Maddie's 6th Birthday Party

I'm not even sure where to begin, except to say that Tuesday, Maddie's 6th birthday, was a moving, moving experience.

Back in May, Maddie decided that she would like to have her 6th birthday party at "Feed My Starving Children", with as many friends and family as would come. So Tuesday, 39 of us arrived at their Aurora location, ready to pack nutritional food packs for the children dying of hunger every day. For a bit of background, you can read my May 19 and 22nd posts, as this will give you insight into the impact this organization has had on both of us.

After talking about this for two months, I could hardly wait for Jack to experience it, along with friends and family. When something impacts you to the core of who you are, and moves you so deeply, as this did me, you want those that you love to experience it and catch that vision, too. Since May, Maddie and I have been dreaming and scheming up ways to make money to give to FMSC - that's how much we want to help. We can't not do something about this world-wide epidemic. We wanted to jump in and begin making money immediately, to help the 18,000 children that die every day because of starvation. 18,000. That still blows me away. May I never grow numb to that catastrophic number of little lives that daily die.

My prayer leading up to Tuesday, was simply a) that each person that came, no matter what their age, would be impacted SO greatly that when they left they would be moved to come back and help again, b) that they would realize the impact that just a couple of hours of service can mean on the life of a dying child, c) that they would be so touched that they couldn't help but figure out ways to continue helping, not only by coming back to volunteer, but to give financially, to an organization that IS making an incredible difference. I'm telling you this, if I lived in Aurora, I would be going every week to help. No lie. I so wanted this to be a moving, life-changing experience for those that came.

And the feedback we've received from those that came has been so exciting. People are telling everyone they run into about their experience. Words like "life-changing" and "moving" have been spoken by many. Kids were moved and couldn't wait to tell their daddies at home all about their experience in helping to feed the hungry children. Another little girl wants to have her birthday party there next year. It's the whole ripple thing that Mike Breaux talks about. One life touches another, which touches another, which touches another. I'm excited about the ripple that Maddie set into motion with her little 6-year-old-heart on Tuesday, July 22, 2008.

I have to take some time to brag on Maddie. Just today, 2 days later, she said in the car, "Mommy, my tummy is hurting so I think that means I'm hungry, but I feel bad saying that because I know I'm not hungry like the starving children are hungry." She gets it, doesn't she? And yesterday, we had a free day with no plans so I asked her at breakfast what she wanted to do and she said, "Go back and feed the hungry children."
And on Tuesday Maddie was such a delight. She didn't care that she wasn't getting presents. She didn't care that she wasn't the center of attention that she would have gotten at a different type of party. She just wanted to help the starving children. As I've mentioned before on my blog, as a mother, so often you're down on yourself every time your child acts up, questioning your parenting techniques, wondering what you've done wrong, but Tuesday was one of those rewarding days where you briefly think, "Wow, we are doing something right." And even more than that, "Our daughter loves Jesus and belongs to Him and cares about other people in a deep, heartfelt way. She is tender to the things that matter to Jesus."

She was moved, again, by the story of Moses, the little baby that was left in the outhouse toilet by his mommy, because she didn't have food to feed her son. Moses was then rescued by a passer-by, and through Feed My Starving Children food, was nursed to health and is a thriving, beautiful little boy today. I can't even begin to count the times since Tuesday that she has asked about Moses, wondering why his mother would leave him in the toilet. Talk about a tough one to explain and talk through. At one point yesterday, she said, "Mommy, come here quickly." She brought me into the bathroom and pointed at the toilet and said, "Why, Mommy?" "Did Moses have to go down through that hole in the water?" And then this morning, she came out of Jackson's room with a pair of his shoes and said, "Do you think these would fit Moses? Can we send them to Moses? Jackson has other shoes and doesn't need these ones but I think Moses could use them." She then found a great big plastic bag and began bagging up all sorts of toys and clothes to send to the starving children, saying, "We have so many that we can share. We don't need all these." Pretty humbling.

At the end of our service time, the team leader called Maddie up to have us all sing Happy Birthday to her (there were 91 people total). Later she said, "Mommy, that was hard to do. I was nervous with all those people singing to me." How cute.

When we sent out our invitations for this party, we asked those that came to not bring gifts for Maddie, but if they wanted, they could bring money to add to our money jar and then we would give a collective donation in honor of Maddie on her 6th birthday. We are excited that the total money in the jar was $123.68, which provided 727 meals for starving children. That will feed 2 children for an entire year (one meal per day). Wow. Very exciting!

At the end of our time, we were told that our big group of 91 (our party plus a couple other groups) had packed 107 boxes, which translates to 23,112 meals in that two hour slot, which will feed 64 children for a year (one meal per day). WOW. 64 children alive because a few people got together and said, "We will do something about this. It is not right that little children are dying because they have no food, when people in America are dying of obesity."

I'll leave you with a verse that has pierced my heart over the past 2 months. Isaiah 58:10 says, "And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness."

Our desire was that we would provide HOPE and LIFE to dying children and my heart says that God used us to do just that. I'm so proud of our sweet Maddie. Never underestimate the impact that a child can have, as we have just watched her tender heart set ripples in motion to show the love of Jesus to a dying world.

Below are lots of pictures of our special day!



Kacie said…
Alysa, I read about this on your friend's blog yesterday (I love her writing), and I just loved it! and I love your photos - Maddie's rosy cheeks are so cute - she is a beautiful little girl who looks like her mom! And Jackson's crooked cap is so cute. And Jack is, as usual, funny.

What a beautiful, loving family you guys are, both inwardly ANd outwardly!
Alice said…
Love the pictures! Thanks so much again for organizing this. We'd love to get in on the Christmas outing too.

And that picture is proof indeed that Lucy and I DID wear our hairnets!

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