This was a story related from Eric, one of my team mates on my recent trip to Haiti. It is 100% true, a personal story related directly from him that he used as a challenge to all of us – TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
Eric had been married a few years in 2005 when Katrina roared through New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. He and some friends decided they had to go down there to help with relief efforts. So, they formed a chainsaw crew and jumped in a truck and took off. They had really no idea where to go, except they thought they should hook up with a church down there to coordinate their efforts and to have a “base” for operational purposes. So, they got together with a church down there and started their work.
This is only part of the story however. Eric had a 4 year old daughter when he left to go on this trip. Being diligent parents and teachers for their daughter, Eric and his wife had started teaching her early about the value of money. They had her do “chores” (appropriate for a 4 year old) and gave her a penny for each chore completed. Thus, Eric’s daughter had 15 pennies saved up the day he left to go down to the Katrina devastated Gulf Coast. She told him: “Daddy, I want you to take this money to help bring the people back.” With tears in his eyes, he took those pennies and left and decided that he would do just that.
So, Eric and his friends proceeded to help the folks along the Gulf Coast by removing downed trees, many were inside the homes of those people having crashed through roofs and windows and such. They removed the trees, put up tarps to keep the rain out, and then they would move on to another home. But at the completion of each “rescue” Eric would then take one of those pennies his daughter had given him, and he would relate the desire of his daughter to help, and how she had passed along all her savings to “bring them back.” It brought many to tears Eric said, and to this day, every single one of those people he – and his daughter helped – still send Christmas presents to his daughter.
It’s just a very stark reminder that we all can help, we all can make a difference, no matter how small, no matter how limited our resources. When God is at work, He takes whatever we have and uses it for His purposes. Eric used this as a challenge for all of us while in Haiti to try and make a difference. We were on a “work” trip, doing construction and destruction following the devastating quake of Jan. 12, 2010, but we all took it to heart to try and connect with the people of Haiti. Each connection, each life touched, makes a difference when we’re doing it for Jesus Christ.