I pushed open the door at Manachaban Middle School, my kids in tow, and immediately noticed the signs on the walls. There were construction paper posters in various sizes and colours made by students, with arrows pointing to the silent auction, with details on why they were doing this, and even some that said encouraging words.
Warrior. Fighter. Doing this for Jasmine.
I was quickly greeted by a teacher who said, “Are you Jasmine’s aunt?” The yes was barely out of my mouth when she was wrapping me up in a hug.
We had arrived for the end of their silent auction, raising money for Jasmine and her family. I had just walked in the door and already something was welling up inside of me, but I suppressed it for the time being.
Another staff member, who I had met before, came over and hugged me, asking how we were doing. “We are doing well!” I said, overenthusiastically. At the entryway to the gymnasium, they were selling buttons for $2 that said Warriors for Jasmine, and I pulled out my wallet wanting to purchase some.
“Oh no, for family these are free,” I was told. The welling inside of me continued to build.
My kids and I pinned our buttons, slowly making our way around the gym lined with tables completely covered in auction items that people in the school and community of Cochrane had donated. There were well over 100 items, and as I saw the various amounts people were bidding, I was stunned. A basket of Lego was going for $500, and a stuffed teddy bear for $15. Big or small, every item was making an impact.
It felt like I was in a fog, and the welling up was growing and the stuffing down became increasingly more difficult.
People started pouring into the gym as the clock ticked down the final minutes, there to make one last bid or collect their items won. I talked with a mom and her daughter (a student) who had the highest bid on the gorgeous painting Jasmine’s Garden, and once again I couldn’t believe the generosity.
Talking with them, I could tangibly feel the emotion inside: the care and compassion bubbling at the surface about to spill out at any moment. These people cared SO MUCH and were willing to sacrifice financially to help.
I didn’t know what to do with myself at that moment. The auction came to an end and the welling up inside of me came pouring out in the form of hot tears.
I couldn’t determine what I was feeling. It was gratitude and happiness, but with more overwhelming depth mixed in and a little bit of sad. But it was confirmed when another staff member embraced me: It was love.
What else could compel people to do things like this – to donate, to give, to support, to come alongside, to encourage, to embrace?
This was the kind of love you can feel.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3
The silent auction brought in $9,289! They smashed their $5000 goal, and two staff members shaved their heads. Combined with a couple other fundraisers over the past two weeks, the school has raised an astounding $15,000 for Jasmine and her family. In the words of Christine, “It’s mind blowing, how generous people are!”
God uses ordinary people to show extraordinary love – the kind you can feel. God’s love for people is so extraordinary that He was willing to sacrifice everything to love us.
”This is how God showed His love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10
God gives us the gift of showing us His love through people who sacrifice and give their lives away for other people. It’s real-life people willing to show up in whatever way they can that makes a big impact.
It’s people like all of you, Jasmine’s Army, sacrificing in big and small ways that loves this family in tangible ways.