The Giving Tree

Here’s a true story of a family. Not so much their plight, as how God used one radical giver (Doug) to minister to them.

The family consisted of a single mother and two young boys in the midst of a painful divorce. As you can imagine, finances for the family were tight, routines were anything but routine, emotions were often raw, and hurt ran deep.

Doug was an unassuming man in his late sixties. He dressed humbly and was reserved. He wouldn’t stand out in a crowd, but once you looked into his deep blue eyes, you knew there was something special about him. Maybe it was because they were a window to his infinitely kind heart.

Doug befriended the family through a chance encounter, which only cemented the thought that God brought them together. Over time, Doug became an adopted family member, joining in family festivities like birthday celebrations and Thanksgiving dinners.

Periodically, Doug would call with a message that he saw a gift left on the Giving Tree that the family would want to investigate. Often it was an envelope containing just the right amount of money to pay the bills that hadn’t made that’s month’s top priority list, or a birthday gift that wasn’t going to be possible. Somehow, the Giving Tree always contained exactly what was needed at just the right moment.

Doug exemplified radical giving. He gave of his money, he gave of his time, but most importantly he gave of his heart.

Some have suggested that Doug is an angel. And where that might be true, the story of Doug is one that inspires me to serve others with passion and compassion.


For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.

Matthew 16:27

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Salon

Trim Your Hair, Dig A Well: Local Charity and Salon Raise Money For Clean Drinking Water In Africa

 

Orange County, California, September 9, 2008

 

Been thinking to convert from a Rachel cut to a Rhianna, or just in need of an inch off the ends? Whether you trim it or get a whole new look at the David Salon in Costa Mesa on September 21, there will be plenty of people who will dig the change. The salon, in partnership with Yorba Linda-based charity With This Ring, is hosting a cut-a-thon to raise money for clean drinking water wells in Yendi, Ghana.

 

The event is one in a series of “Orange County Gives Back” fall fundraisers being put on by With This Ring and local businesses to raise money for wells in Yendi, Ghana, an area roughly the size of Orange County. Up to $32,000 of funds raised from the cut-a-thon and other Orange County Gives Back events will be matched by The Well, a group of house churches that meet throughout the Orange County area.

 

Founded in 2007, With This Ring began when Ali Eastburn, a hairstylist herself, donated her own wedding ring to raise money for a well in Ghana. A year later, over 50 women have donated their wedding rings in response to Eastburn’s request. For her, the cut-a-thon is a natural extension. “Rings, jewelry, hairstyles—these are what society often uses to define women,” says Eastburn. “So why not take these very symbols of status and turn them into symbols of service?”

The David Salon cut-a-thon will occur September 21, 2008 between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Located at 355 Bristol Street in Costa Mesa, the salon is donating every dollar of every haircut to With This Ring. Reservations (714-549-1160), walk-ins, men, women, and children, all are welcome to participate.

 

“This organization started as a radical vision,” said Eastburn. “Now all of Orange County has the opportunity to join in the adventure.”

 

If you are a business interested in participating in Orange County Gives Back, contact Ali Eastburn at ali@withthisring.org. If you would like to donate your wedding ring for the cause, visit www.withthisring.org for more information.

Wedding Ring Donation Charity Calls On Orange County To Give Back

Orange County, California, September 4, 2008

 

High-profile divorces are not uncommon in Orange County, but if a local charity has its way this fall, wedding rings will be flying off Orange County fingers for an entirely different reason.

 

Orange County Gives Back is a September through October fundraising event coordinated by Yorba Linda-based With This Ring to raise money to drill 20 deep water wells in Yendi, Ghana before the end of 2008. While several businesses have already signed on to donate profits from hair cut-a-thons and product sales, With This Ring founder Ali Eastburn is hoping that the majority of the money will be raised through donations of rings from Orange County residents.

 

The tradition of wedding ring donation to fund clean drinking water wells in Africa began with Eastburn herself, who founded With This Ring in 2007 by selling her own wedding ring. “I realized one day that I had the power to save lives in third world countries through nothing more than the wealth on one finger,” she said. The money from the ring was used to dig the first clean-water well in Yendi, Ghana, a village Eastburn had previously visited with members of her church, The Well, which meets in homes throughout Orange County. The church has pledged to match up to $32,000 of the funds raised through the Orange County Gives Back project.

 

Since With This Ring’s establishment in 2007, more than 30 women have donated their wedding rings to the organization, resulting in the completion of 3 deep water wells and several more planned. With This Ring’s goal is to dig 20 more deep wells in Yendi this fall at a cost of $160,000. This is what Eastburn is hoping to raise through Orange County Gives Back.

 

“Yendi is about the same size geographically as Orange County,” said Eastburn. “Orange County Gives Back is our chance to give from all we have, to share with our brothers and sisters in Yendi. It’s a reminder that we have more wealth on one finger than most of the world’s residents see in their entire lives.”

 

Individuals interested in donating their rings, as well as businesses interested in participating in Orange County Gives Back, can contact Ali Eastburn at ali@withthisring.org. For more information about With This Ring, visit www.withthisring.org.

The Radical Gift of Service

A dear family (Jerry, Jill and Susie) from our house church moved to Colorado in April. It wasn’t long before Jill learned that her cancer had returned. She needed some help preparing their recently purchased home to become inhabitable, and packing up their temporary residence.

Just days before my scheduled trip, Jill was hospitalized. Jerry still needed to work each day, and sat by her side all night.

The preparation of the house still needed to be done, and as God would arrange it, I knew someone in the same town where my friends moved.

One phone call was all it took for the word to get out.

Less than an hour after I arrived at the new house, I was surrounded by an army of men and women ready to clean and make the repairs that would turn the house into a home. Within one day, that house was move-in ready.

I wept that day, moved by the loving, selfless people who showed such amazing support. These people were strangers the day before, but here they were working as hard as if they were moving in themselves.

I have started to understand radical giving as generous people have been moved by the mission of With This Ring to donate their rings to drill deep water wells in Ghana. This new radical giving of service by strangers is something altogether different, but strangely there are components which are the same.

I came home from Colorado with a better understanding of people who emulate the hands and feet of Christ. People who really care about serving selflessly. I will forever be changed because these radical givers were the living embodiment of Jesus.

So, if you ever wonder if one person can really make a difference by giving all they have, Jerry, Jill and Susie will cheer a resounding “YES!”.