Monday, March 29, 2010

The kindness of strangers

This weekend I got a few more donations for my mission trip. As I was trying to calculate how much I had received so far, I realized that if I exclude the donations from my mom and my uncle, I have gotten more donations from people I have not met in real life than I have from people I do know in real life.

That is incredible! That people who only know my through this blog have stepped up to the plate to donate to my trip without having ever met me! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You guys are incredible!

After being amazed by this fact for an hour or so, I started to look at the other side of the coin. I had put way more work into trying to reach out to people I knew. I wrote hand-written letters and sent postcards I designed myself to almost everyone I had ever collected an address for. (It takes me about an hour to do 5 and I still have about 15 more left to do!) At that point on Friday only 2 people had responded.

These are people who I may have chatted with on a daily basis for years, people I had lived with, people I have been in their weddings and/or attended their numerous showers and/or bachelorette parties. These are people I have vacationed with. People I had partied with. Why was the response to my fundraising so low? Isn't this supposed to be what friends are for?

Being single, friends are all I have. The fact that I hadn't seen much response when I REALLY need others support (there is no way I will be able to make up much difference if I don't raise enough) really started to freak me out. What if I ever got hurt or sick. Who would take care of me? This lead to a little mini-meltdown.

I got so mad at myself because I have always put my friends first. If anyone ever needs anything I am there. If I start dating someone, rule #1 is they must get along with my friends. This has even torn apart some of my dating relationships because I am so fiercely loyal to my friends. I love them, but what did all this mean?

I really think the only people that will truly be there for you no matter what is your family. They are obligated to take care of you when you are sick. They are obligated to help you out. They will do whatever they can for you because you are family. Everyone else is so busy with their own families that helping a friend is really optional. They don't mean to be that way, but they are just so busy with their own families, that they forget or don't have any left over to help you. I would probably be the same way if I had a husband and kids.

I am hurt and disappointed and very discouraged.

Another thing that makes it hard to raise money is because people are like isn't Dubai one of the richest countries in the world? Why do they need a mission trip? We are not going there to serve the people of Dubai. We are going there to serve the missionaries that serve throughout Central Asia in some of the most dangerous environments in the world. They have given up their lives to make a difference in the lives of people half way around the world. Personally I will be helping recreate our Vacation Bible School for the missionary kids. These are kids that live in countries where no one looks like them, talks like them, or believes like them. This is one of the only times of the year that they get together with kids who are like them. I don't do kids, and now I am going to be thrown into a whole classroom full of them!? This is not a joy ride trip. This is going to be hard and even dangerous. We will be in a Muslim country. I just read an article the other day of a woman on a short term mission trip in Dubai being arrested for handing out Bibles. (Note to self: Do not give out ANYTHING!) I'm scared and part of me wishes I would have never signed up for this.

I only have 55 more days to raise $1520. It is stressing me out!! Sorry to go on and on about it, but it is all I can think about. It keeps me up at night.

To my friends that read this, please don't take offense to this. It is just the facts and how they made me feel. I still love you guys and if you are meaning to donate, but just haven't, now is the time. I need to have about $500 more before the end of the month, and at this rate, I don't see it happening. Even $5 would help. I don't know how I am ever going to get all the money I need for the trip, but I am hoping and praying that God shows me a way.


minneapoliscareergirl said...

First let me say I think it's great you're going on this trip and it's terrific you're fundraising. But let me give you a perspective on how your friends might feel.

I have a friend right now who is also fundraising for a trip - hers is for a triathlon for cancer research in Hawaii. And while I'd love to help her, and I think it's a great thing - my money is tight right now, and I have designated donations already. I work for a nonprofit and a portion of my salary, I've already designated to my place of work and to the United Way. It's difficult, then, for me to give additionally.

Furthermore, I would feel badly giving her $10 or $20 when she knows I wear clothing and shoes more expensive than that. Therefore, I feel obligated to give $100 and it's just not something I'm willing to do.

