We Bought a Zoo (and then some)

My own perceived cleverness at the title of this article is making me giggle. Probably more than it should. Please forgive me for being cheesy!

I’ve shared about our plan to get rid of things, our plan for having a garage sale, and our plan to donate all of our proceeds to World Vision. Let me make one thing very clear before you read on: we didn’t want to. Both Hans and I thought up approximately 194 different things to do with that money that did not involve the word “donation”. Paying off debt, buying a bed from Ikea, new shoes, savings, landscaping supplies, a new purse, etc.


We knew that donating is what God had put on our hearts to do.
We knew that Matthew 19:21 was pretty clear about God’s thoughts on possessions.
We knew that He would provide for our needs.
We knew that He had given us other ways to pay off our debt.

And we still grumbled…ugh.

Isn’t it always like that? In the face of extravagant provision and extravagant blessing, we grumble when God asks us to obey and give up just a smidgen of it? When God invites us to be a part of the kingdom-building work He’s busting out around the globe, why do we complain?

Because we’re selfish sinners not yet fully sanctified.

But oh Lord, I want to be.

Let me pause here to make a very clear distinction: good words don’t save us. Only Jesus can do that. Good works are the evidence of a life saved by Jesus.

So, Hans and I moved forward with the garage sale. Three days, lots of bargaining, and approximately 41 bug bites later, we had made a tidy $380! Seriously…$380 from stuff we had sitting around the house, stuff we didn’t need and stuff we definitely don’t miss.

Ya’ll, even during the sale, we would cruise through the house and look for other stuff to put out there. Simplifying is fun and ridiculously addictive 😉

After we had torn down the sale, we did decide to spend $20 on Chipotle. Because:
1. Guacamole.
2. I didn’t want to cook dinner.
3. We didn’t think God would mind.

When we sat down to look through World Vision’s Gift Catalog, the “joyful” part of giving did kick in. It was actually really fun to have $360 to spend. The World Vision Gift Catalog is basically a way to buy practical and sustainable gifts for people who need them. You can buy chickens, goats, cows, bikes, school supplies, beehives, clothing, medicine, vocational training, and a bunch of other things. Animals give people an extra source of food and income (consuming and selling milk, cheese, eggs, etc.), supporting education gives third-world children the tools to improve their lives and countries, and clothing and shelter give people necessities that we take for granted.

Here’s a video that explains more…


The picture at the beginning of this article is my World Vision sponsored child, her father, and the cow that I bought for them a few years ago through the Gift Catalog. I love that picture…it’s a poignant reminder that $75 can mean hope for a family across the world.

So, here’s what bought with $360…
– Four Chickens | $50
– A Sheep | $126
– Education for One Child | $32
– Share of a School | $100
– Career Training for Two Women | $50

I feel like we bought a zoo. And then some 🙂

World Vision also has a Handcrafted Gifts section, where you can buy things like jewelry and coffee AND help people in need at the same time!

Read about World Vision’s Financial Accountability.

What do you think about the Gift Catalog?

Under Grace,

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Other Lovely Reads…
Lessons in Marriage | