The Birth of Orphans Treasure Box

written by Beth Wendling, founder of Orphans Treasure Box

God tapped me on the shoulder and said “let’s go!”

Honestly, 14 months ago, God and I had hit a lull. A dry patch. A routine. I prayed when something drastic came up or at mealtimes. Other times? Not so much. Reading my Bible was a “when I can fit it in” activity. My heart was lukewarm at best. I defined my Christianity by going to church, having Christian friends, giving money when moved and voting Republican.

But, my life changed with the stroke of a keypad. It was such a simple thing. I got on Amazon to sell some unwanted textbooks and when I did, something deep inside awakened. Something I had been missing in my day to day life. I was missing the eternal.

Because, in the midst of selling these books, I got an idea…and it was RADICAL. Ironically, I happened to be reading the book RADICAL for our small group at Windsor Road Christian Church. The idea? Get people to donate their unwanted books to me, sell them on Amazon and give 100% of the profit to orphans. It felt as if God tapped me on the shoulder and said “let’s go!” Orphans Treasure Box, a ministry raising money for orphans, was born.

That was 5000 plus books ago….after we raised over $20,000 last year for orphanages and Christian families here in Illinois who are adopting older and special needs orphans. And, what a year it has been. Helping pay the airfare of 5 orphans joining their forever families in Champaign. Buying new mattresses for an orphanage in Peru. Supporting Compassion in their rescue of orphans sold into sexual slavery. Buying construction supplies to assist in the building of a transitional home for orphans who age out of the system. And the list goes on. God brought committed volunteers to join me, established us as a registered non-profit in the state of Illinois and has grown us into a store that sells over 150 books a week for orphans and the families adopting them.

A few months ago, I woke in the middle of the night to my 5 year old son Jonathan crying out for me. After soothing him back to sleep, I lay there with tears running down my face. My mind was filled with the image of millions of orphans calling out in the night. Some on trash heaps in Peru. Some in cramped Russian orphanages. Some in their fifth foster home here in the US. “God, I long to go to them. I know it must break your heart, wanting to go to them, too.” SLAMMED into my brain was the screaming thought “I AM WITH THEM. WHAT BREAKS MY HEART IS THEY DON’T KNOW IT.” At that moment, I knew the purpose of Orphans Treasure Box. With every check we write to a family, with every mattress we buy, with every hungry belly we fill, we are saying GOD IS WITH YOU. God is with you. He hasn’t forgotten; He is present.

My life is no longer routine. I hunger after God in a way I hadn’t since I first followed Him. And, each precious day is eternal. God is with the orphan, and in a fresh way, I see Him with me, moment by moment.