Pennies, Haiti Awake, & Jungle Sludge

The following was written by our friend, Anne Atkinson. We are so thankful for her support of Haiti Awake and how her enthusiasm spurred others to give generously.

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Clink. Clink. Thump. Ask anyone at Christian Bible Fellowship (CBF), and they will describe the noise when children drop their money into the buckets for VBS. From one penny in each hand to a few coins to rolled coins from the bank, children love dropping the money into the buckets for the mission project. This year’s offering went to Haiti Awake for evangelism opportunities at the prison, nursing home, and through VBS. But how does Jungle Sludge play a part in raising money for Haiti Awake?

CBF’s mission project has become a contest between girls versus boys at VBS. But we broke tradition this year. The contest was between 3 characters in each evening’s play. The first night we explained that each night you could choose which character you wanted to experience pie in the face, eating a bug, or dancing the chicken dance in a rooster costume. As the grand finale we announced Jungle Sludge would be dumped on 1 person the last night. But if we raised $1,000, all 3 characters would experience Jungle Sludge. The children were extremely excited and highly motivated.

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The second night would end with an unlucky soul’s face covered in pie! I do not know who was more anxious to find out the results: children or actors. Both kept asking me all evening. Alternating between questions about the pie in the face were questions about Haiti Awake. I loved answering those questions. And I always told everyone to let me know if I started rambling. I can talk about Haiti Awake nonstop!

Haiti Awake is dear to my heart because it is dear to Becky’s heart. I haven’t visited yet, but I have seen the sights and meet the people through Becky’s descriptions and pictures. I know and pray for the staff and children by name. I cherish the times Becky and I have grabbed a coffee and talked about Haiti from before Haiti Awake was founded. Even though hundreds of miles separate us, I look forward to the next time we can grab another coffee.

Time for a pie in the face. After a close race (2 pennies apart) my husband bravely took a pie in the face. Despite cheers from the crowd, my kids and many other children were disappointed that another actor missed out on the pie. Plans were made to rob piggy banks and beg parents for more money the following night.

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The third night started with children and adults gathered around the bug and buckets. Everyone wanted to see the bug. It was not candy! We had a live cricket. Everyone’s favorite actress bravely ate it despite trying to sit on her bucket earlier and keep children from putting money in it. By the cheers in the audience, you would have thought it was the end of the week. But we were not even half way to our goal, and the children still wanted Jungle Sludge.

The fourth night brought more opportunities to share about Haiti Awake. I enjoyed talking to a former missionary to Dominican Republic. We share a heart for the people of this shared island. But the children are waiting on the chicken dance. Another courageous soul donned a rooster costume and did the chicken dance. The night ended with just over $500 total donations and the anticipation of Jungle Sludge on the last evening.

The final evening blew me away! I could not believe how much money was in the buckets. After counting 1 bucket it was clear we had passed our goal. After all 3 buckets were totaled, we had over a

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$1,100 from the last night alone! The actors/actresses in the skit wanted to know how many people were getting sludge. I explained how much we had surpassed our goal and mentioned it was a shame we didn’t make $2,000. One of the ladies said if I found the extra $350 before the end of the night she would join in on the Jungle Sludge. Five minutes later I had $400 more. Only God can move in people’s hearts!

The closing assembly is always a highlight of the week for me. I love watching the kids sing and do the motions. The skit ended, and it was time for Jungle Sludge (topsoil, mulch, and water). To the noise of happy children chanting, 6 people had Sludge dumped on them! All praise to God for doing far more abundantly than we could ask or think!

VBS has ended but many lives have been touched and many more will be touched. At CBF children heard about Jesus and learned about another country where other boys and girls are also learning about Jesus. Adults at CBF learned about Haiti Awake and in turn opened their hearts and donated. The theme was The Incredible Race: One Family, One Race, One Savior. The story is finished at CBF. But it will continue with our brothers and sisters in Haiti. Only God knows how many more lives will be touched through the fun of raising pennies for Haiti Awake and dumping Jungle Sludge.