Middletown Monthly Magazine April 2014

Middletown Monthly Magazine

Hi Friends,
Some of you have asked me about the Middletown Monthly article I wrote.  This is the article.  The pictures we took of the magazine came out too blurry to really read it.  Thanks for your support of me and Livvy!  We have been praying that our articles will inspire others to do their 1% and that they will want to go to church if they don’t already go.  We have been praying this for over a month as we waited for the articles to come out.

Here is mine (they renamed it Siblings Share a Dream) and I will also put up Livvy’s.  Hers was pretty fun for her because she got to interview Katie, the girl that inspired donations for the hospital project by giving up her Christmas presents last year.

Good Neighbors and a Few Crumbs of Cake     By Gabriel Feinn 

In October of 2013, my 9-year-old sister and I started on an adventure that has given us a new view of who our neighbors are.  It all started with a magazine coming to our house that had items such as fruit trees, cattle, schools, hospital supplies, water purifiers and a hospital, just to name a few of the items which we could get for people in poverty stricken countries.  When my sister, Livvy and I saw the chickens for $14.00, we decided that this was a great project for us to get.  We sold cupcakes at our local neighborhood garage sale and easily raised the $14.00.  From there we decided to move up and go for a goat for $70.00.  After we raised this money by asking our cousins to donate, we decided to try for the medical supplies, which would have been $150.  When we thought about this, we decided that we would definitely be able to raise the $150 and since we could do it, this meant we wouldn’t really need any faith to do it.  At that point, we considered trying to raise $10,000 for a water purifier or $35,000 to build a hospital instead so that we would need faith that God would help us.  After talking to a couple of our friends, we decided to trust God to help us raise the $35,000 for hospital. 
Our plan to get the funds was simple.  At first, I started to make cakes for anyone that would donate to the project.  Although I am 13 years old, one of my alter-egos is “Gabe The Cake Man”, so I put up a notice on my Facebook page about the project and some of my neighbors started to donate.  I even made a gluten-free cake for a special neighbor.  Right from the very beginning we have also been making a LOT of cakes!  At Thanksgiving time we needed everyone in the family to help us because we made 165 cupcakes, most of them decorated with hand-formed chocolate turkeys and acorns, and 8 full size special cakes!  My mom had to go buy confectionery sugar almost every other day!
As our project started to take shape, Livvy and I came to think that if just 100 people would be on our “Number One Team”, which meant they would try to donate $350, (which is just having them ask 35 of their friends to give $10 or 10 of their friends to give $35), we would have the money in no time at all.  Also at this same time, we were realizing that I couldn’t possibly make 3000 cakes to get the money for the hospital; so we began to hold fundraisers at places like Chick-Fil-A, make Youtube videos to get the word out about the Number One Team and we went to churches to talk to other children about how they could help us. 
As we went to various places to talk about our project, we started to tell people that they could really make a difference by doing just 1%!  When we spoke to a group of children that were only 3 years old to 5th grade, I pointed out that their 1% might be things like doing dishes for their grandmother or washing her windows or raking her leaves.  That group of little guys raised $150!
Another group that we presented our project to were middle school students at my church and one of them came up and gave us all he had in his pocket, which was just a quarter!   Another dad and his children shoveled snow for the people in his neighborhood and then donated what they had been paid for their shoveling to the hospital project. 
Even though many of these people do not live in my neighborhood, they are being good neighbors to the people that will be helped by this hospital, despite the fact that it will be built in the Congo of Africa.  There is a story in the Bible where a lawyer came to Jesus and wanted to know who his neighbor is.  Jesus then told the man a story about someone that got beat up by some robbers and was left to die.  First, a priest came by and though he saw the man lying in the gutter, he went to the opposite side of the street to avoid getting close to the injured man.  Second, another religious person came by and did the same exact thing.  The third person was a stranger from out of town.  In fact, he was someone that would not usually associate with people like the guy that got beat up.  But instead of acting like the first two people, he went right over to the injured man and bandaged up his wounds and poured some oil on them and then took him on his donkey to the nearest inn, which in those days was like a hospital.  This guy that helped the beaten man out is known as “The Good Samaritan.”  Just like in the story of the Good Samaritan in the Bible, these people that have been helping Livvy and me are showing kindness to people by their acts of love.  For most of the people that have been helping us, the amount of money they have given is not really the point.  The point is that they have done SOMETHING.  Jesus said that we are neighbors when we show mercy to others. 
