Welcome once again friends. If you have been reading prior blogs, you probably know there are three missions:
- Put the book into the hands of the children
- Create a residential-work community for developmentally disabled adults based on the model of www.lambsfarm.org
- Create a tuition free college that stresses work, character and citizenship based on the model of www.cofo.edu
Of these three missions, the first, ‘put the book into the hands of the children’ is by far the most important.
This is the mission for which God made His will known to me. If you don’t know how that happened, please read the Backstory 5 blog where I describe this experience. I believe my responsibility is to do everything that I can to carry out this mission.
But God needs all people of faith to participate in this mission. And like the message of the book, God has given you gifts which you can use to serve one another and in doing so, serve Him.
We, people of faith, all need to work together to make sure that young children have the opportunity to come to know Him, that they may one day choose to follow Him.
So, below is the draft of a beginning plan to help us start. I’m sure it’s quite naïve and I’m equally sure it will evolve as many of you offer insights and great ideas or even volunteer your gifts to His service. He has given us a great challenge!
- Engaging Churches and other organizations
As we enter 2013, I will begin work to engage churches and other organizations in my community, to get the book to youngsters. It should become a prized possession to be read over and over; to be absorbed. And hopefully many churches and organizations will be moved to serve this mission.
- I have committed to contribute a portion of the Author’s profit to this number one mission as well as to the other two missions that have captured my heart.
- I will also share the Author’s portion of the profit with any church or organization that chooses to participate in getting the books to the children.
- Church groups can create a mission of their own and raise funds to distribute copies of the book to children in their community or to send them to other locations.
- Many churches and organizations have mission groups that have to fund their trips. These groups can choose to sell the books to help fund the mission. In short, this can be a fundraiser for non-profit activities. At the same time, they can ask that people who want to participate in getting the book into the hands of children, purchase an additional book or books to be given out to the children during their mission experience.
2. Increasing accessibility to the story
As an Artist and Author, I will work to create a version of the story that can be produced more economically to make the book accessible to more children.
This version was created with colorful illustrations to draw children in. At the time, I did not yet know of God’s mission. Printing in full color process is rather expensive and that is reflected in the retail price.
I don’t want to forgo color, but black and white is far more economical. So I am thinking I will create the full story as a coloring book, reducing the illustrations to line drawings. A benefit to this is that the same child may be excited to get the coloring book for several years and as their coloring skills improve, they create an updated version. To make this happen, I will be trying to find crayons to be packed with the coloring book. The crayons must be economical as well, but still provide rich color. So there is some research to be done and perhaps some negotiating.
And there is more research that needs to happen. I want to learn what is required to obtain an ISBN number and what different printing techniques are available and at what cost. Clearly, there is more work than I can accomplish by myself.
4. Creative outreach!
- I have already reached out to the pre-school program at my own church and encouraged the staff to consider putting on the first ‘play’ based on “The Star Who Almost Wasn’t There.”
- I’ve brainstormed a ‘flashmob’ event for next year combining music and the story and hope I can get a mall to agree to the event.
- I am planning a Christmas Tree design for our local Festival of Trees that raises funds for the Baby Fold. The tree will be decorated with all stars created by children and creative supporters of this mission. And I hope I can fashion a shining star in the image of “The Star Who Almost Wasn’t There” for the top.
- I will try again, to engage many people in creating youtube videos that feature this story. As we spread this story, we spread His word for little children
I have stated that I am committed to contribute a portion of the Author’s profit to these missions. Before I started on the path to publication, I prayed for guidance in this. You see, I feel that this is God’s story, not mine. And I asked God, as I have many times in the past, what portion I am entitled to. I told God that I expect to be fine in retirement but I want to help my grandchildren with their higher-education goals. And this time, I receive profound ‘peace’ in response to my prayer.
So I want to be very clear: I do intend to use a portion of the profit to put away for my grandchildren, some of whom are struggling with college expenses now, others have quite a few years yet to go.
But in 2013 I intend to work with an attorney to establish the best mechanism, Not-for-profit or Foundation etc., to ensure that a portion of the Author’s profit is allocated to fund these missions. I want all participants to be able to access information about the financial state of these missions.
This story has been a gift and one that keeps on giving. I am certain that at some point, these missions will generate jobs and hopefully put a few people to work. And then the gift I’ve been given will give back again.
God is at work. And helping to do His work is a JOY!
May you all find wonder and joy and peace this Christmas.