"Last weekend my vision for all of this came to life."
Now that I've came up for air, I wanted to quickly take a "Monday/Thursday blog day" and dedicate it to a special young lady the Lord sent my way about 6 months ago. You've heard about her before but I haven't shared the full story yet but it is one that truly only the Lord could write and really...it began last summer.
Last July I was asked to be a part of a youth conference in Pigeon Forge, TN, and while talking to teenagers about what we do I met a staff member of Fort Bluff Camp. We exchanged business cards and a few weeks later he followed up and asked if we would be interested in hosting a breakout session at a fall women's retreat. Abbey Bolton and I traveled there and made hats with many women who came and a lady who joined us loved sewing and crocheting. She asked to take some patterns with her and if she could get women in her church together to make hats and then locally donate them on our behalf. I said, "Of course!" So she did...and it just so happened that sweet Addison goes to her church.
A few weeks later, I went to the post office, unlocked our P.O. Box and to my surprise found a letter from an address I didn't recognize. I hurriedly walked back to my car, ripped open the envelope and opened up a piece of notebook paper carefully folded into an envelope. In that letter, Addison told me how she had came to make a hat, how the Lord put it on her heart to get involved with us and asked if she could "make 818 Ministries happen" in her area. The next day I wrote her a letter back and put it in the mail, almost in disbelief that the Lord was using someone her age to impact patients in such a huge way. I saw everything my vision for 818 Ministries encompasses in this sweet girl.
A couple months later she emailed me asking me some questions about how to get involved. About a week later we arranged a time to talk on the phone. And from that day forward for about 3 months, we talked on the phone once a week, slowly planning her first 818 Ministries event. She booked a local fellowship hall of a church for us to use, got over 100 yards of fabric donated for us to use, distributed flyers all over her area and came up with appetizer ideas that we could make for the event (because who hosts ANY kind of gathering in the South without food?). I was blown away at her dedication and hard word throughout the entire process.
Last weekend, Abbey and I traveled to meet Addison and help her carry out her first event. It went off without a hitch and she did such a fabulous job. She has plans to teach other women's ministries how to make hats, where she is delivering them and how she can continue to make a huge impact. We gave her business cards when we visited that say "818 Ministries Ambassador" and there is no more accurate picture of a title of how the Lord is using this sweet girl to make an impact.
My vision has always been that the Lord would lead us to others who are passionate about 818 Ministries' mission to help us carry the ministry way further than just upper-east Tennessee. I feel so blessed to see that come to life through a 12 year old who lives 4.5 hours away from me.
As you can see, the Lord is always working behind the scenes, even when we don't see it. I had no idea in winter when we didn't have major events planned and it seemed like we hit a plateau of growth that Addison was hard at work making hats that will likely go to St. Jude sometime this summer. Or that by going to that youth conference that the Lord was setting a trajectory of events that would occur over the next year that would eventually impact so many lives.
I am so proud of Addison and I hope her story encourages your heart. If you are interested in getting involved with 818 Ministries, please go to our website and write us so we can get in touch with you.
Until next time,
Founder, 818 Ministries & A Relentless Millennial