One of the great things about Cornerstone is the consistent life application that goes along with the message each week. My wife, Leslie, and I have always tried to incorporate our kids into whatever the message series is, so that we can learn together as a family. I remember the series, ‘Our Father’, encouraged us to teach our oldest daughter Reagan (4 years-old) the Lord’s Prayer. The series, ‘The Art of Neighboring’, prompted conversations with our children about how to love our neighbors well.
So when Cornerstone announced the drive to raise money for a medical clinic in Uganda, we shared this mission with our children. They know of Uganda through the child sponsorship program where we sponsor a little girl named Brenda. They also remember helping Reagan’s Pebble Path teacher, Mrs. Brandy, gather yard sale items to support her trip to Uganda this past summer. With that connection to Uganda in mind, we brainstormed many ideas and ways that we could help raise money. My creative wife landed on the idea of making salt dough magnets and selling them to family and friends. You see, we think it’s important for our children to be involved in something bigger than ourselves. As the author Bob Goff once wrote:
Something happens when you feel ownership. You no longer act like a spectator or a consumer, because you’re an owner. Faith is at its best when it’s that way too. It’s best lived when it’s owned.
So in the midst of the busy travel-filled week of Thanksgiving, we stopped everything, made a mess in our kitchen, and made salt dough magnets. Reagan and her little brother Cooper (3 years-old) cut out the shapes using cooking cutters. The baby in our family—Evie (18 months)—made her presence known as well by trying to ‘help’. By the end of the night, we made around 200 salt dough magnets. The kids anxiously awaited as the salt dough cooked, and Reagan—who is normally our deep sleeper—woke up early the next morning, jumped out of bed, and ran to see if the magnets were ready to be painted. While I was at work, Leslie masterfully guided three kids ages 4, 3, and 1 as they hand-painted 200 magnets on our garage floor. Once they were dry, we glued on the magnets, and they were ready to be sold. Every single one was completed, not as a task or chore, but as an act of love. It truly was an over-flow of their sweet, innocent hearts.
Throughout the process, we talked to our kids about the importance of why we were doing this. We made sure they knew and could explain to people why they were selling the magnets. After trips to visit family in Birmingham and Nashville, the kids have raised over $300 and still have more magnets to sell. But beyond the money raised, it’s powerful to see how God has used this opportunity to awaken Reagan to the needs of others. Even at the young age of 4, she has a sensitive spirit that the Lord has continued to develop within her. Reagan has said things such as “I want to make lots and lots of magnets so that we can get lots and lots of doctors.” She has also been very concerned wanting to know if they have houses and beds and toys in Uganda. As we were wrapping Christmas presents the other day, she even went around the house to gather toys in order to wrap them so that we could send them to Brenda in case she doesn’t have any. What an awesome lesson on love taught by a 4 year-old!
We are thankful that we have a church like Cornerstone that offers us the opportunity to serve others. And what a great shift of focus for Leslie and me, as we have been able to see firsthand what true joy is found in serving others through the eyes of our children. Reagan is excited for the day that she is old enough to fly to Uganda to meet Brenda and see the medical clinic that she, with such childlike faith, knows will be built there. Knowing the people in our church and the God we serve, I don’t doubt it will happen.
Executive Team Chairman