There are quite a few people that have been showing compassion to others because of our project.  Some of them live in places as far away as Wisconsin and California.  But some of the people live right here in our own neighborhood. 
When Livvy and I started the project we were not trying to inspire others.  We simply wanted to do something big for God and decided we would use whatever gifts and talents we had, including our hobbies to do this.  That is why we started with making cakes for people who would donate as part of the Number One Team.  However, as we began to talk to groups of students and adults, we realized that being a part of the Number One Team is actually a much bigger assignment, yet it is very simple.  It could mean that you give 1% of your day to someone that really needs it.  This is only 14.4 minutes!  It could mean that you help a boy in your neighborhood who is having a hard time learning to read and has a busy single mom that can’t really help him much by listening to him read; or you could go and weed your neighbor’s garden if they are sick and can’t do it themselves; or maybe it means inviting a lonely widow over to have dinner at your house so you can bring some joy into her life.  See, all these people are neighbors because they need mercy and when you give someone mercy by using your own time or your talents, however that looks, you can make a huge difference!
For Livvy and me, the neighbors we are trying to show mercy to live 6,850 miles away, but they really need our help!  They are in the middle of some crazy fighting and there are some terrible statistics about their lives.  First of all, 20% of all children born there die before the age of 5!  The average life span is only 40 years old and there are only 11 doctors for every 10,000 people!  Hepatitis A, Aides and Malaria are big problems in the Congo, but since there is hardly any healthcare available,  people just die if they get one of these illnesses.  At first it almost seemed like the problems were too big to solve.  However, with help from my neighbors, my sister and I are making progress towards doing something about them.  I like what Dr. Seuss says:  “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”   
When we first started the project, we chose a verse that says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.  (1 Timothy 4:12).  My sister and I may be really young, and our 1% may be just a few crumbs of cake, but our hope is that as people see our faith in a big God that we love, and what we are doing to try to make difference, they will want to do their 1% also, so together as neighbors, we can help those that need a neighbor’s mercy from across the continent or across the street so that someone else’s life is made a lot better. 
If you would like to read more about our adventure with this project, visit my blog:  gabesavestheday.blogspot.com  or like my page on facebook:  Gabe The Cake Man.

Here is Livvy’s article.  You can find it on page 17 of the Middletown Monthly.

Kids Can Do Big Things Too!                       By Livvy Feinn

     As you may have already read, my brother Gabe and I are raising money to build a hospital in the Congo of Africa.  Even though this started as our idea, we have had some really great kids decide to help us.  For example, two little boys named Eli and Mason who are 4 and 3 years old, made cookies to sell at Christmas time so that they could get money for our hospital project.  This was pretty hard for them because they really wanted to just eat the cookies.  If you want to read the funny story about that, you can visit my brother’s blog because we wrote about it. (gabesavestheday.blogspot.com/2014/01/every-little-bit-helps.html)
     Another awesome person is Katie, who is 12.  Katie asked all of her family and friends to not give her any Christmas presents this year, but instead to donate the money that they would have used on her Christmas presents to our hospital project!  When I asked Katie why she did this, she said that when she heard about our project at church, she prayed about it and felt like God was telling her to help us.  She hopes that what she did will really help the children and adults in the Congo of Africa learn about God and to feel better from whatever sickness they have.  Katie is a good role model because she stepped up to the project and by her example she shows children and even adults how to be a follower of Jesus and also how to get involved.