World Youth Day Fundraiser Update
I usually don’t write blogs about individual concerts. I feel like it is a trap. If a concert went poorly, I don’t want people to think that I am not appreciative of the person or church who hosted the concert. If the concert went great or the parish was extra hospitable, I don’t want the others to feel like they can’t keep up with that standard.
Maybe worst yet - they do. If I brag that we had the best gumbo in Louisiana, suddenly everyone serves us Gumbo because we like it so much. That’s not the point. The point is that each concert and each parish is unique in their own way. We have AMAZING days and frustrating days. All-in-all, more amazing than frustrating. Actually, we are quite spoiled.
I’m going to break my rule. Stick with me here, and remember- it’s not a competition. It’s about sharing the Glory of how God is working in our lives.
We recently had an opportunity to play a concert in our home parish.
A bit of background here. We have based out of Effingham, IL for several years, but the last time that we lived full-time here was 2005. THIRTEEN years ago. We moved when Trinity was 2 weeks old. Since then, we’ve played Mass music here and there. We’ve helped with a class retreats here and there. The truth is, a lot of people still think of us as the goofy youth ministers.
As we have purchased a house here and settled in more, it has become clear that people are supportive of “what we do,” as long as you don’t ask them exactly what that is. They know that we play music. They know that we have a big family. They know that we travel. As a stoic, German, work-with-your-hands community they appreciate the risk and trust that those things involve.
We have never played a full concert at St. Anthony. The last time that we played a concert at Sacred Heart (the parish across town) was in 2014 - when Matt was playing drums. Needless to say, our ministry has changed a bit.
When Fr. Chuck learned that were going to play at World Youth Day in Panama, he was immediately supportive. He knew that we would need to raise travel expenses. He offered to host a concert and to ask the Finance Council to help with an additional donation.
This is the concert that I want to share about. First of all, we were nervous. Nervous because we want to do our best. Nervous because we hadn’t played a show in 2 weeks. Nervous because people expect it to be great. If they didn’t expect it to be great, we want to prove them wrong. Nervous because we know that this parish has the ability to help substantially with our WYD travel expenses and that will give us a lot of peace and freedom.
As people started filling the room, one gentleman came in and told me, “Those girls are too happy, most people would be nervous, shaking in the corner. Those girls passing out flyers in the hall are smiling, talking, and giggling!” So, it didn’t show.
“Tonight, we play the best concert of our lives!” we end our prayer as always.
The concert began and we had a crew of friends cheering from the front rows: high school girls, junior high girls, and grade school boys. The second row was filled with our parents and grandparents. Nearly every seat in the room was filled. Michael and the girls did great.
We shared our WYD expenses with the crowd and the number was overwhelming - just under $10,000. We had told people that this event would be a fundraiser for our trip, but I don’t know that anyone really stops to calculate how much money it takes for 6 international flights. We passed the baskets and people were really supportive!
At the end of the concert, Father asked to give us a blessing and added that the parish had recently had a generous donation. He could commit to a tithe of sorts and offered and extra $5,000 to our cover our expenses! That was, of course, if the parish would vote for it right then and there - which they did. Father took all of the donations to the office and agreed to take care of the counting and donor receipts for us. The night ended with us shaking a lot of hands, seeing familiar faces, and feeling satisfied.
The next day Father called us. “Can you bring the family to the office?” he asked.
Of course we agreed. He presented us with our check. Just under $10,000. He said, “I think we are within $50 of the number you showed at the concert. I know there is one more person bringing a check this afternoon.”
So! between the concert donations and the donation from the parish, they were able to cover 100% of our travel expenses to Panama - almost to the penny! God be praised!
We owe a huge THANK YOU to the people of Effingham. The communities of both St. Anthony and Sacred Heart. Thanks to the priests, Fr. Chuck, Fr. Mark, and Fr. Michal. Thanks to all of those who supported us even when they didn’t fully understand what it was that we did. Thanks to all of those who continue to support us!