Last year at this time we were a nonprofit organization and didn’t even know it. We had so much work ahead of us and didn’t even know it. We were poised on the edge of a wild and crazy year of blessings and didn’t even know it. When we applied for the 501(c)3 recognition from the IRS we settled in and prepared ourselves to be patient for the approval to take up to three years. We had struggled through several very difficult years and had come to expect the worst of every situation. I had tremendous faith in God - grounded in the fact He was always there when I felt the most alone and had taken care of my needs in such amazing ways throughout the years - but had lost sight of how wonderful and unexpected His blessings could be. And what a year of reminders it has been.
Please indulge me as I recount the supernatural blessings we have experienced: First, the 501(c)3 came through a MONTH after we submitted the application. This is the IRS we are talking about, so YES that counts as a miracle and Act of God! Second, Sarah and I were able to get into the Chaplain training we felt called to complete - the first time we tried, the training was canceled and they didn’t know when another would be offered. It was probably the coldest, snowiest week in February and we were blessed to have a place to stay close by for the week. Third, many friends stepped out in faith and began to donate money and ideas and prayers to The Torch. All of them are a blessing, but some have given despite their own needs, and I am humbled by their demonstration of faith in God. I know He will bless them richly.
Fourth, we got connected with Craig and Roger - two Christian brothers who are food truck pros. God revealed Himself the night we met with Craig and Roger in Rochester Hills at a crowded diner. Roger, who has been building food trucks for thirty years, listened to us as we shared our hearts for what we felt led to do. He told us he believed he was supposed to help us get a truck because the week before, when he was praying, God told him he was going to build a food truck and give the food away for free. I still get chills when I think about that moment.
Then we were blessed when so many friends got involved with a campaign United Bank and Trust was running - we received enough votes to win a check for $1500. We watched The Torch’s bank account grow and every time another donation came in we were filled with wonder and gratitude. Within a few months God moved in the heart of a man - and suddenly we had a donation large enough to move us forward even more quickly than we anticipated. THAT was unexpected and surreal. It is so encouraging to know people who allow God to use them to make a difference in the world.
And the blessings go on and on...paint job - check, graphics - check, food and toiletries donations - check, indoor storage - CHECK, so much, so many, so unreal! The beauty of it all is Sarah and Kelly and I and everyone else who is out there donating, praying and supporting get to be part of something that is bigger than us. I don’t for one minute think The Torch is something I have done or Sarah has done or Kelly has done. I believe it is something God is doing. He is uniting an eclectic group of Christians, Christ followers, Believers, whatever you want to call them, who want to show His love in a new way, who believe every single soul matters and who understand how it feels to hang on to slivers of hope when the world seems to be crumbling all around.
Merry, merry Christmas to all of you. And thanks for letting God use what you have to offer. I am confident you will be blessed.
Deuteronomy 28: 1-6
"If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God: You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out."