This guest post is from Stacy Gruhn, a grassroots advocate for Help One Now, who launched her own fundraising campaign to build a house in Haiti as part of our 100 Homes initiative. If you’d like to run a do-it-yourself grassroots campaign like this one, please don’t hesitate to let us know!
A few years ago, my husband and I were reading Crazy Love (Francis Chan), and God started growing our faith and changing our hearts. We now understood that Jesus didn’t call us to live comfortable lives, but transformed lives. We were struck by how much God’s Word talked about caring for the poor, orphans, and widows and convicted about how little our lives reflected that. We began asking God how He wanted us to spend our lives, time, and money.
The first answer that came to us was that we were to begin the process of international adoption. Having three children already, we felt our family was “complete.” God clearly didn’t agree. So, in January 2011, we started the process to adopt from Ethiopia and are still in the process. We hope to add a child (or two) to our family within the next few years.
God used several books like Radical (David Platt), Interrupted (Jen Hatmaker), and Barefoot Church (Brandon Hatmaker) during this time in our lives. In early 2012, we listened to a sermon by Brandon Hatmaker that he had preached to his church. He shared that they had a goal to build 12 churches in Haiti in 2012. God used that sermon to plant a desire in my heart to build a house in Haiti. With every spare dollar going to adoption, I had no clue how to raise $6,000.
However, one day as I was running, trying to get ready for my first 5K, God gave me the idea of asking others to join me in running a 5K to build a house in Haiti.
So, I presented my idea to Help One Now, and they were so supportive. I started asking people to run and formed a Facebook group called “Run for a Reason.”
Isaiah 58:10 was our theme:
“If you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like othe noonday.”
Our goal was that runners would have people sponsor them to run in a local 5K. In April 2012, we ran the 5K with 20 runners. And, even though we hadn’t yet met our goal, it was one of my favorite days and a blessing to see people running for Haiti. A few weeks later, God allowed us to exceed our goal! And, last summer, a house was built in Petionville, Haiti.
After my husband returned from a mission trip to Haiti last year and shared even more about what God was doing there, I knew we had to run again. So, in January 2013, we started recruiting runners and sponsors for our second run. And, this April, we ran another 5K with 20 runners. Like last year, we had not met our goal by race day. However, just last week, God allowed us to meet our goal of $6,000!
Sometimes, when we see the brokenness in the world, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and do nothing. (Click to tweet this!)
But, I’ve learned that if we ask God, He’ll show us how we can help.
I’m humbled that God used a stay-at-home mom, who had never run a race, and showed me how I could make a difference in the world. I love that He used hundreds of people to build these houses, when He could have accomplished it without any of us. But, what I love most of all is when the races are over, and the runners come to me and say, “Can we do this again next year?”