At only 15 years old, Delana’s life took a surprise detour recently at a youth conference with Village Baptist Church. As her fellow students each pulled a card that challenged them to do something “out-of-the-box” for God, Delana’s card took it to the next level. She was to simplify her life by selling all but 10 outfits in her closet, donate the money to a women and children’s shelter, and then go volunteer there.
Undaunted, Delana took on the challenge, choosing Shepherd’s Door to bless with her time and a $100 donation.
(Make a donation today to Portland Rescue Mission to give hope and restore life to men, women and children in 2016).
“At the beginning, both my mom and I were nervous. We don’t have a lot of money, and so this seemed like a really big deal,” she explained. As a single mom, Kathy, along with Delana, knows what it’s like to live on a tight budget. With a growing teenager in the house, and a host of other bills to keep up with, Kathy knew following through with this challenge would be tough. But she also knew she had to get out of God’s way, and let Delana hold true to her commitment.
“With great sacrifice comes great reward,” Kathy said. “At no point was Delana looking at the card and trying to cheat her way around it, or earn recognition. She just knew she needed to obey and do it regardless of the difficulty.”
Like so many other teenage girls, prior to receiving her challenge, clothes were an important part of Delana’s identity. “I had a clothes chart, and I would plan out what I was going to wear for at least two weeks in advance,” she explained. “I didn’t want have to wear the same thing so often that people would take notice.”
Fast-forward to now, and Delana’s perspective has completely changed. She has enough outfits for just over a week … and she couldn’t be happier. “I may not have as many clothes now, but I still know that God thinks I’m beautiful, even if I have to wear the same outfit every 10 days,” she said. “How you feel inside, and how you act, radiates a lot more than how you look.”
Delana’s selfless example of sacrificial giving served as a great encouragement to Christine Ourada, Director of New Life Ministry for women and children at Shepherd’s Door. “In this society, teenagers are so often caught up in how the world tells them how they should look. Yet, here’s this young lady that put all of that aside,” Christine explained. “She sacrificed her comfort to help others, and set an example that we can all do something to help others in need.”
(This story is part of our 2016 Winter Newsletter; the PDF of our newsletter is available now. Discover 10 ways you can help people in need including volunteering, donating clothes and more at: www.PortlandRescueMission.org/Join.)