Monday, October 29, 2012

Update at Micah's Fourth Birthday Celebration

Last Saturday, Heather and I hosted our annual chili lunch in honor of Micah's birthday.  (Micah will turn 4 years tomorrow, on the 30th). In each of the past 4 years, we have hosted an informal chili lunch with friends and family at Nokomis Community Center in Minneapolis.  As I have done in each of the past four years, I provided everyone with a brief update on what the Lord has been doing in our lives and through the ministry to which he has called us.
In December of 2009, Heather and I started a nonprofit called “the Micah Wessman Foundation.” The purpose of the foundation is to provide Christ-centered resources and practical assistance to parents who are grieving the death of an infant or young child. In October of last year, we launched a website called “Hope for the Mourning,” which provides Biblical teaching about suffering, infant salvation as well as how friends and family members can support parents grieving the death of a young child or infant. Among other resources, the webpage has a place for visitors to provide us with the contact information for parents who are grieving the death of a young child.
Since January 1 of this year, we have sent out a total of 47 care packages to 47 grieving families. These care packages typically include three books written from a Christian perspective, some additional resources, and in some cases, restaurant gift cards. While we learned of many of these grieving parents through word of mouth or obituary notices, many of these came to us through the website. In fact, we have sent care packages to India, England, and Trinidad. We have been able to correspond and interact with many of these grieving parents, especially those who live in the Twin Cities.  Several of the families who received care packages were at our chili lunch. 
Earlier this month, a group of 8 friends and family members agreed to become part of the “Hope for the Mourning” running team.  The 8 of us competed in the Twin Cities 10 Mile race.  Each of the 8 runners agreed to find sponsors from friends, family and coworkers to raise at least $500 for Hope for the Mourning. I’m pleased to report that we collectively did more than twice that; to date, we have received more than $8,500 in pledges. Many of you pledged amounts for Hope for the Mourning. We are so grateful for how you have allowed us to minister to other grieving parents. The average cost per care package is more than $100, and so we appreciate how you have helped us offset the significant costs associated with this care package ministry. 
Ultimately, however, the purpose of our getting together last Saturday is not about fundraising; it was not even about Hope for the Mourning or the Micah Wessman Foundation. It was about our son's birthday, and about celebrating the blessing of his short life, about sharing in the unbelievable grief and shock of his sudden death, and fellowshipping with our friends and family members who have provided us with so much support through these past 3-plus years. While we are so grateful and thankful for your support, we get together with our friends and family because we can't be physically present with our own son on his birthday.  How we wish things were different-- how we wish we could celebrate Micah's birthday with him, in person, in a more conventional fashion. Perhaps at a greasy pizza restaurant with cake, ice cream and birthday hats? How we miss our Micah.

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