My point to you is that there are a lot of reasons people choose not to give - both personally to those they know and to nonprofits. As someone in nonprofit development, I can tell you I battle these obstacles every day.

Keep up the good work and you'll get there, but please don't be disappointed in your friends. Their situations are all different.

Suz said...

I know and I completely get it. The economy sucks right now and I hate trying to fundraise right now more than you can ever imagine because I know how tight money is for everyone.

I put off writing this because I know it will piss people off and even if they were thinking about donating, they may not now, but it was what is on my heart and in my head and I just needed to get it out.

But really the dollar amount does not matter near as much as people might think. A girl I work with gave me $2 because that was all she had, but just knowing that she wanted to support me even if it was just a little mattered so much!

I'm basically having a pity party for myself and wishing I had spent more time and effort into finding a husband and having my own family. I don't know why turning 30 is doing this to me!

And seeing the results of my fundraising has just amplified all of that for me.

I try to stay positive all the time, but sometimes you just need to have a pity party for yourself to be able to move on.

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Maureen said...

You're allowed to have your pity party- no worries, its your blog and you can write what you want. It's true that just because people can't/aren't giving money doesn't mean they wouldn't be there for you in a second if you needed them. Think about it- if you were raising money to pay for your own life-saving medical bills or something, you'd have it taken care of in a heartbeat. Mission trips aren't life-saving medical bills though, and not everyone wants to support them or feels that they're very important. On top of that, money is tight, as you know, and people (myself included) feel bad giving a small gift of just 10 dollars or so.
But, try and not extrapolate this into wishing you'd found a husband, etc. This is an unrelated thing. You're raising money for a church trip, you're not discovering that you're all alone at a time of real crisis. Right? Hope that helps. It's okay to feel bad about it, but keep your chin up! :)

Aphrodite's Mortal Friend (ME) said...

I hope that your shout out from Connect meme Mondays help you raise the money- take a deep breath- I'd be willing to bet it happens ;-) Following you now through this hook up ... and I'll give you $5!

Aisha said...

Hey Suz I know how it feels. For some people it may be that they can't , but sometimes the people you think are closest just aren't. Make sure to keep the faith, God has a way of making things happen. After reading your post I sort of got an idea. Have you tried reaching out to companies and maybe posting ads on your blog in exchange for a donation? Maybe you can try some local companies where you are at. Your blog is very popular so it would be good advertising for them. Good Luck & Don't loose sight of your goal!

Erin Kathleen said...

I have to say I’m not a big believer in mission trips but I can truly see how much you want to help others and I truly respect you for that. With that said I would be happy to donate $10 toward your goal. I hope it helps! You just have to promise to share pictures and your experience once you get back.

tootie said...

I would be disappointed, too. I've been in other situations where I've been a little hurt/disappointed by friends. But at least you have wonderful family that is there for you!

Either way, I have a feeling that it will all work out for you. Have faith! (Easier said than done, right? :) I'll be praying for you!

Sonja said...

First I would like to say, just because we have family and friends, it doesn't obligate them to give. God calls us all to serve in different ways, so please don't come down too hard on them. Giving to a mission trip is a way some people are called to serve and for some, it just isn't. Your family and friends may be called to support you in different ways. Just because someone doesn't give you money, it doesn't mean they don't support you. They could be encouraging you, praying for you, etc. Don't discount those contributions! :) It may be hard to understand why someone close to you wouldn't give and a complete stranger would, but it really isn't your place to understand, which leads in to point #2. God provides in amazing and unexpected ways. Before I left for Mali, I didn't have enough in my account to cover the trip. When I came back, there were all these additional donations, some of which the church couldn't tell me where they came from. Long story short, my account went over the amount needed for the trip and I was left with the option to have some of the excess pay for all of the vaccinations I had to get prior to leaving.
You have 55 days. That is A LOT of time even though it doesn't seem that way. God is already providing and will continue to do so!