The storm has past...

I don't know where to begin except to say thank you from the bottom of heart, for the gift of money, for the surprise visitation, and for the timing which God used to confirm that "the storm had finally passed me by." 


Last night as I shared this with my wife and I took some time to reflect on your showing up in my life, I felt compelled to post something on FB as a testimony to each of you involved in this magnificent gift and to point to God's faithfulness.  I don't know how you knew, what you knew, and I know that's the way you want it to be.  But I do know from seeing your website and experiencing 12 Average Joes in action, that you do want God to be given the honor and glory.  So, I tried my best to do that in my post.  I'm including it here in case all or most of you are not connected to me in some way on social media:


This is a testimony to God being alive, actively at work, working through His Word, His Spirit, His special revelations, and through His people. Today I experienced the visitation of 2 "angels" who blessed me in a way that was jaw dropping to me and to the 2 friends who were with me at the time. If one or both of you are my FB friends, I post this in honor of your faithfulness, your generosity, your encouragement, and your obedience. I don't believe I have ever met you before, but you blessed this man beyond words. I don't post this in vagueness or with coyness as some do on FB to make everybody else wonder what's going on. I post this as a testimony to God's faithfulness, God's active presence in this world and our lives, God's desire to fulfill every promise He has given us. So, to you who wonder (as I do from time to time) if God is still there, I can tell you from the most unusual experience today that He is. Last evening from 7PM to 11:30 PM "the storm passed". Today, it was confirmed in a very tangible way. Some of my friends will understand that more than others. A gospel songwriter by the name of Mosie Lister captured that awesome reality in one of his songs "'Til The Storm Passes By". It may be dated for some in its musical approach, but this man knew the reality of how God worked and he expressed it so powerfully. I now feel even more honored to have met him more than once, because the depth of his gospel songs obviously came from a heart that knew and understood. I don't know what the hours and days ahead hold, but today God proved to me that He is there, He is everywhere....and there are some brothers out there to whom I say the most heartfelt "thank you" and with a big dose of Glory to God! My nearly 6-year trial has evidently passed. He revealed it through His voice speaking to me clearly as a big thunderstorm moved from the western sky to the eastern sky last evening, the whole time speaking audibly to me of what was happening. He knew I needed it confirmed today, that this wasn't just a conjured up thought but that it was real. As I have posted throughout this period of some of the thoughts and realities that have come to me during a time of intense challenges, I will repeat one again which is "He is the Lord my God; in Him I will put my trust." If I never post again on FB, I want this one to be remembered as pointing to Him; He who is faithful. Life is tough, life is often brutal, and our only hope can be in trusting Him no matter what. I have made that commitment and so whatever the outcome, I am at peace. But His love knows no end, and so He continues to give us what we often don't expect because then a need that is real can be met while we increasingly become the strength that only a broken vessel can contain. In human terms it's not pretty, but in His grace and mercy it becomes the most beautiful portrait reflecting the face of a loving God.

If I may, I only want to add this specific, that the literal storm that passed through Franklin on Thursday night was the heavenly voice that spoke to me quietly and confidently that "just as you first saw lightening and heard thunder far in the western sky around 7 PM, then watched it slowly across the sky for a couple of hours, and then as I sat with my wife with candles on and classical music in the background around 11:15, we heard the thunder now far in the eastern sky and it was clearly that God was saying that just as this storm had passed over, it was now passing by in our lives."  Then I prayed long later that night that I was anticipating to see what might happen in the coming days and weeks.  I had encouraging meetings earlier that day (long time coming!) and then you guys show up at Meridee's.  Yes, God used you to confirm a strong message He was giving to me.


I've known Christ most of my life, but I have seen greater movement in my understanding of who God really is over the past 6 years, ALL through a time of intense pain at many levels.  I see His presence in nature and in all of His creation, so it's no wonder that a storm was used to speak to me again.  And as in real life, like the 500-year flood in Nashville several years ago, when the storm passes by we know we are safe and in the clear.  And in the aftermath, there is clean-up to do in order for things to be "RESTORED"! Some people would say "restored to its original condition" but I would say, "No, brand new again.  The old house was taken away by the tornado and all that does remain is a strong a firm foundation!" I believe that I have now been ushered into the clean-up phase and with each step, new life, freshness, new strength, new vision, and restoration will take place in my life, in my family, and in the people and things around me that are a part of the world God has called me to live in and serve.  I don't know what that looks like or how that would happen, but I will look to Him daily to guide each step as I have been now for some time, only now with a little more spryness in my step after nearly 6 years of climbing and crawling.  I do know this:  I will do it with a renewed strength made possible by my even greater trust in Him, pronounced sharply and accented by the visitation and most generous gift from 12 Average Joes.  And as much as the money is such a huge help, I have to say that it is "the act itself" which is so unbelievably powerful because it speaks to every aspect and area, not just one!


