When we made the plans to get rid of our things, I did not know the work that was going to be entailed; it included a lot of time and organization. Believe me when I say you don’t know how much stuff you have until you are trying to get down to the bare minimum lol!
Throughout the process, I joked to Dennis that I now understood how the rich young ruler might have felt when Jesus told him to sell all his things and follow him. Mark 10 says that the rich young ruler was “sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” I say, “Perhaps he was sad because he knew how much work it would be to get rid of all his stuff!” :)
In the beginning, Dennis suggested giving everything away while only accepting donations, but another close friend and I both shot down his idea real quick. In the end, Dennis yielded to our suggestion of having a sale with price tags. So, we planned to sell as much as we could and give away the rest on Freecycle.org and make donations to local thrift stores (along with throwing away numerous items).
We made plans to have a moving sale on October 13th and immediately posted about the sale on the Lancaster County Tag Sale site. Next, Dennis e-mailed a flyer to a local pastor (initials = N.B.) and asked if he would share it with his congregation. Well, that one man must have e-mailed our flyer out to every Mennonite in E-Town and Mount Joy lol! We had soooo many phone calls and people come by our home from that one man spreading the word --- thank you LORD for directing Dennis to N.B.
Within a matter of hours of Dennis e-mailing our flyer to N.B. along with a Freecycler, we had about a dozen “shoppers” in our home. Now this is what was really crazy: From that night on, we had people come to our home, give us money (one person paid us $400 cash), tell us to call them when we were done with our furniture/appliances and then leave empty-handed!!! When all was said and done, we were able to live in a fully furnished house up until a week before we left PA! How awesome is God?!?
The Thursday before the sale, our rental company called as a courtesy to let us know that they were bringing people by to check out the house on the 13th. Dennis said that would be fine, but it might be a little crazy since we would be having a yard sale. Our rental company guy then said that we couldn’t have a yard sale because it was forbidden by our lease. For the record: we are law-abiding kind of people and what the lease said was “No business activity.” We had no idea this included a yard sale – go figure.
BUT, this brought up a wonderful turn of events. At first, we were trying to brainstorm about how we could still have a yard sale, but not necessarily on rented property. I was distraught trying to figure out how to make this work. But eventually, Dennis suggested that we revert back to the original idea of donation-only. I was still distraught, but quickly started making a donation can since we had a woman on her way over to "shop". Dennis started praying over me that the LORD would increase my faith but I was too disgruntled to even stop what I was doing during his prayer lol!
The woman arrived and asked if she was at the right house for the sale. Dennis told her "Yes and No". We explained the situation to her and in the end, she donated $60 for what I honestly would have only asked $10 for --- we had an answer to Dennis’ prayer; praise the LORD again! Before she arrived, we had a Freecycler stop by to pick up a free coupon book. After telling him our story, he put $10 in our donation can!!! God is good!
So, we told everyone that everything was free – just give as they were led; there were people who gave us more than we would have asked, people who gave less than we would have asked and people who gave exactly what we would have asked. We even had people who didn't take a thing but gave us a $20 donation. God gets the glory in all of it!
Something else worth mentioning was the change in atmosphere once we went from a sale to donation-only. For one thing, Dennis and I were having disagreements about what to charge for certain items although we laugh about that now. Overall, donation-only made for a better environment for us and the "shoppers" or donors; although one man said his wife was "going bananas" because we didn't have any prices on the items. :)
Of course, we met all kinds of people during this process. At one time, we counted over 100 different people who came through our home within a couple weeks! I think the most memorable people for me were this sweet older couple who originally came by for the donation-only giveaway. The wife called me a week later just to see how we were doing. I told her that we still had a lot of children’s items left and wondered if she knew anyone who could use them. She and her husband came back by our home because they were going on a trip to Costa Rica to visit their niece who helps at an orphanage there. They said they wanted a suitcase of clothing to take for the children at the orphanage. I told them not to give us a penny for the clothes since I was just so happy to know the clothing would go to children who were truly in need! They still gave us $5 and the next day, the wife called and said they felt they should give us something else so she brought us dinner. It really touched my heart to basically have a stranger bring us a meal!
Another neat person we met was a kind local doctor whose church was sponsoring refugees from Burma (Myanmar). We had a few of the Burmese refugees come through our home and take many items they needed – including Dennis’ mountain bike which could help them get around town. Again, we were just happy to give to those in need but the doctor gave us a generous donation for all of the items.
One of the most amazing things to me was that during this whole process, Dennis received 2 job offers from Christian men [without having to chase after the jobs]. The first opportunity came from our oil guy who, the year before, kept asking Dennis to come work for him. Well, the day after we gave our notice to move, our oil guy accidentally called our home. Dennis called him back because he was curious if he still needed help. Sure enough, he did.
The next job offer came through a woman who came by our home to see what we had. She was also a believer so we spent a lot of time talking and sharing about our journey to that point. She called her husband [W.E.] to ask him how much she should donate to us and when she got off the phone, she said to Dennis, “If you want a job, my husband said you’re hired” (W.E. has his own carpentry business). W.E. and Dennis talked on the phone a few times and we even visited their church. We also had their entire precious family over for dinner, but in the end, Dennis passed along this job opportunity to a friend.
So, even with the tempting offers which could have allowed us to keep living in the wonderful farmhouse on that gorgeous land, we decided to continue as planned and embark on our journey. Below are some pictures of what we left behind:
I like to believe Jesus when He said, "...there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life." (Mark 10:29&30). He was sure not to leave out the promise of persecution along with the other stuff lol! :)
In the end, with the money from the sale of our car, items and other donations, we had just enough money to last us until we received our security deposit check in the mail at the end of December (i.e. with only $2 to spare)! Praise God!!!
Jesus told us not to worry about tomorrow - what we will eat and what we will wear - because our Father knows that we need these things (Matthew 6:25-34). I thank the LORD for the opportunity to see that He is faithful – even down to the penny (or dollar)!
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33