Monday, November 7, 2011

The Garage Sale Chronicles - Part 4

The Final Chapter (sort of!)

Well, it's only taken 4 posts and 3 weeks to share everything God did through the garage sale for Africa!!!  I'll warn you in advance, this post is quite long.  I make no apologies for that though.  Our God is very detailed and so is this post about His garage sale.  He is so incredibly amazing! 

I'll just pick up where I left off from Part 3.  It's now Friday October 14, the day before our sale.  Honestly, I was dragging a little after prepping for 12+ hours on Thursday.  But, I did manage to make it to Sheri's around lunch time.  As soon as I got there, I opened up the passenger door of my van to get a bag out and look what God did for me.....

He sent me a rainbow* to remind me that He was with me and that I was doing exactly what He wanted me to do for the orphans in Africa.  His presence was overpowering!!! I of course responded in tears!  And in praise!  W.O.W.  Only God!!!

*In case you are new to my blog, God uses rainbows as a visual reminder to me.  Rainbows are His way of telling me that He is with me & loves me, He is faithful & will keep ALL of His promises, and He is trustworthy.  God started using them during a very difficult time in my life about 7 years ago when my world turned upside down, and my family & I had to move back to York County. My friend Leann left me a voice mail message one day saying she was praying for me to see rainbows so I would remember that God loves me and was with me.  At the exact moment that I was listening to her message, the sunlight came through the glass on our front door and made rainbows all over our living room floor!!!  ONLY GOD!!!   

Then that same week, I had a couple of job interviews.  I was exhausted & overwhelmed due to our circumstances, but I had to re-enter the workforce.  So, I asked God to let me see a rainbow at the place He wanted me to work.  I went on my 1st interview and was given a grand tour of the entire place - but never saw a rainbow.  At my 2nd interview, I did not see a rainbow either.  But just as I was about to leave, the school principal decided to introduce me to someone that I would work with if I took the job.  This person just happened to be working with Mrs. Prange's 2nd grade class at the time.  When I walked through the door of that classroom, RAINBOWS WERE EVERYWHERE!!!  GOD IS SO AMAZING!!!  Needless to say, I took that job!*

Sorry about that!  We went camping recently with some of our "old friends" from Chapin and I guess I'm still in "reminiscing mode."  But, God does tell us to remember what He has done for us :)  Okay,  okay.  Back to the garage sale. 

After I saw the rainbow on the bag, I was re-energized! So, I unpacked & priced some more items until it was time for my children to get out of school.

As I was getting ready to leave, I just looked at all of the stuff and thought this is merely "our excess,"  "our outgrown,"  "our get rid of it to make room for more."  If the truth be told, giving this stuff away to be sold in a garage sale was not a sacrifice for the majority of us.  It was probably a relief. 

If you've ever been exposed to severe poverty, especially in a 3rd world country, your view of "stuff" has most likely been radically changed.  Honestly at times, I am repulsed by it ("stuff.")  We have so much in this country compared to the rest of the world, and yet we want MORE!!!  Our pursuit of more stuff is a crafty tool satan uses to keep our focus off of God & what's really important.  And the sad part is, we fall for it hook, line, & sinker over and over again.   Okay - I'm getting off my soapbox now.....

FYI: the bag with the rainbow on it contained another one of Tina's pearls of garage sale wisdom - empty bags.  You need to make sure you have lots & lots of shopping bags and empty boxes for your garage sale customers to put their purchases in.

After dinner, I kidnapped picked up Heidi for the night and headed back to Sheri's house.   Sheri was hosting a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) game night at her house!!!  Crazy, huh?  Packing, moving, garage sale stuff takeover in the garage, MOPS takeover in the bonus room & kitchen!  THANKS SHERI!  You are a brave woman :)

Once at Sheri's, Heidi & I jumped right into organzing and moving stuff around in the garage while listening to lots of laughter coming from the bonus room directly above us.  Then, I got a text from my friend Kathy asking for Saturday morning details.  She also wanted to know if we were going to wear matching or the same color shirts.  Well, I had not thought about that.  When I mentioned it to Heidi, she suggested I call my friend Mia and ask about borrowing Victory Sports shirts for everyone to wear. 

So, around 9:00 p.m. on Friday night, I called Mia about shirts.  She graciously agreed (without any hesitation) and told me how to get them.  THANK YOU MIA!!!

Heidi decided to stay & work while I went to pick up the shirts.  Since I needed a flashlight, I decided to swing by my house to get one and to take Faith Wrenn with me for a little adventure.  

We headed over to the equipment building in the dark and started hunting for shirts.  Faith Wrenn held the flashlight for me, but I was still straining to see the sizes in each shirt.  About 5 minutes into this adventure, Faith Wrenn said, "Mom, why don't we just turn the light on??!!!"  And she flipped the switch!  I knew there was a reason I brought that girl with me!  THANK YOU FAITH!!!
Faith also talked me into throwing the frisbee and passing the soccer ball for a few minutes too.