Simply put, you guys are awesome!!!  May rich blessings and abundance beyond all that can be imagined be yours because of your faithfulness.


Bruce

Thank you! Nashville Tn.

Thank you for your gift of hope. I've been down. Very, very down. Now I have enough to get back up again if I do things wisely. I thank you and guarantee that this money will be used to the right ends. I love you all. 12 Average Joes. Thank you. This money came at the God given right moment! I was so down that I was about to leave and now I have hope.

Windermere, Fl thank you

We live in Windermere Florida and my husband suffered a life altering health episode this summer. When we had a visit from 12 average Joes, their financial gift blew us away and met a very immediate need, their inspiring card and prayer warmed our hearts. It's hard to not even know who the givers are so you can say thanks but whoever you are "thank you 12 average Joes!"

God provides in many ways!

We are still in shock about the kind, anonymous gift delivered to my husband yesterday as he worked in the driveway. Over the past year since he was laid off, God has provided in many different ways, but I'd say this is one of the most inspiring and touching. One day, we will be in the position to do the same to others. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Double Down December

"G" and I drove to Fairview on the morning of Friday Dec 23 and found a family that obviously had needs.  Good thing we went during the day or we may not have found their home.  "A’s" wife answered the door and we asked to speak to "R" (I had the wrong name)…we quickly learned his name was "A".  She went to tell him there were some guys at the door and he came to meet us along with his young son…still wearing his respirator a remnant from his recent surgery.   We greeted them, handed to him the envelope and wished him our blessings and Merry Christmas and went on our way.  By the look on their face they were very surprised and gracious without knowing what was in the envelope.
 
The only way I can describe the drop was that we made the correct decision to “double down” this month and our experience was “heartwarming and sweet”.  We left knowing that without a doubt we assisted someone with significant needs and challenged to be more aware of others in need throughout the year.
"A&G"

 

Thank You for helping my family

Dear 12 Average Joes,
I wanted to send you a heart felt "thank you" for helping my sister and brother-in-law, "D&A Y". I don't know how your group was informed about their situation, but I'm incredibility thankful that you were contacted. I cannot express how painful it is to see your own family struggle and not be in a position to send them enough money to keep them going, let alone, not being able to give them a hug or a hand to hold when you live over a 1,000 miles away. 

Honestly, I really do not possess the words to properly convey my personal thanks to your organization. I've never been much of a religious person, but I always say prayers of thanks everyday, just in case someone was listening. I've only put in a couple of requests for help over the years, and as always, those prayers have been answered. 
RF

 

Encouraged by your kind gesture

Dear 12, Thank you again for the financial assistance gift, 2 of your guys presented to me. I shared the testimony of your generosity, and so many were encouraged by your kind gesture and the blessing you bestowed upon me. I hope one day to tell you the rest of the story. But, for now, know this: I am trying to do what God wants me to do, and caring more for others than myself. Using my gift of writing to help teach and encourage. thank you again. Take Care, God Bless, CS.

 

They got me "out of the woods"

On Wednesday morning, 9/14, "P", "R" and I went up to Nashville to make face-to-face deliveries to "DC" & "CS", our two "Contributor" vendors, we decided to bless at our last meeting. The three of us made a plan to "patrol" the areas I knew that they would be selling papers. We wanted to do a drive-by to ID them and present them with the envelope. Because I knew their faces, I drove and "R&P" made the delivery. We found "C", but were unable to locate "D". Today, I "C" had reported that he had "gotten out of the woods," made a deposit on an apartment room, and had paid his rent for a few months. "C" said, "Oh yea, Wednesday morning these two guys walked up on me at my spot and I thought, 'Oh no, I'm in trouble now.'" He said, these two guy said "Are you CS"? They handed me an envelope and told me they just wanted to bless me and let me know that they were praying for me...and that they were not the only ones. These guys were my angels! They gave me just enough money to get my boots and apartment with two dollars left for bus fare!" 
Well done 12AJs, whoever you are. You gave him exactly what he needed, including bus fare to pick up his winter boots at Redwing. Maybe we are all entertaining angels, unaware? 

