One of the truly amazing by-products of our involvement with Mission 1:27 has been experiencing the generosity and support of others who also have a passion for orphans all over the world. Much of that support has come from our local community in Chapel Hill, as well as family and friends of our church members from other parts of the country. But more and more, we are starting to hear from complete strangers from all over the US who would like to show love and care for these orphans.
Last week, I received one such email through our website. Out of nowhere, the following note arrived:
“Would you be interested in receiving a box of soccer equipment to take to the orphan children in Russia? If so, let me know. I am the founder of an initiative called Peace Is The Goal that provides soccer balls to kids in need throughout the world.”
We get a lot of spam, so I was naturally a little skeptical. But after a little research, I found out this note…and the kid (yes, kid) who founded the initiative…are indeed for real.
“Peace is the Goal” was founded by Mitch Arnold in October, 2006 when he was just 13 years old. Since that time, Mitch has completed 103 projects which have delivered more than 2,500 pieces of soccer equipment (worth more than $30,000) to orphanages, schools, missions, churches, agencies and individuals that house, shelter, educate and provide direction to kids in 51 countries. To learn more about Mitch and “Peace is the Goal,” click on these links:
Soon after emailing back and forth with Mitch, a 31-pound box of “soccer love” arrived on my doorstep. Included in the box:
- 12 soccer balls
- 8 soccer field cones
- 7 pairs of cleats
- 5 player pinneys
- 4 large soccer ball storage bag
- 2 player instruction toolkits
- 2 soccer ball backpacks
- 1 ball pump
- 1 pair of shinguards
WOW – what an amazing offering to the kids in Slobodskoy! We are honored to deliver these gifts from Mitch during our trip in two weeks. We promise to take lots of pictures and video to share with Mitch and others.
But maybe my favorite part of this story happens at the end. I let Mitch know that Mission 1:27 was an official North Carolina 501(c)3 corporation, and as such, we could provide whatever tax receipt or documentation he needed. Here is his short reply:
“I am not a 501c3. I am just a middle-class high school kid who tries to make good stuff happen for kids around the world.”
What a great response. And what a great kid. Thanks, Mitch, for giving us a gift well beyond the soccer equipment – you’ve also given us hope that one person can make a big difference in the world. You give us hope for our own kids…and hope for our dear friends in Russia. We look forward to passing along your story of hope along to some special kids in Slobodskoy who can use all the love and hope they can get.
I have great faith in the future of our society if we have a bunch of Mitch Arnolds around in the next generation. He certainly has given all of us hope for the future.
With grateful hearts,
P.S. We are just 12 days away from our next trip to Russia. Look for more blog posts as we get closer to departure – and we are hoping to blog daily while in Russia. Thanks again for everyone’s continued support, prayers and love.