Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hope for Haiti

Dearest my Pals.
It is with great rejoicing that I report, the Hope for Haiti Auction made $11,000.00 DOLLARS! I still cannot believe it, but God keeps telling me I must ask BOLDLY...and so I did, and like our God, He DELIVERS! If you remember, Leon,our Haitian missionary, sat in my living room(Sept) and said it was food and sponsorships his country needed, he told us it was $5000.00 to get a container shipment of food to Haiti. The food was "Free" but shipment cost $5000. So I thought "I think we could raise that kind of money", we had enough time. Of course there were many times it was a figure that was daunting, especially as person after person told me "these are tough economic times", or "we aren't giving anymore this calendar year"...but like any good soldier, I pressed on. About 2-3 months into the trenches, Craig D. reports to me, "You know it's really $9000.00 to send a container of food, "you have to pay $4000.00 to customs"...short of wanting to slug the messenger, I kept that news to myself until late in the game. I was quickly discouraged, but had made a promise to both God and Leon, that we would at least try in Faith to do what we said we'd do. After all, Leon came here for a purpose, not just hospitality. Haiti does not get good press, we are His good news. So onward we went. Slow and steady, walking the streets of Carytown, Ashland, Hanover & Shortpump and Glen Allen. This is where I remind you, my sister Kelly, walked hand in hand with me, clear "I'm NOT asking"...but by my side..every step of the way. She I must add, printed everything you saw in black ink, everything, anything wrapped in shrink wrap, anything that had a pink heart on it...anything that needed a label...she was the girl!
After all was said and done...we had over 155 donations, baskets from neighbors, baskets from friends, baskets from family, baskets from strangers, folks were even threatened for baskets. We had beautiful artwork, amazing photography, little children's chairs that created a HUGE stir...It was an amazing sight! I couldn't believe my eyes! We had 17 men, offer their services for free, their gifts that were given to them by God, offered up for FREE!...and they went. My mother told me before she came..."I'm going to get me a man!"...and about $1200 dollars later...she had achieved that goal! She had purchased Jesse A.! The live auction was hysterical, Mark Ireland & Rich & Paul...stole the show! It was such a beautiful sight!
Last but not least, and for me the highlight of the night, was when Leslie Maurice spoke, NHPC member from Haiti. You cannot believe the impact a testimony can have until you hear one that states at 2& 3 years old he's making rice, and by 9 he's lost his mother, by 16 his twin brother has been killed....Yet he stands boldly before us saying "I'm honored you ask me to come!" "I told my mother you were doing this for my country, we just cannot believe it." Christ is glorified. We have a lot to learn from Leslie Maurice(who is out of work, and stayed the entire night so he could help clean up).
So you see, the night was beautiful, I had a really good time, I was unbelievably peaceful, I've never felt that kind of presence before, not "in the heat" of a big event for me, this time it was different, this time I trusted God for it, he told me time and time again, trust in me..not in "people".
And so I did. And God Blessed the evening, in so many ways. FYI, there were 17 churches represented in that auction, from beginning to end, 17 churches, one body, we are His hands and feet. Together we could get so much more done!
I tell my pals, this is the last quarter of the game for most of us,(4th quarter we may be wearing depends) if we are going to make a difference "Now is the Time!" You have not heard the last of me..sorry for that...know that Free Market is still going strong and I have great visions with God's guidance...we mustn't rest...we need to spread the Good News, there is no greater commandment...'You must love the Lord your God, with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself' Matthew 22:37 37-39. I hope you find yourself in a small group, NHPC & Northminster are doing 40 Days of Love, For me, I think it's the BEST so far! 'Let Love be your highest goal'! 1Cort 14:1.
WE MUST LOVE PEOPLE! Even those we don't want to love...........oooooooooooooh!
I love you all...I am so grateful for your unending support on everything I throw at you, to Wayne McMichaels(Auctioneer), on Thursday I called him, 2/12 at 8pm....HE SAID YES! That my friends is GOD! He walked out silently, without a goodbye and without needing a simple thank you. See you at the next event...Loving people, spending time, not cash! TIME. I forgot to say, God taught me to Aim High, don't believe in Him for Little.
In Faith I give thanks to God,
Love Cassie Matthew

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Skatin' Through Life

Palmer is the oldest of my three amazing boys. He's been quiet his whole life, but the bond we have is very special. I don't often know what he is thinking, but he lets me in occasionally. He loves to skate...he has always given 100% to anything he's interested in , he's amazingly disciplined, I wish I was more like him. He wants us to be proud of him, always, he's responsible and reliable, he's like his father in many ways, but he's tender and kind like Parker too. He's going out more often now with friends, it's hard to let him go, we do, but we miss him. God is preparing us for what soon lies ahead. He's a great son, a spectacular brother and a friend I would choose among many. He's what Jesus has taught him to be...He's a beautiful boy.

Precious Parker

Parker is by far, the sweetest, most giving, kind and compassionate child we have! He's a passionate as me and can me as livid and sensitive as much as he is kind. He will one day be the male version of Mother Theresa! Parker won the Martin Luther King award this year for his entire school, there's no one who loves like Parker does. He's gentle with children, he understands giving of himself...He's something special, I'm grateful! He'll give you his last dime and go without, he wants for nothing ever!
I love him, he occasionally will let me in, not often, he is the one child I pray most often about, asking God for help to get closer to him. I often need more than just guidance, I pray for wisdom with him. I want to be closer to him.
Pray with me.

