A post-banquet Jana

Recently when Jana volunteered, she had to leave earlier than planned. She said that since the banquet she and her husband decided to sell their house and live a simpler life.

Wow! This was less than a month after the banquet. When I met Jana the first time, she told me how she went from the grandiose dreams of a young idealistic bride, to the mundane life of a housewife who had way too much time and money. She got the first taste of freedom from that lifestyle the night of the banquet, and she and her husband decided they wanted more of it.

They want to start living a life of helping others and making a difference in the world. I don’t care how much money a person has, there is no reward better than the one they received by walking away from the bondage of materialism and into a life of service.

To see Jana now, you would think that she has always been a world changer, although as you read her testimony, you noticed that the change has been recent.

Like Jana, I could never go from the life I am living now, to the life I once lived.

I may look the same, and I may have the same address, although we too have tried to sell our house with no success. But I promise you, I will never be the same.

I make some dumb mistakes from time to time. I even get momentarily swept up in the glamour of “The Good Life.”

But like Jana, there is nothing I’d rather do than spend my life serving others and allowing God to change my heart and my life for the better.


Jana’s story part 2

By Jana Trabert


     Okay, so I’m your typical privileged Orange County housewife.  I have nice things and I really, REALLY like nice things.


     Sitting at the “With This Ring” banquet, barely listening to all the testimonies, I kept thinking about my wedding ring.  That night, for some reason, I had forgotten to put on any of my other jewelry.  I somehow knew I was going to give it up that night.  At the end of the banquet, I whispered to my husband, “I’m thinking about giving up my ring.  What do you think?”.  He replied, “that’s a great idea.” With that, it was done.


     I did drive home that night with a sinking feeling in my stomach, and I was not able to sleep all night thinking about what I had just done.  I woke up at 5am sobbing and grieving over my ring.  I felt silly.  It wasn’t just a ring…it was a very nice, beautiful ring.  A ring I had carefully designed and upgraded over the past 15 years.  This was a symbol of our marriage and a future heirloom piece to hand down to our girls.  The sentimental value was huge. But to be able to provide clean water to a village for generations to come is priceless.


     I’ve always said to myself that I didn’t want to be ordinary.  Yet here I am the most ordinary housewife in Orange County, and I have done the extraordinary.  It’s the most radical thing I’ve ever done, and I feel elated that when God spoke, I heard and obeyed.  Now, I am a little scared because God might ask me to do something else, something out of my comfort zone.  But I’m ready.  I’ve been ready for a long time.

The Bling Ring Thing

I have a new friend, Jana, who I met at the WTR banquet. When she first heard about the WTR appeal to give up wedding rings, her reaction was that she wouldn’t part with hers. Then she came to the banquet and was moved to give her wedding ring.

Jana arrived at the banquet, checkbook in hand, knowing how these fundraisers work. She could have simply written a check that night, and in her own words she said that it could have been for more than what her ring was worth…though that is hard to believe when you see her ring.

She has donated her ring to WTR and since then Jana has had a change of heart in her life (and so has her family). She called me shortly after she donated the ring, and asked what else she could do to help make a difference. She started out by volunteering her time in the WTR office. She comes and folds letters, stuffs envelopes, handwrites addresses, and her family volunteers to do even more work at home.

Have you ever had an experience like Jana’s where you were moved to do something that was so out of character that it could only be God?

I would love to hear about it!

Radical Giving: A less than appealing message

To some, the term “Radical Giving” may indicate an exciting new adventure. But for the vast majority of folks, we are nothing more than a bunch of do-gooders trying to convince the rest of the world to part with their favorite toys.

It seems that the moment I mention “Giving,” a bad taste appears on the taste buds of the average Joe. To those who understand the joys and blessings of giving, it’s kind of like eating an Altoid. It tastes good in the beginning, and then it really hurts. But the end result is a clean mouth, a refreshed palate, and sparing the guy next to you from smelling the onions on your breath.

I used to be the average Joe collecting for myself the finest the world had to offer me. I can tell you that my life is anything but average now. Living a life in the mode of “Radical Giving” has totally and systematically unraveled my entire world view. I can now look at that sale item that I CAN afford, and walk away because the cost is too great. Most nights we eat at home, because we have more food than we could eat in a month without ever going to the grocery store. I don’t let the water run, because I think of all our beautiful friends in Africa who are drinking from mud puddles. I try to waste as little as possible in every area of my life, and I don’t replace something I run out of until I’m scraping what’s left on the bottom.

So if this excites you, great. Grab your backpack and let’s go on this journey together. If this makes you mad and you think I’m crazy, step aside, we have work to do!

(I warned you this was a less than appealing message!)

Finally, we agree on something

It turns out that there are reports coming back from studies being done in science regarding the connection between giving and happiness. They basically reveal that when people give to someone or something, they are actually a happier person.


I find it interesting that after years of continuing debate about the validity of the Bible, researchers are now saying what Jesus has been saying all along. It was no coincidence that the young ruler went away sad. Research shows that if he had given his riches to the poor, he would have in fact been happier. And Jesus knew this long before any research was done.


We have an innate God given desire to help others, and when we deny ourselves that blessing, we are in fact unhappy. Go figure! It’s almost like Jesus knew this all along!!!


So I can say with great gusto that the principles Jesus tried to teach us in the Bible, and the world of science finally agree on something!!!


Read the study results here http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/03/20/america/Good-to-Give.php