There has been a lot going on this week with my Pathfinder Club. We are busy raising money so we can go on a mission trip to Holbrook Indian School in Holbrook, AZ. The school is located on a Navajo reservation, and when we get there at the end of February, we have a week’s worth of projects lined up. We will repair 50 bicycles, make window screens, and present some craft sessions for the younger kids there. The crafts will be based on a handful of Adventurer Awards (for which they can receive some insignia, which we will bring with us).

The deadline for the Pathfinders to raise their portion of the money was November 1, but I still have a handful of kids who did not make their goal. So they will be cleaning the church carpets this Saturday evening after Sabbath ends, and I will be there with them to rent the equipment, show them how to use it, and supervise. And help.

I had a couple of donors step forward who wanted to give these kids the money they needed for the trip, but I want to get them out of the habit of receiving hand-outs. So I asked these donors if they would instead donate money to pay the kids to clean the church carpets. It hasn’t been done in about three years.

The way I see it, everybody wins on this one. The donations are tax deductible (and wouldn’t be if they were directed to fund any particular kid’s trip fee). The carpets get cleaned without costing the church anything. The kids learn the value of work, and the Navajo will benefit from their service.

The plan is to buy plane tickets this Sunday for everyone who has either paid up, or who has earned their portion by cleaning the carpets.

The money the kids raise is only a small portion of the total cost. We have been raising money for this project since 2009, and are still going at it.

One of our bigger money-makers has been selling citrus fruit. Sales have been down this year to the point that I was incredibly discouraged. But then at the last minute more orders came in, yay! We almost never have a big enough order to have it delivered directly to our church. For that, we’d need to order 100 cases or more. Luckily, we can have it delivered to a few other places nearby (well… within a two hour drive). But sometimes I get lucky.

Another group from Manchester is ordering this month, and I got a call from them asking if I would pick up their order in Freeport, ME. Ugh. Even though I was willing to do that, I don’t think I could have. Another friend of mine has recently been assigned as pastor of a church in Rutland, VT, and they were also wanting to place an order and have me pick that up.

So I added up the orders for these three organizations – my Pathfinders, the Manchester group, and the Rutland group. It came to 93 cases. I bumped my order up by 7, and it will be delivered directly to our church in two weeks. Yays again!

There’s no way I could haul 93 cases of fruit in Ken’s pickup truck. We’ve hauled 72 cases before, and it was full that time. Adding another 33% on top of that is just too much. The fruit company delivers it in a semi for a good reason.

The other thing I have going on is our annual project for Friendly Kitchen. On the first Saturday of November, the Pathfinders prepare about 80 sack lunches for them. Friendly Kitchen is Concord’s only soup kitchen, and we have been helping them out like this for several years now. They also receive any extra citrus that we buy but end up not being able to sell. That’s the main reason I don’t mind ordering an extra seven cases.

I figure that if the Lord wants us to raise money for our mission trip, He will send buyers. But if He would rather feed His homeless people in Concord, we can do that too. It’s up to Him!

When we make lunches for Friendly Kitchen, I sometimes go out and buy all the supplies we need (food, sandwich baggies, etc) the day before. But this year we made an appeal to the church membership. They have signed up to bring nearly all of it (I wait until last, so I can get whatever we lack).

This approach always makes me nervous, but I guess it shouldn’t. If I’m not the one buying everything, I can never be sure that everything we need will be there when we need it. It’s easy to sign up, buy the food, and leave it at home. It’s really hard to make PB&J sandwiches without bread.

In spite of my fears, I agreed to ask the church to help us out. But tonight I also called all the people who signed up. And I asked for enough supplies to make 100 lunches this year instead of the usual 80. I guess I was hedging our risk – if some people forget, we should still be able to make something. We will give all the leftover food to Friendly Kitchen after the lunches have been made. Their need is perpetual.

My faith still has more growing to do. If I can trust the Lord with the citrus, why not for the homeless lunches too? This is a case where I have “fearful faith” – I force myself to step out even if I’m nervous about it.

I wonder if Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were nervous when they refused to worship Nebuchanezzer’s image?