Anna, Betsie, and I are not the only MacLellans who get to visit the amazing nation of Swaziland this summer. My fourteen year old Patrick is also heading there. He will be part of a high school Adventures in Missions team that will be serving predominately at carepoints where orphans and other at-risk children come daily for food, Bible teaching, preschool education, and lots of love. I am excited for Patrick to have this chance not only for the great growth I expect to result in his life and the beautiful ministry he'll be doing, but also because it will give him a chance to further learn about the country that will be his home for the next few years.
The trip to Swaziland costs a little over $4,000. He has raised all but about $500. He leaves in about three weeks. To help bring in this remaining amount, I am going to be selling and auctioning off several items over the next week. The first one is actually an item we auctioned off a few months ago. The sweet lady that bought it has donated it back to Patrick's mission trip cause so we can auction it again and basically double the money. Thanks, Karen!
So without further adieu, here is what I wrote about the painting and the person who painted it:
This past week, the We Will Go family celebrated the birthday of a favorite brother. I know, I know...you shouldn't have favorites in families. But I gotta be honest, Chris Howard is a favorite.
A year and a half ago, Chris became our brother. He didn't get that way through adoption or physical birthday. Chris became our brother because he was completely born again through Jesus. Once a hate-filled criminal with an infamous past, Chris was overwhelmed by the unconditional, dogged love of the We Will Go missionaries, especially ministry founder Amy Lancaster.
My daughter Betsie recently wrote an essay about Chris and the inspiration he is to her and so many others. Whenever we get discouraged here at the ministry and think "what's the point, so-n-so will never change", we look at Chris and a handful of others who have turned to Jesus. Chris not only became a new man because of Jesus, but he is now doing what he can to help others become new in Jesus. God is teaching him to serve others and the Holy Spirit is using him to love in the same way that he has been loved. Chris is determined to do everything he can to bring the light and love of Jesus to the neighborhood where he first introduced crack decades ago.
Last week, Chris came over to hang out with us while we were painting pictures to raise money for Patrick's mission trip to Swaziland. He created this powerful painting that is a beautiful reminder of the amazing and transforming work of true love. The frame was later painted by Bronwyn Baker, a missionary from South Africa.
Today, I am offering this painting to be bid on. The auction will last til 9:00 this coming Sunday evening. That means you have a little less than a week to get your bid in. Due to the size of the painting, the amount of time put into it, and the awesomeness of Chris Howard, the bidding will start at $25. To bid, simply leave a comment with your name, the bid amount, and how I can contact you if you are the winner. You can also bid via facebook by messaging me or commenting on the link back to this blog.
If you don't live local and I need to ship it to you, I'll ask that you tack on a few bucks to cover the shipping cost.
Thanks so much and please feel free to share this with others who might be interested. This especially applies to you folks that know Chris. You know who you are.