Five years ago, a young girl came into our church, followed by her brothers. All of them were shivering, because like the last few days, central Virginia was experiencing a cold snap. [We all know it’s warmer now, but we know the temperature will drop again, and fast!] Her family couldn’t afford coats so the boys were in short and longsleeves, while the little girl, Savannah, had a spring weight hoodie. I lay awake that night asking myself and God, “What if all the kids had coats?”
Since 2014, the ministries of my previous church, Blandford UMC, and my current one, Wesley United Methodist Church, have served as the hubs of generosity for people from Georgia to Rhode Island, and all over Virginia. We have put brand new coats on approximately one hundred children each year.
And then this summer, I found myself challenged by Matt Maher at a concert in Richmond. He played on the idea of the Big Hairy Audacious Goal which Mike Slaughter had called a Big Hairy Audacious God Dream, and said if your church could do what it was doing without help, then it wasn’t a big enough dream.
Thanks to the generosity of friends, church members, and strangers, reaching one hundred kids has become … easy. So over the next two weeks, our church extended the offer of brand new coats to two more elementary schools. We have no idea how many more kids that will mean. One hundred more? Two hundred more?
But if you’re reading this, I pray you’ll share it. And if you read and feel called to get involved, I hope you’ll reach out. There are some necessities in life – food, water, shelter – and the truth that no child (or adult) should be without a coat.
So I’ll keep praying, and writing, and asking the question until the Kingdom of God comes upon the earth – “What if all the kids had coats?”