Today is my birthday, and my twin’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Suzy! I love you!
The birthday I really want to talk about, though, is the 50th birthday of two really good friends of mine, Dave and Laurie Bunnel. I’ve known these two since my college days, and Laurie likes to remind people at parties that they never would have met if I hadn’t asked Laurie to work at our church camp (Mission Meadows, on Chautauqua Lake) one summer. Of course, I only asked her because she was my friend and she was awesome at arts and crafts, and I really needed someone to help me in that department–I wasn’t trying to change her life.
This couple has spent their life together hosting Bible studies, neighborhood groups, women’s groups, etc., etc., in their home. They have a knack for bringing people together, reminding them how much God loves them, and encouraging them to work together to do a little good in this world.
When most people turn 50, they either throw a big party where people give them black cards that say “Over the Hill” on them, or they go to a spa for a little self-indulgence, or they might do what I did, and simply say that it doesn’t matter what I do, as long as I’m with my family and I don’t have to cook dinner. Not Laurie and Dave. Last week, they hosted a “food-packaging event” for Children of the Nations with about two hundred of their closest friends. Oh, there was cake at the end, of course (I mean, what’s a party without cake?), but first, we all donned plastic aprons and head coverings and filled 50,000 plastic bags with lentils, rice, dried vegetables, and some kind of mysterious protein powder.
It was fun! It was fast! It was wonderful. We watched a movie in the middle of the event that showed a group packaging food and loading it into a truck, and then a group in one of the countries that Children of the Nations sponsors (Sierra Leone, Malawi, and others) that unloaded it, carried it to a crude-looking kitchen, cooked the meals in a big pot, and then served it to smiling, hungry kids.
All evening long, wherever I went, I heard people talking about how inspiring Dave and Laurie are to them. They are to me, too. Not only did we package 50,000 meals that night, but they raised nearly $14,000 as well! Their goal had been high ($12,50o), and I had been amazed at their courage at printing such a high goal in the invitation they sent out, but they raised enough money for not only their big event, but also to hold a small event at a juvenile detention center sometime in the future. It’s already arranged with the person in charge there.
So, Happy 50th Birthday, Dave and Laurie! You inspire me, and I’m blessed to call you my friends. May your 51st year be a blessing to you!