The Business of Generosity

My son Carson has a friend at school.  His mom, Julie, and I have become friends over the last year and we get together with the kids to have play dates.  She and her husband came to one of our banquets this year and they were very excited about the ministry of With This Ring.

A couple of weeks ago Julie asked me if I would have some time to go to her husband’s business and do a presentation about WTR for his business partners.

She prepared me by telling me that the men I would present to are Christians: her father-in-law, his brother, and both of their sons.  Together they own and operate a successful business in Orange County and wanted to hear more about our ministry.

I went to that meeting prepared to share my passion for our mission at WTR, teaching radical giving and digging water wells in Africa. What I didn’t expect was that each of these men already had a deep understanding of generosity and are actively living that out – both individually and corporately through their business.

Julie’s father-in-law told me that he had a well dug in each of his children’s names in third-world countries.  He also showed me pictures of the people whose lives have changed in Africa as a result of their involvement.  His brother shared a deep love of giving.  Because of his experience in the business world, he was keenly aware of the obstacles any organization has to overcome and he genuinely wanted to know what he could do to help us fulfill our mission.

They all talked about the ministries they support as a company and came alive as they told stories of the people they’ve met as a result of their generosity.

I went to that business meeting thinking that I was going to help them see the blessings of generosity and how radical giving makes an impact on lives, both here in the U.S. and across the world.  What I didn’t expect was that they would teach me a thing or two about humility and stewardship in the business world and how Christians in positions of power can harness their blessings to move mountains for the Kingdom of God.

“What mountains are being moved,” you ask?

These businessmen have decided to sponsor a well through With This Ring, and they have also committed to give us monthly support for a year, covering a significant portion of our overhead costs!  This is going to enable us to do something we have never been able to do before.

We will now have the ability to use one hundred percent of every dollar generated from each donated wedding ring to dig clean water wells in Africa.

100%!

God never ceases to amaze me!  I mean NEVER!
Ringless in Christ,

Ali Eastburn

“Just Come!” – The story of Two Amazing Grandparents

I have run across a lot of generous people in my lifetime but recently I met a couple that really made me stop and ask myself if I can’t be more radical in my giving.

My husband Ken met a man named Rick at a local pastor’s breakfast and they immediately connected on many levels.

Rick and his wife Sherry invited us over for dinner the very next week.  Ken told me a little bit about what Rick and Sherry are passionate about and it turns out that I have a lot in common with them as well.

They are passionate about Africa and they have spent the last several years preparing for something most of us would never even dream of doing.

They are leaving their comfortable home in Huntington Beach and moving to Uganda for six months.  They are starting a well digging program there that will involve teaching local people to dig wells and addressing medical needs.

Rick and Sherry

While I am thrilled at the amazing similarity of our goals for helping the poor and needy, I have to say that hearing the “getting there” piece of their story is spectacularly God in every way.

In 2001, Sherry began reading books like “Rich Christians In an Age of Hunger.” Their son was an Intercultural Studies major at Biola University and he began giving her books he was studying as a part of his program.  In 2003, his girlfriend Bethany, now his wife, came to live with them for the summer before her senior year.  Their son was in Thailand with World Vision.

In order to graduate, Bethany had to complete 6 weeks in an intercultural setting.  She went to Uganda for those 6 weeks.  When she returned to Rick and Sherry’s house she downloaded her pictures from Uganda onto their computer.  Sherry walked past the computer and saw a picture of Bethany, who had no medical training, holding a stethoscope to the chest of a pygmy baby, and Sherry commented, “I could do that!”

They sent an email to the doctor Bethany worked with in Uganda, saying, “We’ve never been to Africa, and we have no medical training, but if you think we could be helpful, we’re willing to give it a try.” He wrote back two words, “Just come!”

And guess what?  They did!  They went to Uganda for the entire summer of 2005 and they have never looked back.

Sherry came back and decided she wanted to go back to school to become a nurse.  Being a mother and grandmother already, she wanted to do more for children in third world countries.

Rick walked away from a successful flooring business to finish his degree in animal science and he stayed in school until 2008 when he graduated with an MBA in International Development.

In order to continue their education and prepare for life as future missionaries, Rick and Sherry rented out their house and moved on campus.  They lived on campus for two years in a converted slaughterhouse on what is called, “The farm” at Cal Poly Pomona and then spent another six months in an apartment.  As grandparents!!!

The kitchen at "The Farm" at Cal Poly

 

Now that’s what I call radical generosity.

They are now preparing for a move to a remote area in Uganda where they will live with the bare necessities so they can bring hope, health, and the redeeming message of Jesus Christ to people on the other side of the world.

When I hear stories of people like Rick and Sherry, I am humbled and challenged to learn of how else I can reflect God’s love to the world through radical giving.

Will you join me in that? I’m convinced that God is always up to something and never ceases to pour out his love to us and I never want to cease reflecting that love to others.

It could be something as simple as stepping up to become a leader in your church or it could be as complicated as quitting your job to pursue that vision that God gave you a long time ago.

Whatever it is, I’d love to hear about it!  Send me an email at ali@withthisring.org and let me know what you’re thinking.

Ringless in Christ,

Ali Eastburn