By the time I got back to Sheri's, all of the MOPS ladies had finished shopping and Sheri's daughter Tori had a handful of cash!!! 
We were off to a great start!  THANKS MOPS LADIES!!!

Now, back to work.  Heidi took charge & started moved tables around.  Our biggest challenge was the clothes - the boxes & boxes of clothes!!!
Thankfully, Tori had a plan for organizing the clothes,
especially since they kept multiplying!!!

At times, I would start to feel ovewhelmed and want to run and hide!  We were working hard but barely making a dent.  That's when I would find something that reminded me of why we were doing all of this.  Like this shirt...


Heidi, Tori & I ended up staying up all night long!  And Tori had already worked on Friday and had to work again on Saturday afternoon! 

 As it turned out, Tori and I spent at least 5 hours on the clothes while Heidi tackled organizing the tables in the garage.
The three of us laughed so hard, especially when our lack of sleep kicked in!  At one point, my back was really hurting so Tori & I stretched out on the concrete driveway to star gaze to give my aching back some relief!  We really did have a great time staying up all night!  It was my favorite part of the garage sale process.  THANKS HEIDI & TORI!!!

Then, around 3:30 a.m. Heidi decided we needed something to eat.  So, she and Tori headed to McDonald's (that was closed) but ended up at Wal-Mart.  Meanwhile, I'm outside in a strange, dark neighborhood all by myself sorting clothes!!!  I think every sound around me was magnified too!  So, I started praying and devising a safety plan in case the need should arise - my criminal justice college degree in action.  But at just the right moment, look at the shirt I pulled out of the box of clothes...
it had RAINBOW stripes on it!!!  ONLY GOD!!!  He reminded me once again that I was not alone - He was with me even outside in the dark at 3:30 a.m.!  Oh, HE IS SO FAITHFUL!!!

I must say that preparing for a garage sale is so much more fun with friends!!! I was so glad when Heidi & Tori got back.  At that point, we took a break & went inside to eat our subs from the deli at Wal-Mart.  That's when the laughter really started!!!  We laughed, and laughed, and laughed some more while trying not to wake up Bradd and Sheri  - which made us laugh enough more!!!

Sheri's alarm went off and Tina showed up.  It was 5:00 a.m.  Time to get back to work.  I tried to convince them that it was time for 3rd shift to go to bed now that 1st shift had arrived.  But, they didn't buy it.  Sleep was my sacrifice for this part of the sale. 

Now, the real fun began!!!

Tina hit the ground running and soon had everyone working up a sweat setting everything out.  Another one of Tina's pearls of garage sale wisdom is to have everything in place early because people will show up early.

Here's Heidi, Sheri, Tori and Bradd working on things in the garage.

After a team meeting and a time of prayer, we were open for business!

Here is Cindy (Sheri's neighbor) and Annette wearing their pink boas
in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness.  THANK YOU SO MUCH LADIES!!!

Our first customers did indeed show up early.  It was still dark, but they brought flashlights to help them see!  I think they've done this a time or two.

You can see a few shoppers here at the crack of dawn.

Here is Dave looking for a good deal bright & early.  His wife Susan is the pretty blonde in the background talking.  Thank you both for coming out so early to support orphans in Africa.  May God bless you and your family as you adopt your daughter from India.

Now this just made God smile from ear to ear!!!  Ryan (left) and Brandon (right) along with their parents Teresa and Gordon sold sausage biscuits, coffee & hot chocolate for donations for the orphans in Africa!!!  W.O.W.  The money they raised will be used to buy things that the orphans need like formula, diapers, food, clothes, etc. 

This is Kathy and Annette working hard at check out.
Thank you for breakfast Kathy!

Look at Heidi.  She is still standing after working all night without any sleep. 
I cannot say enough about Heidi and all of her selfless help. 
I could not have done this without you, Heidi!  THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

My friend Gail came over and helped with the sale too.  THANK YOU GAIL!!!

I was exhausted but I really wanted to talk with the customers.
So, I hung out at the checkout table and mainly bagged for folks.
And do you see what God did at the checkout area??!!!

 He brought RAINBOWS!!! 
I took this picture of a man while he was checking out. 
I saw the rainbow on his shirt & scared the poor man to death! 
I'm sure he thought I was looney - bless him.  But I had to take a picture!


Look at the rainbow in Kathy's hair!!!
Rainbows appeared on all of our customers for the next 20 to 30 minutes! 

God's sweet reminder of His presence & His faithfulness!

