Sunday, December 4, 2011

On a different note...

My sweet baby and eldest child turned 10 and 12:10pm today.  It's hard to believe she hit double-digits.  Sofia is compassionate and kind and just a lovely kid.  As we were getting ready for church this morning I asked her to watch her brother while I took a shower and her dad plowed the driveway.  I came out of the shower to this:

There are no words to describe how much I love these two.

If you've followed this blog for a bit you might remember Sofia's birthday last year.  We let her choose what she wants to do on her special day.  Last year she chose to bring a dear friend to Build-a-Bear at the Mall of America.  And if you remember, I didn't have a really good time granting that wish.  If you think about it, buying two stuffed animals, an outfit and lunch cost us less than having a party with a gajillion screaming girls, gift bags and an over-priced cake from the bakery.

That day was joyous and sad.  Underwear for a stuff animal when there are children in the world who have no clothing?  Ridiculous.

Sofia and her friend had a wonderful time.  I came home wanting to cry.

A few months ago I asked Sofia what she wanted to do for her big double-digit birthday.  Without even thinking she said: Feed My Starving Children.  I've got family members who probably don't believe that I didn't influence this decision in some way.  But I can tell you - she came up with this 100% on her own.

I was so excited that I instantly reserved 20 spaces for the 2:00 session the day before her birthday.  I remember it being early October when I sent out email 'heads-up' notices to everyone, asking them to save the date.

We had a great time yesterday.  We reserved 20 spots and 27 people showed up.  27 people gave two hours of their time to pack meals for children who otherwise might not eat.  27 people donned hairnets and lovingly packaged chicken powder (that has no chicken in it), veggies, soy, and rice.  Scoop, seal, box, pray.

At the end of the shift we were told by the staff that the group (around 90 total) made enough meals to feed 58 children for an entire year.

58 children.

A FULL YEAR of meals.

Can you comprehend that?

When our shift was completed we met in the main room again and the staff worker showed everyone a mud pie.  Have you ever heard of a mud pie before?  It's not coffee ice cream and hot fudge on a delicious Oreo crust.  It's just like the name implies - it's dirt and oil and salt.  Women take this concoction and make 6'' round pie and let them dry in the sun.  In Haiti they cost half a cent each.  Parents buy mud pies to feed their children.  It fills there belly.  There's no nourishment.  All it does is make the child's stomach feel like it's full.

The manna packs that the group packaged yesterday make 6 cups of food each.  Children will be given ONE CUP for their meal.  Their only meal for the day.  And that one cup will fill their bellies and more importantly give them nourishment.

Here's the kicker about the day - it cost us nothing.  We could have spent $200+ at something like Pump It Up and let the kids jump and laugh and wear themselves out.  Sure, they would have had a great time.  

One thing I hear on a regular basis is that just because I've changed, doesn't mean I need to deny my kids of anything.  They need presents and toys and fun stuff.  Sofia needs an American Girl Doll.  She needs a party with a gajillion screaming girls.  She needs...

Does she really?

On the van ride home I asked the 5 girls that were riding with us if they had fun.  Overwhelmingly I heard YES.  Then I asked them what they wanted to do for their next birthday party.  Overwhelmingly I heard Feed My Starving Children.

The kids laughed and worked hard and had a blast.  Every single one of them said they want to go back.  Every single one of them learned that not all kids get to eat.  Every single one of them can describe to you that some kids eat this thing called a mud cake.  A seed was planted in every single one of them.

We're so unbelievably privileged in this country.  We have safe water, an abundance of food, houses, beds, clothing, and obnoxious things like fancy britches for stuffed animals.






Maybe just one of the kids that came will host their next birthday at FMSC.  Maybe one of those kids who laughed and had fun packing meals will become a missionary one day.   

Even if they don't - in two hours they helped feed 58 kids for an entire year.  I'd call that birthday party success.


  1. It was a wonderful afternoon at FMSC. I am SO glad that Sofia decided to do this. It is a place that definitely "plants seeds". I will remember many of the looks that Sofia had during the process. The first ones were all of the smiles she gave as family and friends came in the door and greeted her. The one when we entered the work area was one of (and she even said it) "come on, we need to get going". She showed determination to get the job done. We need to feed the starving! I love you Sofia. I should have my birthday party there as well and you are on the invite list. Love, Aunt Deb

  2. Wow Karen. What an amazing daughter you have! What an awesome way to spend a day, so fulfilling and rewarding!!

    Thank you for reminding us all that "stuff" is just stuff and that there are people who do not have enough to eat, let alone "stuff". Stuff we truly don't need. Our soon to be daughter lives in a tent camp and does not even have running water, let alone a $100 doll. We totally take all we have for granted!

  3. After taking kids of all ages to FMSC, I have heard that comment again and again-"When are we going again?" "I want my birthday there!" "That was great--and look what we did!" Your family's heart was in mission long before Haiti--and that is why you have the caring and loving children that you have.

  4. this post sort of makes me teary. because its so beautiful. i won't be surprised for a second if one of those girls does return to FMSC or become a missionary. Sophie is very blessed to have you as her mommy. Her life will be very rich because of these "seeds."

  5. oops typo. sofia*. i got to see my little cousin who is the same age today and her name is "sophie." she announced to me that she is going to do a fundraiser for Haiti. "A dollar for a darling" she wants to call it. And her goal is $5000. she's already raised some. kids can do amazing things~

  6. Our daughter had a a memorable day and fun time there too.

    Sofia will definitely be a person who does something to change the world!

    Don't they grow up too fast?!? Where does the time go?!

    Love reading your posts.