I’ve been a member of S.A.V.E. from the beginning. I was there at the first meeting with my mom and the five other teenagers who chose to come and see what Sustaining A Village Everyday was all about. And since that day, S.A.V.E. has changed my life for the better.
I’ve been through the messiness and the frustration of fundraising, but I’ve also experienced the incredible joy of raising money and watching it change lives. I’ve flown over oceans and held sweet naked babies and I’ve felt first hand what it feels like to give without expecting anything in return.
And never once have I ever regretted the adventure known as Sustaining A Village Everyday.
Growing up in a Christian family, I knew that giving was what Christians were called to do. It was just a part of the package. I thought that the act of giving was what it was all about, simply putting money in the offering basket each week or volunteering at the library in order to rack up volunteer hours for college resumes. Of course I felt a tiny bit of happiness and pride while “giving” both my time and money, but that quickly went away as soon as the offering basket made it to the next row.
That was what I considered giving: an action. And for a time, that was good enough.
Until S.A.V.E. came along and ruined me. I say ruin as if it was a bad thing that the Lord gave me the opportunity to be a part of such an incredible organization, but it wasn’t a bad thing. S.A.V.E. ruined me in the best way.
S.A.V.E. taught me the real value of giving. It taught me that spending Sunday afternoons in the conference rooms at Parks Realty planning events and discussing funds was what it really meant to give my time. It showed me what it looks like to give money and to follow it into the Haitian villages and therefore into lives of the people who need it.
It taught me what it looks like to not simply give blindly, but to go beyond that in order to experience the result of our labors.
It revealed to me that I am made to give. Deep down, in the core parts that make me who I am, I am a being that is made to give. It is where I find my greatest joy, to see the faces of those who I have helped by giving of myself and to hold the hands of the children in Haiti whom now have water wells and goats and gardens.
And that is the greatest revelation that S.A.V.E. has shown me. And I am thankful.
This revelation has followed me to college. It has driven me to pursue career options where I can continue to give more of myself to those who need it, whether that be with my time, my education, or even with my money. It has inspired me to share with others about all S.A.V.E. has done, and how they can be a part of it to by helping to create a branch of S.A.V.E. at the University of Tennessee.
S.A.V.E. has also taught me that things are possible. The idea that six teenagers could raise over $25,000 in a single year sounds crazy. And it sounds even crazier for this to continue each year and to expand beyond the borders of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. But it happened and it is happening and it will continue to happen because it is possible. All because the Lord has made it possible.