When Todd Stiles, lead pastor of Iowa’s First Family Church, was getting dressed to go to the mall with his wife last week, he did not expect to return home with more money than he left with.
Stiles and his wife, who have worked with Send Relief in the past have pastored within the Send Network church planting model for many years, so they have a variety of Send Relief bags, hats and other accessories.
Not thinking anything of it, Stiles donned a Send Relief hat on the way out the door and drove his wife to a popular athletics store to shop for new shoes. They were in the middle of browsing when a salesclerk approached them and asked what the cap’s symbol represented. Stiles explained Send Relief’s mission to meet physical needs and bring the hope of the gospel to vulnerable communities and families suffering from disasters, adding that Send Relief volunteers had helped clean up in the past Des Moines floods. The clerk expressed interest and was appreciative of the flood response team’s efforts and left them to finish perusing the aisles.
On their way out, the couple was stopped again.
Jogging to the door with a piece of paper in his hand, the clerk asked, “Could I give you a donation for Send Relief? I’m a man of faith, and I’m feeling prompted to give to this incredible work. Could you make sure the check gets to them?” Shocked at this outpouring of generosity from a stranger, Stiles responded that he was actually meeting with North American Mission Board president and Send Relief partner Kevin Ezell in two days and could deliver it directly.
Stiles shared, “Regardless of the dollar amount, this act of selflessness itself is what made the impact. He was a complete and total stranger, but this man obeyed the prodding of the Holy Spirit the very moment he was prompted. I haven’t worn that hat in six months and just felt like wearing it that day, but it ended up being for a far greater purpose.”
Stiles’ wife agreed, commenting on their way home, “Never underestimate the importance of SWAG.”
If you would like to purchase a Send Relief hat or other available products, you can browse a variety of options on our website today.
Published March 9, 2021