Special K

Last Saturday I threw a small dinner party as I always do when I return to the farm after a long hiatus. Whenever I must leave this place again after only a few days it seems even more important and urgent that I gather with friends so I do so as quickly as possible. On this trip I had barely arrived before I was planning a venison barbecue from my freezer full of the gift my dear friend Chris gives me regularly to make sure I never go hungry. This story is about another one of my friends who came to that dinner; another root of Orchid whose story is worth sharing. We will call her “Kat” because that is the name I used to call her when she was in her teens before she graduated from adolescence and grew into the amazing adult and young philanthropist she is today.
When I met Kat for the first time she and her family had just suffered a great loss few of us could ever imagine and hopefully won’t ever be asked to endure. She lost her best friend and older brother Patrick when she was only thirteen and he was just beginning his approach to manhood. It happened after Patrick had made some choices that carry with them great risk and they went badly for him. Rather than suffer the potential consequences of his actions and live with what he believed was a betrayal to his family and friends he chose to take his own life. He did so quietly, alone and it took many months before anyone could find his body and learn what had happened. It was a very sad time in the community where he grew up and for everyone that knew and loved him. He was after all a beautiful life that had lived to short a time to reach the potential the Universe had in store for it. Kat was devastated but she became the pillar her family could lean on and her undying love for her brother gave her the strength to endure. Her personal faith was strengthened and she relied on it to help her though the tough times but she always made love and kindness her calling card. During the last ten years that I have had the privilege of knowing her, I have watched Kat mature and accept gracefully what life tosses her way. I have followed her passionate desire to become a teacher and do the hard work at just above minimum wage to pay for her education. We get to see each other a few times a year, always with her family and occasionally with her longtime boyfriend Terry and every time we do get together she arrives and departs with the same great big smile that lights up the room. She always asks about me, my family and how my life is progressing and what challenges I am facing. She always offers me encouragement when I am in need and she constantly wants to brought up to speed on how Orchid is doing and what is happening at the communities we support. She virtually never talks about herself unless I insist she gives me the low down on what’s been happening since I saw her last. Kat you see, is always interested in how everyone else is making out and how she can help make your life easier in any way. This past Saturday as we broke bread together along with her mom and dad and some of the other usual suspects I shared with her the details of Orchids current campaign to complete an annex for 70 children of the Cordoba mission of Ministerio Mahanaim where they will receive elementary and Christian education so they no longer have to assemble in the kitchen. This same modest building was built and partially funded by the generous support of many Orchid roots and one of our taproot donors has offered to make a year-end donation of $5000.00 to that project if Orchid can raise another $5000.00 during the #givingtuesday national campaign taking place this November. http://orchidsoflight.org/whats-happening-giving-tuesday/ The very next day after our dinner together Orchid received a donation from Kat that was far more than she can comfortably afford and I was truly taken by the size of her generosity. It made me want to share her story and for t to be the first of many stories about the people who are Orchid. Kat is just one of the amazing roots that keeps Orchid blooming and her philanthropy is making a difference to children who without it would be isolated and alone. She is an active member of the Orchid community and stands shoulder to shoulder with some of the greatest people I know. Kat reminds me that philanthropy is not only a term that applies to the very rich who contribute to and can easily afford addressing earnest causes, it applies to all of us who want to share some part of our incredible fortune with others who really need our help. Philanthropy belongs to all of us and all we have to do is follow Kat’s example and look for causes that resonate with our hearts and get involved. The loss of her brother could have left Kat bitter and angry but instead she became a shining example of what it takes to be an enlightened human beings; the willingness to see beyond ourselves and make part of our time in the world about devotion and service. Orchid is continually blessed by roots like Kat and we continue to do your work around the world. You can see and measure the results of your kindness by the smiles of the children who will get that annex one day soon and who will know that from far across the ocean comes a tsunami of love. If you would like to learn more about this campaign please take five minutes and watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=WuxEl1dX-HM#! where you can see the progress the roots of Orchid have made possible at our mission in Colombia. Orchid invites you to join the miracle and help Kat build that annex by contributing to the campaign directly or by becoming an ambassador of Orchid and fundraising for the cause during this very special month of Thanksgiving. God Bless you all and Thank You! Rich


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