Ryan got caught with his hand in the donation jar! 
I'm sure he was just making change :)

These were the best pictures I could get of my friend Mandy.  She was trying to stay away from the camera.  But here she is helping out at the sale after working all night!  She stayed for several hours, carried heavy loads for people, doctored up a little fella who fell, and made us laugh. 

Check out our youngest shopper getting herself some beads. 

Isn't she beautiful?
She got her beads and now she's ready to go.

We even had a personal shopper for our customers! 
Check out Janet carrying a box full of things for this customer!
And Janet, thank you also for getting up while it was still dark
and coming to help us!!!

My friend Kathy (left) worked the garage sale all day. 
On the right is my friend Melanie who also spent her Saturday helping out. 

I am sooo blessed to have such incredible friends!  Here's a few more of them...

Tina (left) & Heidi (right) - without them, this garage sale would not have happened.  THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH LADIES!!!

As things started to wind down, here's Debbie, her daughter Darragh, Melanie & Kathy boxing up some of the clothes.

Not only did Teresa (left) help her boys sell sausage biscuits and coffee/hot chocolate but she also made us delicious sub sandwiches for lunch - with lots of love! 
They were so good!

We even had a few left over and were able to give them to a family. 
They were so grateful!

This garage sale was God's idea.  He is for the orphan.  He is the father to the fatherless and the defender of the weak, poor & needy. 
Because of God's character, I knew this sale was not just about raising money. 
It was about making the most of every opportunity to share the love & grace of Jesus Christ with the people who came to the sale.

In John 21:15-19, Jesus asked Peter 3 times if he loved Him.  Peter answered yes and after each time, Jesus told him to 1) "Feed My lambs" v.15;  2) "Take care of My sheep" v. 16; and 3) "Feed My sheep" v.17

These verses became the theme of the sale. 
So, when we had an opportunity to literally feed people, we took it! 

We were able to feed people spiritually as well.  Several customers shared that they had battled cancer, usually breast cancer, and now it was back.  Or they shared another challenge they were facing.  We were able to encourage them and pray with one of them.

God also gave us opportunities to take care of His sheep.  For example, later in the day, a family came by who was struggling financially.  God laid it on my heart to just give them some things from the sale, including a few big ticket items.  Then He allowed me to share the Gospel with them as I explained the reason for these "gifts."  Since the sale, I have spoken to the mom several times & even went to their house last week.  ONLY GOD!

Sheri's husband Bradd used his truck to deliver a couch to another customer's house!  Talk about customer service!  WOW! THANKS BRADD!

I can't tell you how many times my friends working the garage sale went out of their way to help our shoppers by carrying things to their cars, assisting with their children, and helping them find what they were looking for.  

And I know there are a lot of other stories I have yet to hear. 

God also let me meet some people who have connections to Africa already & we were able to exchange contact information.

This sale was all for God's glory! 

Here's my friend Faye shopping to help orphans.  THANKS FAYE!

Monique (whose picture I swiped from fb) came to shop after work.  She also donated things for the sale and was responsible for getting lots of tables for us. 

Check out Bradd carrying a chair on his head.  I told you our customer service was top notch!  In addition to using his strength (& back) and delivering couches, Bradd was also the garage sale CFO.  THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH BRADD! 

As the sale came to an end, we had some things left over.  So Sheri called this sweet lady (right) and her daughter (left) who were able to fill the back of their truck with things for the thrift store they plan to open soon.  Their goal is to bring awareness to soldiers suffering from PTSD pre-911. 

Then, Kyle came by and picked up the rest of the things.  He and his wife were having a garage sale the next Saturday to raise money for their Christian school.

And just like that...
everything was gone by 4:00pm and

Bradd had his garage back! 

No sign of a garage sale in sight!

I was exhausted but overjoyed.  I praised God all the way home, especially for the people who helped with the garage sale in any way, shape or form. 
Now that was A LOT of praising!!!


When I got home, no one was there.  Shawn was still at work and Tanner & Faith Wrenn had gone to my niece's birthday party in Greenville with grandparents.  I checked the mail and look what God delivered...
a letter from the little boy we sponsor through World Vision.  He lives in AFRICA!!!  This was the first time he wrote a letter himself instead of his mom (because of his young age.)  He also drew us a picture.  I was overwhelmed!!  I was drowning in tears & emotion.  This was so like God to have a letter from Africa waiting for me right after the garage sale!


And just in case you are a numbers person,
was the total amount raised at our God sale for orphans in Africa!!!



The garage sale may be finished, but its impact is far from over.

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,


  1. Wow Nancy that is fantastic! I had prayed that this would be a success and it definitely was! I can't wait to serve with you in Africa.
    Taylor B.

  2. Thank you for your prayers Taylor! God answered them! I can't wait to serve with you in Africa either - 50 days and counting :)