward four years…we have been in touch, and my wife and I were even invited to his son’s wedding (his son has been employed at the company of one of my members for a couple of years). The member who had left the group has had his best year in company history, and while on a Christmas ski vacation, he felt moved by the Lord to make a contribution. Finally the timing was right. Driving home, he and his wife decided what to do.
“Hello, Jeff, Happy New Year!” He shouted into his cell phone with his wife listening. “How are you doing? Have you been on another trip yet to South America? Did you take a container of wheelchairs? How does that work? How many do you take? How many are in one container? How much does a container cost? OK! I’m gonna buy one of those! Come down to my office and we’ll work out the details!” Of course I was blown away and told him how grateful I was that he would think of such a thing to do.
“You know, it really blesses me to see you taking teams down to Ecuador and doing this for the people, and I can’t think of a better person to give the check. When you showed us the video way back then, I saw a man walking on his elbows. This should never be. That image was burned into my mind, and all this time I have never been able to escape it. I told the Lord I want to give Jeff some money for his work way back then but I couldn’t. Now it’s different. We’ve had our best year ever.”
I thanked him and went down to receive the check…$40,000. “Just rounded it up to 40,” he said. I delivered it to FWM a couple weeks ago, and of course they were thrilled.
Sometimes the benefits of being a Convene Chair are direct…you can see them. Other times, the Chair battles through disappointment and discouragement over a member leaving his group and so on. It is meaningful to me that the Lord would encourage me through this, not that I got some money in my account (though that is a great encouragement), but that a member learned to be generous and faithful, and associated his giving with a lesson that I had taught him years ago. It is my prayer that all of my Convene members would be touched in some way where they decide to take significant steps of faith and stewardship, not just with their money, but with their lives. Delayed gratification…the life of the Convene Chair.