For months Reach Out Honduras has been awaiting the I.R.S. approval of 501c3 status that would give donors a tax deduction for their contributions. The designation has sometimes felt like asking for a worldly stamp of approval for this organization that serves God, but it is also a set standard that indicates a certain legitimacy. It's been challenging to be patient with the dreams and ideas waiting for word of the approval. Yesterday, the ROH Board of Directors was scheduled to meet, but the 501c3 application that was still pending was casting a long shadow over the meeting agenda.
At Laura's request, I placed a call to the representative yesterday. The ringing was met with his voicemail and I left a message hoping against hope that he would call back. Or that the letter with our approval would appear in the Waits's post office box. That somehow the news would come in answer to so many prayers for this status to be granted.
At around 1:00, my cell phone rang downstairs. I tore down the stairs as the idea that it could be the representative with an answer. Heart-hammering, but too late, I saw the area code that was either the I.R.S. or a sales call that was going to get answered. The phone dumped the call to voicemail while fumbling fingers tried to unlock the touch screen. I had to wait while the caller left a message before calling back, but did so without listening to the message.
The representative answered the call back, and he looked up Reach Out Honduras's information. Stomach in knots, heart hammering, and forgetting to breathe, I heard him say, "Oh, that was approved on on October 1st... Haven't you received our letter yet?" EEEEEEEE! (Fortunately, the shrieking was kept internal.) I thanked him, and was given the address where the letter was sent and a phone number to again change the mailing address listed. He assured me that the letter was a formality, and our group was welcome to proceed with any plans. Even as we have been praying for the approval over the past weeks, God had already provided exactly what was needed. We just did not know it yet.
Hanging up the phone, I, um, ran, laughing out loud at desperately praying for what was already given, through the house as animals scattered seeking cover from which to peer out at my apparent loss of sanity. The sheer relief and celebration of the moment was utterly overwhelming. After the initial reaction, I found the phone numbers for our friends in Honduras, and phoned one number only to fail in reaching a person. The second call yielded Alex who heard the news, and passed it along to Laura with the phone. They totally got the "EEEEEEEE!" from which I'd felt the need to protect the I.R.S. representative's ear.
There are so many possibilities open to Reach Out Honduras. Even with the U.S. economy still shuddering from the contractions of the last couple of years, there are people choosing to give to fund the ministry in Puerto Lempira. With the 501c3 designation, those givers will receive a small worldly return in the form of a tax break. Last night's meeting brought new opportunities that will no doubt be detailed here in the future in hopes that Gentle Reader will pray for and potentially partner with us in some way to benefit the children of Puerto Lempira who are still vulnerable in so many ways, but who have a team of people who are praying for them and now have increased potential to help fill the bellies and minds of those children who have already heard that Jesus wants to fill their hearts.