By Linda Hanson
This story started approximately 9 years ago.
I was asked to join some work gals and take a Mosaic class in Northeast Minneapolis, little did I know almost a decade later how that action would one day turn into something that would reach across the ocean to Africa.
Two years ago when I was asked to go to Tanzania to visit and help out at an orphanage I immediately said yes!! You see I had taken care of elderly parents and buried them and raised 4 boys and had just welcomed my 3rd granddaughter to our wonderful family.
God had prepared me for such a time as this. He challenged me to do something bold again. Because you see even taking a pretty simple mosaic class was a stretch years ago.
In Tanzania my heart became one with these girls and all the adversities they had faced in their young lives. After leaving Tanzania and coming home to all we are blessed to have in this country, it took me a few months to process all I had seen. See this wasn’t a movie setting this was real life.
God protected us on this trip and put these girls forever embedded in my heart. My three granddaughters will likely never experience such poverty or have to endure the pain and suﬀering these girls have experienced. After processing I felt we needed to do something for these beautiful girls. A fundraising idea was on our radar but for what???
Jan and I talked many times and I agreed to connect my friends and family and again step out of my comfort zone and talk about my experience. We birthed the idea of A Gathering Place. I had a mission and a vision!! Ideas ﬂowed and the fundraiser was held at my house.
In the planning stage we were trying to think of something that would make this outdoor are special and to let the girls know that a group of people mostly from Minnesota, Colorado and Washington would always be thinking and praying for them. A sign or plaque came to mind, but how and what would it look like?
Then Jan said remember that Mosaic you made years ago?? Wow, that would be cool!! On a whim I decided to e-mail Mercury Mosaics in Northeast Minneapolis, which by the way had moved and expanded twice, I had been following them ever since I took the class. I had met Mercedes, the owner before and was so impressed by her success and talent. Within hours I received an e-mail back from someone named Laura, she was asking questions and before you know it they were oﬀering to make a sign f or us to send to Tanzania. Completely designed and created by them.
How could I have known that that simple class would lead me to where we are now. We have raised the money for A Gathering Place and they are about to get started.
When I picked up the sign yesterday I was met with so much enthusiasm and love!!! Their operation is so impressive and they hand make all the tiles. So, literally everyone had a hand on this project!! As we presented Mercedes with a picture and thank you, it was hard to hold in the emotion of this moment. All these people that are invested in this project will get to see pictures of their work and the faces of these girls and those that come after them for years to come.
Someday, I pray, I hope to return to see the are we raised money for and placed an awesome reminder of the love for those less fortunate than us.
As you can see, it doesn’t take a trip to Africa to get involved!! Just a vision………