For those who may have missed all the excitement, this past week has been a true emotional roller coaster ride.
This past Friday, we finally got our approved I800A from USCIS. We have been waiting on this one last piece of paper to finish our dossier and after 73 days of waiting and weekly calls and worrying we received it!
I took this as one more sign that our Bingo event scheduled for the next night was going to be a huge success. You may remember we had done Bingo once before back in early September. It went ok. We had a lot of family and friends who were out of town, and I had only advertised it by creating a fb event and sharing on fb. I had made a few flyers and thankfully a lady who normally plays Bingo at the Elks on Monday nights happened to see it. She came with a group of friends, who I'll refer to as 'Professional Bingoers' or PBs. Total we only had about 30 people in attendance. We also had a lot of money tied up in this event so that when it was all said and done we ended up making $500.
I was thankful to have made that much because at one point during the evening I was just praying that we would break even. The group of PBs that came offered me a lot of advice about where I should advertise if we did it again (all local places, all free). We had a lot of supplies left over and considering that 30 people showing up had brought in $1500 we decided it was definitely worth trying again.
This time I did every thing I right. I stayed on top of things and got most of our prizes donated including the $500 in cash we were giving away. I contacted every free local source of advertising that I knew of and made sure that our ads went up. People kept telling me they'd seen our ads, heard about our event on the local radio station and that they were looking forward to it. The Elks decided they'd waive the $100 rental fee again which we weren't expecting and it just kept seeming like God was blessing this event left and right.
I had the forethought this time to have Steve take half the day off of work and I didn't make any other plans for the day of Bingo so that I would have plenty of time to do any last minute things. We had twice as many people volunteer to come and help run things. We showed up, every thing was going so much more smoothly than last time. I felt so much more prepared, so much more on top of things. I had done the work and God was blessing it!
The doors opened at 5 for food and people to come shop our vendors. I thought nothing of the fact that no one but our friends who had come to volunteer were there at 5:30. At 5:45 I was worried but thought maybe we would get a made rush right at 6. Two ladies came in who I didn't know. At 5:55 I talked to my husband, my friend and my Mom and decided if more people didn't come in the next 10 minutes we had to cancel and just give people their money back.
No one else came.
I announced that we were sorry but that we were going to refund everyone's money. We drew for the 50/50 raffle and for the vacation giveaway that had been ongoing and had a lot of entries already.
We started packing every thing up. We were efficient. I held it together. I think I may have been in shock.
People kept saying things like, "It will be ok, it's going to work out, God's got this." And I think I probably said something like, "I know, it's ok...I'm fine." I'm fine. I needed to say it, I wanted people to believe it. And, I wanted it to be true.
I wasn't really fine.
But, I did hold it together. I helped pack up every thing. I listened to the reassurances, the promises of help and I let the voices of my friends and family wash over me and sooth my hurting heart.
Later, we stood outside the doors of the Elks. All of the stuff packed back into our car and we stood there, our little group, some of our kids. I don't think anyone wanted to leave yet, we were waiting for a friend's husband to come pick up some of her stuff, we made small talk. Steve puts his arm around my shoulder with his hand on the back of my head, I lean into him for comfort and the tears come that I had been trying to keep to myself all night.
One friend says, "Let's pray for Brooke and Steve," and another starts the prayer, I hear others crying, another friends finishes the prayer. I look up and see faces filled with pain, and sorrow, some wet with tears and I realize.....we are so blessed.
There is so much more to this story. And, its too long to tell in one blog so I'm breaking it down into a series. God took what seemed like a disaster and turned it into blessing after blessing. And, I don't want to leave out any of the awesome details!