 

The room suddenly got really dusty...

Joes –

"C" and I did the gift delivery yesterday...I think I speak for "C" when I say it was an incredibly emotional experience – not one that I'd ever like to repeat, but one that I wouldn't hesitate to repeat when the need arises. (If that makes any sense.)
We got to Skyline and met with "DP", a Skyline employee who put this family's need on our radar. She told "T" that something was being delivered for her, but didn't go into specifics. "T" brought her husband, "R", along with their three children.
"T" brought 12 copies of the memoriam card – one for each of us. This got to me and I'm not afraid to admit that the room suddenly got really, really dusty. I only took one, because my IT nerd instincts took over and I said "Oh, I'll scan it in for everyone." I've attached a PDF of the memoriam card for Matthew, to remind us all of why we did this in the first place.
We spoke for just a moment, and I found out that "R" quit his job to take care of Matthew, and was now having problems finding work as a truck driver. So if anyone knows of any contacts, etc., with trucking companies (or other area firms that need a driver) please let me know ASAP.
"A" later found out that this gift was sorely needed – after taxes and health insurance was taken out of "T's" last paycheck at Skyline, she was left with two dollars. Two dollars! This money would go mainly toward feeding her family.  
This is one experience I won't forget anytime soon. I sincerely thank my fellow Joes for their support of this family. 
God bless

Covert Opps in Lowes

We got to Lowe's and searched the whole store until we found him. He was helping someone, so we had to find a way to look like we were "shopping" in the aisles around the contractor's supply part of the store – not easy to do, especially as that's not a "Oh, let's look around until we find what we want" kind of department. I learned a lot about those little pyramid-shaped caps you put on the tops of fence posts, and learned more about the vast array of kneepads on the market today.

Anyway, we finally found "S"by himself, behind the counter. I approached, asked if he was the "S"we were looking for, and once he confirmed, I said "Someone asked me to deliver this to you."

He said "Oh, okay" as though this kind of thing happened every day.

I handed him the envelope and said "Just know that some people are thinking of you and praying for you." Then we high-tailed it out of Lowe's – but of course, we parked ONE MILLION MILES AWAY from the contractor's supply department, so we made kind of a fast-but-not-fast getaway across the entire length of the store, making sure NEVER to look behind us, in case he was chasing us down.

As we approached the garden department, I saw another employee pick up her in-store walkie talkie and look at us. I felt like the Jason Bourne of anonymous gift-giving, and I started planning our escape route. She wasn't very tall, so I figured I could take her out if need be ... but we made it out without incident, hopped into the car and took off.

WHAT A RUSH! It was so amazing to do the delivery, and I'll admit I choked up a bit as I handed over the envelope. It's something all of us should do as we go forward with the group.
"P"


I know I saw God today...

March 7th around 12:30 P.M. I met two angels. Some may say, it was two of twelve average Joes but I know I saw God that day. These two angels handed me a simple plain envelope said nothing more than “were here to help, we heard about the trials with your family”.  I asked “who are you” and they said “we are anonymous, the envelope will explain”. Said nothing more, nothing less, I said “thank you “, they shook my hand and left. When I opened the envelope, I was so overwhelmed. Not by the monetary value as much as the kindness that God shared with my family that day. Thank you so very much when I know so many others are more deserving. Some say angles have wings and long gowns but I know one is tall with salt/pepper hair and glasses and the other, a young man with dark hair and a warm gentleness about him. Some people may never see Gods angels and I had the privilege to shake hands with two of them and meet them face to face….. RP

We aren't the only ones...

"J" said hi, are you "W"? Yes. They shook hands. I said good afternoon and did the same.

He was in shirt and tie. Ready for interview? Sweet little girl at his knee. Puzzled look growing stronger. 

"J" handed him the envelope.  Really puzzled now. Noticed his name on it. "J" said we are here on behalf of some men who care.  This is for you. I said we have been thinking of you and we aren't the only ones. Have a blessed day. 50 seconds tops

Divine Intervention

It is with the deepest gratitude that I extend a most heart-felt thank you to the 12 average Joe’s.  Your gifting is immeasurably appreciated and goes far beyond its worldly means.  It has strengthened and proven the fruits of our faith, a testament our children shall carry on beyond our generation… because, not only 20 minutes before the '12 Joes' came into our life, I held my newborn son, praying alone yet aloud for divine intervention in such a trying time.  Then the doorbell rang.

Thank you and God Bless.

Sincerely,

TK