After months of packing, organizing, programing, training and plain 'ole elbow grease, we were ready to roll. Our 4-hour drive was to land us at the Duke Energy Center for the 2009 Cincinnati Homeschool Convention. The three-day vendor hall would be packed with 2,600 families from 11 different states. It was our biggest venture yet for our Name Meaning Gifts, and had taken months of preparation to streamline our work-flow and condense our regular office into a 10x10 square that would become our booth at the Convention. High hopes, high spirits, high-investment.
By 5 o'clock, Thursday, we had set up our booth, and were ready for a horde of customers! We were ready to serve, ready to minister, and ready to earn a profit towards our house savings. Our first order came in before the hall doors even opened, and we were very excited about a day full of sales and ministry.
But we soon found that our expectations were far from reality. Our booth looked fantastic, full of color and our menu full of designs.. but at times it seemed like there was an invisible bubble separating us from the hundreds of home educators who walked just 20 feet away.
Friday was much the same. We enjoyed telling name stories, and did make a few sales, but we began to wonder whether we would make enough to warrant the money we had invested into the project. Finally on Friday evening, we were busy again, with several orders in the last 2 hours of business.
Saturday was encouraging, and we kept fairly busy. When the day was done, we spent 3 or 4 hours packing our booth back into the van, and heading home. The experience of being there was wonderful. We ministered to dozens of people who wanted to know their name's meaning and hear the Name stories we had collected. But when all was tallied on the way home, we had come $400 short of breaking even. A few months later, we received a large order from a contact we had made while at the convention, which balanced the income vs. spending, and we may yet see a profit from the many people we met there.
Whether we do or not, it was a special privilege for me to see the Home school families attend. Aside from breaking even for all our hard work, the rest of the experience was excellent. My wife, brother, sister and I enjoyed working together as a team, and serving the home school families who came to our booth. And we loved sharing the many Name Stories we've come to collect over the years.
Not having much interest in sports or social clubs as I grew up, I have often looked at Bible stories of Moses and David and Jesus and seen that they had "a people". Moses had the Hebrews, David the Israelites, Jesus had the Jews and adopted all who would come to Him. I've wondered who *my* people were. I didn't identify with sports or schools or local community. There was no family clan (though there is now) or cultural heritage. But when I was 20, I watched home-schoolers put on a Christmas play, with their over-sized curtain-costumes, a cardboard "stable" falling over on young Mary & Joseph... I realized that I would give my life to protect that group of families who had just two things in common: Jesus, and Home Education.
Ever since then, I have held a fond connection with Home Educators as my people. It is always a tremendous blessing to have opportunity to minister to them. From NCFCA speech & debate tournaments to potlucks to conferences to helping them build a house, -and them helping me build a house-- I have so enjoyed the far-too-brief moments with my people.
Related Article: NameCards & Driver's Ed; my very first name meaning gifts.
A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. The rich and poor meet together: Yahweh is the maker of them all.
By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.