After praying about it, I had an idea: what if I asked others to join me and we all built the orphan home together? None of my family or friends could afford the full amount but perhaps together we could all make a difference. So I contacted ICC and approached them with the idea. They were happy for me to go ahead and aim to raise the money. I asked for 12 months, as I felt I'd need that much time to reach the goal.
The BIT (Build It Together--with the Lord) orphan home was begun. I emailed friends and acquaintances, old Pathfinder mates, friends from different churches I've had the privilege of belonging to over the years, college friends, schools, past teachers I worked with and anyone else I could think of.
My ideal was to find 30 people to donate $1000. But we found so many wanting to work together that we soon realised we should accept any donation. Whether it was a pensioner donating $10 or young couples donating $1000, we were all building this home together!
By Christmas, I had several pledges--but only about $7000 in donations. I started praying that somehow we would make $10,000 by Easter--and God saw to it.
Then I discovered I was pregnant, and morning sickness and the needs of my two toddlers took most of my time. I did what I could and then prayed that, by June 30, 2006, we would make $20,000. By God's grace, we actually made $22,000. Throughout the month of June we watched the total grow from $12,766 early in the month to $17,444 by mid-June. Finally by the last day of June, we reached $22,406.05. I then prayed that by September we would make $30,000, as that would be 12 months from when we had begun asking for donations. Again this prayer was answered. This achievement was God's miracle--it was not my own doing.
My faith was so small I didn't tell anyone other than my husband about the goals I had set. He later told me he had his doubts and was amazed at how God answered our prayers. Somehow, despite moving house three times, being pregnant and looking after our two babies, we made the total. I know it was God's doing.
I'd like to thank my friends and family, who through the grace of God working on their hearts and wallets made the BIT project work. Bit by bit and prayer by prayer, God has gotten us there. I almost have to pinch myself to believe it!
A special thanks goes to the small church in which I grew up. Generous donations from both past and present church members amounted to almost half of the total.
In early 2007, with a prayer of thanks in our hearts, excavations began for building an orphan home in the Philippines. Currently we are working on finding the funds to fit-out the orphan home under construction.
Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us. James 1:27.
Sue Edwards is a wife and mother, who lives in Townsville, Queensland.
This story is used with permission from Signs Publishing Company. More of these stories can be found in these collections: Ordinary People—Extraordinary God, Ordinary People—Faithful God, and Ordinary People—Generous God