Upon founding Restore One, Chris and I told our executive board that we felt God was calling us to build The Anchor House, a safe home for boys exiting the life of sex trafficking, debt free. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, we had the audacious faith to believe God would provide adequately for an $800,000.00 building project. Our board nodded at us with apparent disbelief and just smiled at our youth. I would ask Chris, “Where will this type of money come from?” wondering if The Anchor House was a pipe dream. Were we wasting our 20s on a vision that would turn to dust? The campaign to build The Anchor House proceeded, and as we started to fundraise, money came in, but not nearly enough.
The odds shifted one April Fools’ morning. While preparing for a staff meeting, Chris called me with unexpected news. When he instructed me to sit, I thought, “He must have gotten into a wreck on his motorcycle.” I braced to hear how terrible the situation was. Listening to his rapid speech, I heard, “Restore One received a donation for $600,000!” Indeed, so very shocking! What a supernatural occurrence!
At the staff meeting, we all stared at the check, counting the zeros making sure we saw correctly. With fingers crossed and prayers lifted, we waited for the donation to clear, and it did. Incredibly, a few months later that same donor gave another $200,000! A person with whom we had no personal connection donated $800,000 to The Anchor House! It was built debt free! What a miracle!
Now looking back, it seems so appropriate God would orchestrate April Fools’ Day to be the day the initial donation was received.
Historically, God seems to move in unusual ways to astonish all who consider themselves wise.
Recently I was having a conversation with a woman who has spent countless years in the nonprofit world. She was intensely curious about the how I kept Restore One healthy and thriving and about my ability to fundraise. I explained the narrative of how the ministry’s vision began in my early 20s, the story of the miraculous donations, and our current efforts. She paused and said, “Well, I guess God can use anyone.” Quickly, she pulled back her words. However, I laughed at her statement due to its stark truth and its absurdity in our discussion.
The days following that conversation, I caught myself cursing that very passion that brought Chris and me to begin Restore One. I pondered, “Did she say what many spectators thought and failed to mention?” I blamed our choices on innocent youth, our risk as pure stupidity and gullibility. On Good Friday, I felt the Spirit urging me to recant my assessment. Though young, our actions were audacious, risky, brave, and bold! Chris and I unknowing embraced a mission baring heartache, warfare, calamity, and toil. We did it all for beauty that was vastly larger than our tender hands could ever hold. In our tenacious faith, we followed the voice of God in the wilderness, believing for the vision to come to pass.
On Easter, I followed the Spirit’s invitation to bless the energy and zeal of my 20s, recognizing my youth was a grace for the season. I’m profoundly grateful for the mystery found in that stunningly fantastic April Fools’ Day and all the other stories I hold dear to heart. I’m mindful that the future may look starkly different, yet I feel the desire provoking my heart to create space for more beauty and for many more April Fools’ Days.
Anna is passionate, a lover of God and sunrises. She is a wanna be poet and pour over coffee connoisseur. And in her garden she grows Drift Roses (of all things). She is a Master Level Social Worker and a 200 Registered Yoga Teacher. In 2012, along with her husband Chris, she co-founded Restore One, an anti-trafficking ministry that serves men and boys. Journeying through her own recovery process, she understands that healing is a painful yet beautiful path we must take to receive freedom. Anna believes healing is possible for everyone. Anna enjoys throwing pottery, writing and teaching yoga and spending time with Chris.