Recently, we introduced our new team member Jeff. Over the next few months, we want to take time to introduce our volunteers and partners who have made Design Outreach possible. Today, we would like you to meet Janet Bixler—proud mother of Greg Bixler. She has been a huge part of our fundraising success, and would like to share the impact it has had on her personally.
I have always heard about the poor people across the ocean—especially Africa—that die from famine, lack of clean water, unsanitary conditions, no medical help, etc. and felt sorry for them. But that is as far as it went because I knew I could not do much.
Yes, my church sends children’s dresses, money for mosquito nets, and blankets to foreign countries—but never did anything about lack of clean water. That was always someone else’s problem. When Greg started to talk about this pump project, before it was called Design Outreach, his dad and I had doubts as to how anyone could make such a major impact on this huge problem. Through these last several years, he and his team have made tremendous strides in something that has proven to work. If it weren’t for Greg’s faith in God and his perseverance, Design Outreach would not have gotten off the ground.
Because of the long discussions and Greg’s recent travels to Africa, I became a champion leader for the 100-pump project. I talked to my pastor about this project and how I felt that it was God’s will that we should raise enough money for a pump. I was apprehensive at first since our members are older and on fixed incomes—but they are very faithful when it comes to missions. My pastor suggested that we have a drive-thru spaghetti supper on home football games. I recruited several people to help me, and for three Fridays we had the best spaghetti deal around!
Despite rain and burnt sauce, we raised several hundred dollars. However, we had a long ways to go. Greg came to church and showed some of his recent pictures and talked to the congregation about the project. People started to hand me checks and cash. I was overwhelmed. Whenever I saw someone, I would talk about it and they would hand me money. I carried the DO cards with me and handed them to relatives and friends. I used Facebook and e-mail to inform people of current trips and how things were going. I wanted to keep people up-to-date and informed of the tremendous job DO has been doing. Finally at Christmas time, we offered a match for whatever was donated and used it as a gift in memory of someone’s birthday, Christmas present, or whatever. This seemed to be very successful.
I took some of Greg’s pictures and made them into posters and made a display at church. This showed the congregation that they were real people and real villages.
We did raise enough money and are anxiously waiting to hear when the pump will be installed in Kenya in December. I am planning on making more posters as a follow-up.
There are not enough words to show how proud we are of Greg, (although we are prejudice), and his team in this fantastic job that God has put upon them. I know it has changed my perspective of what we can do as individuals.