“How do you guys fundraise?” she asks me over Skype. She’s heard of what we’re doing and she wants to join. This is our first meeting.
I smile. I love answering this question.
“We don’t,” I tell her, and her mouth is the perfect O.
“But how? How do you have 12 acres in Uganda? How do you have a house and land in Sierra Leone?” she says.
I look her in the eyes, this young mother gazing intently at me through the computer screen, waiting for an answer.
“It’s God,” I say. “All God. We try really hard not to do any active fundraising, because we want Him to get all the glory. Our team members donate as much as we can on our own. We don’t take salaries. And we devote one day every week to fasting from any Lulu work and praying for provision. God does the rest.”
Honestly? It feels like it’s not enough most of the time. This abiding. This waiting for God’s timing, for Him to move in the right hearts, for Him to orchestrate the perfect symphony of details. But then abiding turns to great anticipation turns to rejoicing when overnight, it would seem, the very thing we’ve been requesting for months lands in our laps, and there’s no other way to explain it except to declare to the world that God IS real, that He DOES care, and He’s the same God yesterday, today and forever.
This happened recently. With a tractor.
I’m not a farm girl.
My father studied agriculture and taught farming to the blind in Congo and Nigeria when I was young. But then he became a pastor.
I married a man whose father is a farmer. But my husband is a teacher. So there’s that.
And in spite of my uncle being an international dealer for John Deere, I have no interest in, or knowledge of, tractors.
But then I found out our Lulu family in Sierra Leone needed a tractor, and that we couldn’t get one in country. The devastation of war and Ebola has crippled the nation’s self-esteem, and it depends largely on the provision of other countries as it rebuilds from the inside out. When I learned that a used one in Guinea (the closest country to SL) would cost triple the price of a used one in America, I did the only sensible thing I could think of. I cried out to God.
My heart beats wildly for the poor, but when it comes to running a non-profit, it’s safe to say I don’t know what I’m doing and my jeans are worn at the knees.
I’ve never prayed so much in my life. I don’t want to hurt the very people I’m trying to help. I don’t want to lead my team wrong — this team of over 30 volunteer mothers and fathers — as we spend our days and nights figuring out the best way to wash the feet of those who live half a world away.
But God never fails to show up.
We fall on our knees, and He bends His ear.
We ask for a tractor, and He gives us one.
We spent 40 days fasting and praying as a board, and then one night the Lord prompted me to write to a woman on Facebook I didn’t even know, asking her if she knew anyone who might have a tractor they could give us. Because you never know. ?
And this led to this woman (now a dear friend) feeling prompted to approach the California government to ask them to consider donating one, because the government just happened to be collecting used tractors to destroy them due to a new emissions act.
And this led the California government to offer a 1995 Kubota tractor which had 81 hp and only 5,000 hours on it.
Now, I didn’t know this woman, apart from the fact that she was a writer. I didn’t know she lived in California. I didn’t know the California government was collecting used tractors. And I didn’t know Kubotas from John Deeres (forgive me, those of you reading this who do!), but God did.
And as God would have it, our new treasurer, who’d joined just a few months prior, mentioned that she happened to work in a Kubota accounting firm years earlier and the farmers would come in raving about how Kubota was the best tractor in the world.
No doubt they were biased, but still, it was confirmation yet again that God not only heard our prayers—He provided the best. The book of James tells us that God is a good father who knows how to give good gifts to His children. We at The Lulu Tree are here to attest to this. He is a GOOD Father, who knows how to give GOOD gifts to His Children.
The story isn’t over. We’ve had partners donate funds to ship the tractor, without knowing what the cost would be, and they’ve donated the exact amount needed to get this tractor where it needs to go.
Because you see, this isn’t just a tractor. It’s manna.
This tractor will allow Pastor Sonnel and the men with him to till and seed hundreds of acres of land to feed over 14 villages, keeping them from ever having to go through another famine season again.
Now that’s a prayer worth praying. Will you join us?
Praises & Petitions
*Praises for a tractor! And for a way to get that tractor to Sierra Leone!
*Prayers for provision to purchase some extra parts here to ship alongside the tractor
*Praises for a new school lunch program in the village of Kamassaralie, Sierra Leone, which will allow the children to have a bowl of rice a day during the famine season (the ultimate goal is for the Lulu farm in SL to supply the rice for the program once the tractor is received and the production level subsequently raised)
*Prayers for more provision for the school lunch program to allow for us to feed more children, and to add beans to the menu
*Praises for provision allowing us to supply new clothes and shoes for the orphans being cared for by their relatives in Kamassaralie
*Praises for the way the mothers and fathers of the village are working together to make soap with their new soap machine, to build school benches for the 70% of school children who sit on the floor, to complete the storehouse for holding the grain, to complete the drying floor, and to dig a bore hole supplying clean water for their village
*Prayers for wisdom and discernment as we begin to welcome widows and orphans from the slums of Freetown into Bethel Home
*Prayers for us as a team to be unified and of one accord
Please, don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com. Bless you.