At the beginning of this exciting ride (the Medika Mamba Marathon ride - which is not yet over) a friend from Minnesota wrote and said that she wanted to be the first $2,600 matching donor. I was humbled and touched by the gesture and asked her if I could share her motivation for putting up the match.
Linda is a friend from our home church in Rogers, MN. She came to Haiti to see us with a team in January of 2007 and again in August of 2008.
In August of 2008 Linda came on the trip with about a dozen other folks from our church and her teenage son, Mike. The trip was packed full of activity. We hiked mountains and did lots of fun things. It was a bittersweet time for all of us based on a few situations yet the trip really seemed to have a covering of God's mercy and grace on us all.
One afternoon we returned from a nearby village to learn that Linda's husband, Steve, had suffered a massive heart attack while on a piece of machinery and was in critical condition.
Linda and Mike tried to get airline tickets the next day but we could not find them any seats due to storms that had caused backups out of Port au Prince. It was a helpless feeling knowing Linda really wanted to be home, yet no tickets could be found. That night a blog reader stayed up half the night plugging in the tickets she was looking for over and over until she found Linda a seat.
The next morning Linda headed to Minnesota, leaving her son Mike behind with the team. That night I asked you all to pray for her and I know many of you did.
Steve never regained consciousness and about a week later Steve left his mortal body and went to be with Jesus. He left behind four children and his wife. The goodbye that Linda and Mike said before they left for Haiti turned out to be their last exchange with him.
In late May Linda wrote me to tell me that she was preparing to have a sale to sell much of the equipment Steve owned and that in his honor she would like to offer $2,600 toward a matching grant to get the Mamba donors motivated to give. She said that Steve, and Haiti, and much of what happened last August are all intertwined and that she knows Steve would love to know his business and the sale of his equipment benefited hungry children in Haiti.
For Linda and her kids, August is going to be a tough month. They are of course still grieving the loss of their Dad, Husband, and friend. Later this month will be the one year anniversary of his heart attack and his passing.
One of the difficult things they are doing is selling a lot of the equipment from his excavating business and his tools and other "man stuff". The main sale dates that they are currently preparing for are Friday Aug. 14th and Sat. Aug 15th. Those will not be easy days for their family.
I am so thankful that Linda wanted to kick off the fund-raising with this matching grant. I am humbled knowing how difficult this year has been for Linda, yet when I spoke with her on the phone she assured me that God's grace is enough and that He has been faithful to her in this time of great grief.
I know so many of you have also given to this Mamba cause (and continue to do so) and I am blessed by each and every gift.
Tonight I wanted to ask that in the coming weeks you pray for Linda, Mike, Anna, Steph, and Tom - as August will not be easy for them. Pray their sale goes well and that they find opportunities to honor the man they loved and to be strengthened by his memory and their love for one another. Thank you to Linda and Steve Kohnen for kicking off this fundraising effort with a generous matching grant ... As you can see, God is blessing your gift.
(With donations already received by mail, and two or three more promised donations we are over 31K raised right now. More than 300 children's lives will be touched!)