What is the Sequoia project?
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
While at a local gas station I noticed an elderly couple in a car next to ours. The lady had sunglasses on with bandages under them. The man was looking at a piece of paper while this lady started to panic. I didn’t know whether to keep minding by own business or ask if everything was okay. Both of them must have been in their 70s.
I went to the drivers side, where the man was, and asked if I could help him out with anything. I asked, who I assumed was his wife, if she was alright. She kept saying “We are lost”. The man did not appear to really understand things well either. When I spoke to him I had to lean close to his ears.
He explained to me that he was driving his wife to the eye doctor. The problem was that they were from out of town and lost. He showed me the piece of paper he was holding and I recognized the place. It was where our family went for eye care. Clear across town. I explained to him how to get there, using signal lights and right and left turns. He didn’t understand any of it. Another person came up and started to explain another direction.
I was in a hurry and was going to just take off. He has the directions so they’ll get there alright.
I know this not to be true though. I could arrive late for my appointment by driving ahead of them to the eye doctors office. I just didn’t want to. That’s when I knew that I should help. There seems to always be a point where the thought of doing something, to help someone, wants to be left to others to do. Our own struggles, in making it through each day, weren’t easy. The week before we came home to a living room soaked in water from our roof leaking. The week before our washing machine died with a loud crash.
We all have problems in life. We all get lost once in awhile. Young, old, it doesn’t matter. This lady, who had the bandages on, must really have felt lost. She could not even see. I knew it would calm them both to simply be shown the exact building. It was 20 minutes away, and 30 to get where I needed to be after.
When I suggested to the man to just follow my car he looked so grateful. His wife calmed right down and she blessed me. The feeling I felt, after taking them to the office, was like a blessing. I was able to put in better focus our own problems. Life kicks us all in the butt once in awhile. Yet there is always others that are dealing with far worse problems. A leaky roof, broken household items, isn’t what life is about. All can be repaired or replaced. This is a hard time for millions across the world. Not just in America. Some would think the wheels are coming off the wagon and there is even talk about the world soon ending in 2012. Personally I don’t think about the “what ifs” in life. All we have is the day we wake up to. After that there is no guarantees.
The Sequoia Project has become a very interesting part of our families life. It has changed our lives in many ways.
Monday, November 16, 2009
This week our family went to help out at an event to help feed our local hungry. It was called “Empty Bowls”. For $10 a person could purchase a bowl (made by school children) and have it filled with soup from some of the best chefs in the area.
We helped set up for the event and played a small role in what many had worked so hard to have happen. We helped get beverages ready, did paperwork for the bowls, and set up trash containers. On the side I recorded the event and it was later picked up by one of the world leaders in news, many learned of this program and hopefully seeing the story will inspire someone to do the same in their village.
We are all one in so many ways. We thirst, we hunger, we all need grace. Hundreds of people in town showed up to help others in their town. The Midwest has harsh and long winters. Many go hungry. Taking part in something bigger than ourselves is how many are reached. All the money made, from the selling of these bowls, went directly to the local food pantry in town. The shelves still need items but they look a little better than they did before.
This area of the world has stepped up to the plate during this time in our nations history. With so many things going wrong its refreshing to see the good. The power behind many voices (and actions) can be prayers answered by those needing hope. Prayers can be answered with a simple bowl of soup.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Once every two years a small group of people held what they called an “AppleFest”. We received an email asking if we were interested in helping with the event. At first I wasn’t to sure about it. Their event fell on a Saturday which we had already made plans for. I called Tim up and asked more about the event and learned that they were planning on making gallons upon gallons of apple cider.
Tim explained to me that his father, who had passed away, started the event many years ago. Tim told me that his father use to make cider with friends but the tradition kind of fell to the side when he died. Since that time he and his friends started it back up. This year they had over 4000 pounds of apples that were donated by local farmers.
After learning about this I became more interested as we talked. We could change our plans and drive down to help. The small town (of about 1500 people) was about 25 miles a way. No big deal. They planned on starting bright and early. I explained to Tim that because of a bad back I was limited in the things I could help with. I was a fairly good photographer and could possibly help them out with that. He thought that would be great. They had a website highlighting their event and would be too busy to stop and get some nice shots for it.
I was amazed when I pulled up next to Tim’s house. Huge burlap bags held thousands of apples! The process was fairly simple though not easy work. They had learned a good system of doing things and about 10 people were involved. One group would clean the apples, another would cart them in buckets to the press, and then the last group would process them. It was interesting. I helped set a huge stainless steel tank onto concrete blocks and grabbed my camera.
After a couple hours it was time for me to go. I had taken maybe 500 different photos. When I was driving away I questioned whether I had wasted my time. My back was aching and I knew that I had overdone it. Just as I was wondering this the road I was driving on lined itself up perfectly with the sun. It was like a sign of some sort. When I got home I downloaded the photo’s and video taken and put together a nice 60 second clip.
Little did I know that this short clip would later be seen by over 6000 people within 24 hours. I submitted the photos to a media outlet and wrote a nice story about the event. The whole process took about 6 hours. I had no idea when I went down to help that the event would make national news. It put their group and their little city on the map. I was glad to see something that had been started by Tim’s dad get the attention that it did. They worked hard and deserved the recognition.
When we can use our talents to help others, without getting paid, it does help. Today’s work made a lot of people happy. Complete strangers were thrilled to learn that someone had went out of their way to help with their event. A person can help another in very simple ways. No money was made and our own plans for that day had been put on hold. I was sore and questioned all of it on the way home. That sun had lined up with the road perfectly for a reason. We don’t always know if another can be helped when we try. I do believe that every positive action has a reaction. This was one that made a whole town proud!