The Fundraiser in the Grove

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Last weekend was the 4th annual fund raiser for Best Life Ministries.  The week before the event, the farmer and I worked diligently to prepare every single detail to make things comfortable, welcoming, and enjoyable.

We always think about what will help people experience a glimpse into the past, and one of my favorite things to do is to string white Chinese lanterns across the front of the church.  I tie them with red bows.

Next, we set up our tables with red checkered tablecloths of all kinds, and set out our old church chairs from the 1940s.  Mason jars filled with sunflowers decorated tables, while Glenn Miller and other 40’s music wafted gently through the air.

Dean pulled an original window from the garage and I attached burlap ribbon and clipped old photos from the church’s history with little clothespins.

Fresh flowers from the local hardware store, currently 75% off, were placed in pots, crocks, and old tool boxes to add colorful decor.

The guests finished up their light supper of grilled hotdogs, chips, coleslaw and pickles, the guzzled down their iced tea and cold pink lemonade and headed inside the church to continue the evening.  Laughter, along with oohs and aahs filled the airwaves.  Several had never been inside the old 1900s church.  We were so happy to be with family, friends, and staff.

The evening began with a word of prayer and a lovely 45 minute hymn sing.  People shared their memories of specific hymns and lovely harmonies rang out throughout the room, bouncing off the glorious old tin ceiling.

As I looked out at the crowd during the song, “In the Garden,” I felt such a closeness to the people, even to those I didn’t know.  I could only imagine the songs of the past that were raised up through the roof over the 100 years, giving God glory!

My staff cut big slices of cherry, blueberry, apple, and every kind of pie imaginable and laid them all out in lovely display across the large 8 foot table as they dished up ice cream and whipped cream to top the luxurious sugary pieces of happiness.

People lined up to choose their favorite flavor, while my friends Jimmy, Kamela, and Kendi sang lead and background harmonies on many of my favorite songs.

“I’ll Fly Away,” “Leave it There,” and “Ten Thousand Reasons,” were some of my favorites.

When the crowd had dwindled, we took several out to tour the new prayer retreat cabin, “Hadley Cabin,” and watched the sun as it was going down in the sky.

I looked around and embraced the moments in my life of friendship.  The moments of laughter, the warm embraces of hugs and the light in people’s eyes as they relaxed and slowed down meant so much to me.

When the last friend, neighbor, or stranger left, we sat down at the old table near the sanctuary.  I had snapped off the lights and the sun rays beamed through the huge old windows, trickling light here and there, making us feel warm and loved.

So much life had happened in this old building.  So many hymns had been sung.  So many pies had been enjoyed.  But mostly, so many hearts have been touched by the Master’s hand.

Farmer Dean and I are happy to be a part of the continuing journey of Frank Lake Covenant.  To all of the old pastors and congregants, to those who have walked before us … thank you for your hard work and thank you for casting a dream that we could catch and continue to pursue.

All of it is happening … right here in the grove.