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  • Doug Brendel

Angels happen

Sometimes, an angel appears.

I met a guy 20 years ago, and we became good friends. I’ll call him Rick.

As soon as someone invented monthly auto-giving, Rick clicked.

All these years, from his New England home, he faithfully supported New Thing’s work of compassion in Belarus, every month.

But COVID, and the pandemic economy, smacked his family hard.

Rick held on as long as he could ... but finally, he sent me a heart-rending email.

“Doug, it pains me to do this,” he began.

His finances had become so unstable, he had no choice but to suspend his monthly giving.

I consoled him, and assured him it would be OK.

The practical reality, however, was something different.

Rick’s monthly gift was helping to keep our “Response of the Heart” team at work in Belarus.

New Thing is not a huge operation. Losing his consistent monthly support was a hit.

But then, less than a week later, another angel appeared.

A relatively new friend, out West, made a monthly auto-giving commitment — out of the blue — in exactly the same amount as Rick’s previous pledge.

(In fact, she added the fractional transaction fee!)

When I told her this story, she cried ... and revealed something about herself:

In her entire life, she had never before been a monthly recurring donor to any cause.

“I thought I did it because it was clear I was going to have to give EVERY time you sent another story, and it would be easier just to have it happen automatically,” she told me.

“Turns out, I did it because God has plans for the children your charity is serving.”

Yes, sometimes, an angel appears.

And sometimes, we get to be the angel.

Sometimes, we get to be the angel without even knowing it.

My wife Kristina started visiting Belarus 29 years ago, with the CitiHope ministry. I joined her 8 years later.

We didn’t see what was coming. We didn’t plan it.

When CitiHope had to leave Belarus, New Thing was waiting in the wings.

We got to be the angel.

This is sort of where Christmas comes from, I think.

Mary was blindsided by her pregnancy.

But an angel appeared, and brought good news:

If she was willing to trust, something wonderful would happen.

I’m grateful for every angel who’s appeared on the scene, down through all these years.

Grateful for people trusting, through their impulse of generosity, that something wonderful would happen.

It was true. It still is.

Much love,

Doug Brendel

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