I had the privilege of chairing an event last week that surpassed all of my expectations. It was a beautiful event, one really worthy of mention.
It was a fundraiser for a mission center in one of Pittsburgh’s poorest neighborhoods, The Hill District. The FOCUS Pittsburgh center opened only fifteen short months ago and already it is transforming lives.
The guests who attended the evening were special, the doctors and directors who spoke held us spellbound. The donors who gave unselfishly were inspirational. My committee was amazing in their dedication to the planning and execution of the event.
Guests plucked leaves off The Giving Tree and donated activities for kids, snacks for backpacks, and medical supplies for the future clinic. The silent auction tantalized us with jewelry, gift certificates and beautiful pictures. Everyone walked around with big smiles, happy to make new friends and greet old ones. And of course, there was some delicious food to munch on and enjoy too.
But the real show stealer that night were the people who have been positively impacted by the mission center. I don’t remember exactly how many came, maybe seven or eight. Plus a young child who stole my heart; I couldn’t resist hugging and kissing him, just for good measure.
When Paul, the director of the Pittsburgh FOCUS center, introduced the mission center friends, the little boy’s mother was the first to speak. He held his mother’s hand while she told of her life before she discovered the center. The young mother was clearly pregnant and said she had contemplated abortion. When she found the center the people there embraced her and offered assistance. She kept thanking the center over and over. It was a profound experience for us all to be there and hear her story, their stories. It was an evening I will never forget.
Before I close, I have to tell you my absolute favorite part of the evening. It actually occurred before the event started. Paul was sitting with the guests from the center and suddenly he announced to them that I was the main reason the event was even happening. Those incredible friends jumped up, starting yelling “Thank you!!” and engulfed me in a giant hug, the likes of which I have never experienced. I said then, and I still say now, that was worth every moment of planning.
I believe we are all on a Mission of Grace and Love. We are here to make a difference, help others, and….to love one another.