When Shelby Bland saw the “Veil of Tears” movie by Gospel for Asia, she wanted to do something. She was shaking with anticipation while she stood in line waiting to choose a missionary to support. She knew her family couldn’t financially sponsor a missionary, but she had to do something. When she looked down at the table, a picture of a woman with two children jumped out at her, so she planned to pray for them.
The next day, Shelby and her husband Tom heard GFA Founder K.P. Yohannan speak at Blue Ridge.
“When K.P. finished, we couldn't get up. We knew God was calling us to do more than just pray for her [the missionary from the night before],” Shelby said.
While Shelby stayed to serve in Kids Community, Tom took their children home.
“I made a list of options,” Tom said, holding up a piece of notebook paper that he had filled front and back. “I wanted to list every option. I’m a list person.”
He showed it to Shelby when she got home, and she immediately honed in on one item. “Yard sale — we can do that!” Shelby said.
But the Blands had never had a yard sale before. And with four children ages 6 and under, they knew they couldn’t do it alone.
So Tom and Shelby shared with a small group they had just joined and Shelby told her weekly moms group and her Women’s Bible Study table. Everyone said, “yes!”
“It was so sweet of God to reassure me, to show me He would provide,” said Shelby. “Every woman there wanted to be involved and each had different gifts to share.” One had tables to borrow, another had a house in a good location for a yard sale, others offered to help bake for a bake sale.
Then four days before the sale, women came to help organize. It took hours to sort through the donations. One family sent a whole truckload of baby gear.
“Here we were with four kids running around - it was a chaotic mess. But at that moment, God brought to my mind the missionaries a world away with their needs…” Shelby began. Tom finished, “…God was inviting us to be a part of His story by meeting those needs. It really put things in perspective.”
On the Saturday of the yard sale, a woman came looking for baby items because she was unexpectedly pregnant. The other moms of the yard sale gathered around her and offered her baby supplies, causing her to weep with gratitude.
“God did not have to bring this woman to the yard sale, but seeing God work blessed us so much,” Shelby said.
Everything that was left over was donated to a woman who had posted on Freeway, to the Liberty Godparent Home and to Goodwill.
The Blands had hoped to bring in a couple hundred dollars to send to Gospel for Asia. They raised $892.12.
“We were so blessed. At the end of the day we were so tired, but also refreshed. Doing God’s work together as a family just brought us a sense of unity,” Shelby said.
“We really felt God’s encouragement through it all,” Tom added.