10lbs of Love

Davis is the 3rd boy of this household of males and one Queen Bee! He's the most joyful soul you have ever met, he loves everything and everybody. He'll do anything and go anywhere, he's the only male in this home who will talk...if I beg him to. I love him so...he's the most fun and our best times are at bedtime, he still loves to snuggle in my bed and read with me...every night!
Love Him...My baby Dave!
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Mimi & Deshay

I spent the day with Zeldena(46)& Marie(72), Mimi(4), & darlin'Deshay(2) on 2/23. Zeldena & Marie wanted to come to my house to clean, they come every week and help with the Free Market, of course they take enough wares to furnish ten homes. Something about poverty increases hoarding, I have yet to understand it, but that is a later day.
I invited them to my home, which means I must go pick them I did, and there they are, waiting for my arrival, it's good to do what you say you are going to do, b/c there are people who do what they say they are going to do. Amazing. I had already invited Z&M to my house when Denise(Free Market) needed to go back to Social Services b/c she was honest with Social Services and admitted she didn't really have her fourth child she had been collecting Food stamps for for 6 years, she gave her away when she was 6 months old, before you gasp, it is a common practice to hope someone will care for your child while you get on your feet, next thing you know, 6 years have passed and your baby is now calling someone else "Mom". Denise came clean, we call it honest, and her reward was "Fraud". Which could land her in jail, have her three children who live with her put in foster care. I picked them up, just in case. FYI, for each child you get a certain dollar amount for food, in food stamps, the more children, the more money. Denise's 4th child added more cash, however she's been long gone and is being loving cared for in the Chesterfield co, Denise is jealous she states, her baby calls this other lady "Mom". Denise went, and has to go back, b/c I was not there, I'm uncertain of the whole truth. Another thing I have discoverd, is that when you are down and out, you have more "secrets", you are uncertain of who to trust, who to tell the whole truth you say less. Unlike me, who will tell you everything I know, I have nothing to hide, secrets make you leary of others.
I'll let you know how Friday goes...Meanwhile our day together.
Zeldena & Marie and I decided to do Denise's laundry, she didn't want me to have it, but I took it and we all worked togehter. Zeldena taught me how to fry chicken, Marie made homemade mashed potatoes(I never do that), we cut up fresh fruit for the babies...which they loved! We had a wonderful day, I gave the girls baths, Deshay's first ever, they have no hot water at their house, they sponge bathe. Denise's situation is unique, federal housing is actually quite nice, I have been in three different complexes, she is living in a all but condemned home. Zeldena told me she'd help me get her out, or at least headed that way. Remember, Denise has secrets.
We watched soaps together, it reminded me of when I was growing up with my mother, I'd have to fold clothes with her and watch soaps, eat chocolate and pepsi. It felt nostalgic. We laughed, we talked, we didn't clean, I wouldn't let them. I learned alot about the way I spend my time..especailly while currently doing 40 days of love, Jesus sat with people when the situation came up. I want to sit more..I'm going to try. Mimi didn't want to go home, Zeldena said it was becuase she knows she loved. "Chilren' know, they knows whos good to them." Denise is a wonderful mother, fabulous, she has filled her emptiness with children, we all do something loke that at times in our, men, exercise, work, for her it was children, they love her dearly. Know I pray for God to fill those empty spots, in her and and in me.
I got the children together, we all piled into the car and off we went! Denise was so happy to see her children, she's never been home alone without them. Something we all crave...just take the babies and let me be here alone. It was a beautiful day, I have a lot to learn.
Love to you, Cassie

Friends who understand

My friends from the Free Market, they come for the coffee and the fancy pastries, but mostly they come for the fellowship. They rarely speak to others, and seldom say much with words, but they are there the whole time. The really love Terry's Hospitality and her Starbucks coffee. They might get one shirt or item, at times they have taken for friends they know. They seem content. I have much to learn.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Friends for life

Valerie visited today, I have just recently re-connected with her after a long hiatus of time. She's had a beautiful darling baby girl, Sophie Jane and so much has happened as it would when you lose contact with a best friend after 8 years of time. Her mother passed away this Christmas, which is actually why I called her, to my disappointment, I called too late. Sweet Gloria had already passed, and I was too late to be the friend I wish I could have been. But God is bigger than me and he has reunited us in a way that only her mother would have been so happy for us. She loved me like her own daughter. Gloria saw me in my darkest days and she loved me in spite of my blunders, she was an amazing woman, I'll never forget her for her love for me.
To my wonderful delight, Sophie Jane will bring me much joy, having no daughter of my own, I already have fallen in love with her, Valerie is an amazing mother. I praise God for bringing us together after all this time. I cannot wait to spend so much more time with her. I love you my sweet pal.
Love Cassie

Free Market

In September the Free Market was born out of an idea just to give our wares to friends already coming to the food pantry. God has so used the Free Market and food pantry to open doors and our eyes to such a greater purpose. It has been the most rewarding experience of my life, with the exception of giving birth to my three boys. It has been life changing and I mean that for real. I have found that I am more like martha from the bible. Less like Mary. I love what I am doing. Cassie