October 15, 2017
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. ~ Psalm 139
“Fearfully and wonderfully made;” the first-time people meet Levi, they see a bright, blue-eyed, beautiful little boy; perfect in every way. And indeed, God did create a perfect child and gave him a mission, a mission to bring others closer to God. A mission to teach people about selfless love, a mission to help people remember all that they have and to thank God for it. Levi teaches people to pray.
Levi was born with a condition known as Lissencephaly, a rare disorder of the brain that leaves him unable to talk, and unable to walk, but can’t lesson his delight at the sound of his father’s voice or his mother’s warm embrace.
Most children born with Levi’s condition don’t live beyond the years of early childhood. The disorder can cause severe loss of psychomotor control, failure to thrive, and seizures, but with constant attentive care, correct medication and therapy, a few, like Levi, beat the odds.
Levi’s father Jon is my Pastor, caring for the souls of his congregation and in his “spare time” being a proud and loving dad. Levi’s mom Andrea, is his constant companion, selflessly looking after her son, loving him and providing for his daily care.
Levi’s days can be busy; between trips to school, trips to therapy and trips to his specialists, his mom and dad are constantly transferring him from their van to his chair and back again, sometimes several times a day.
As Levi has grown, it has become more and more difficult to move him from his chair into the family van, to a point now where it’s dangerous to lift him in and out of the vehicle. Only recently, Andrea broke her foot while moving Levi into their vehicle and required surgery to repair it.
When I told Pastor and Andrea that I wanted to do this for them they responded as I knew they would, with deep humility and gratitude. From Jon, “That is an incredible blessing for us to even try and comprehend! We certainly don’t deserve such a gift and we would most certainly be blessed by something like this; it would put my mind at ease as a husband and father, knowing Andrea wouldn’t be struggling on her own trying to hoist Levi into and out of the van…especially as he gets bigger…especially in the winter.”
And from Andrea, “We feel very humbled with this offer and really feel it is an answer to prayers. After having gone through some really trying days lately, this has been such a wonderful reminder of God’s goodness to us, even and especially when, we don’t deserve it. Thank you!”
The first time I met Levi, I was transfixed by the beauty of this Child of God. As I’ve come to know his family, I am continually reminded of God’s promise to work all things good for those who love him. Jon and Andrea are such an example of unconditional love. In particular, Andrea has devoted her life to Levi, to his needs and to his care.
When Andrea broke her foot earlier this year, God moved me to find a solution, a way to avoid this happening again.
In a very real way, God gave me a gift.
I started doing research on mobility vans. I wanted to know what was available; was it better to buy new or used; who manufactured them; and most of all, what did they cost? The information was interesting, the cost was staggering. Even used, costs could go to more than $60,000.00. How could I ever raise that kind of money?
I started to look at ways to finance a van; I knew that Jon and Andrea wouldn’t be able to afford it so I asked my wife if we could make it happen in some way. While Becky was totally in support of helping, $60,000.00 was more than we could muster.
God had laid it on my heart though to find a way so I began looking for businesses or institutions that might provide a grant and came up empty handed. While there are many philanthropic bodies, there are very few that provide for such an individual gift.
As I looked for other ways to help, I came across the “Go Fund Me” website. I began to read all of the different requests for money to help in some cause. There were many that would fulfill a legitimate need, and many more that would finance a whim. Could God use this to bless Levi?
I found myself searching God’s word; “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
I needed to step out in faith; I needed to believe God’s promises; and so, I launched “Levi’s Mission” as a Go Fund Me Page on June 2, 2017. The page was launched with a goal of raising $70,000.00 to purchase a mobility van for Levi; within one week we were 10% of the way there! God is so faithful.
We continued to see donations come in, but then it stalled. More than two weeks went by without any donations and I began to doubt. Not only doubt, but berate myself for starting something that would become only a disappointment for Jon, Andrea and Levi. The devil was quick to capitalize on my doubt and began to turn God’s blessing into something less.
When I mentioned to Becky how I was feeling, she looked at me and said, “Where’s your faith?”
Where was my faith? All along, I had been promising Jon and Andrea that we could do this; that was my mistake. “We could do this!” I’d begun to take credit for what God was moving people to do. Lord, please forgive my arrogance and thank you for reminding me that all of this is a blessing from you.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
This was all God’s doing; his hand was in it from the beginning and so it would prove to be to the end.
God not only blessed this endeavor, but he constantly renewed my faith as I watched people put their faith in him. People who had very real needs of their own, were moved by God to help this family and to make this a reality.
In every way, God’s hand was providing this blessing for Levi.
Last week, Jon, Andrea and Levi picked up their new Toyota mobility van. 100% paid for through the generosity of everyone moved by God to help make this a reality.
Thank you, God, for your provision; thank you for strengthening our faith and the faith of others moved to help. Thank you for your faithfulness, that it never changes and will be with us forever. Thank you for our Savior Jesus who has given us the gift of eternal life.
And, thank you especially for Levi, for the life of a child that blesses our lives.
“For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD. By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”
Amen and Amen.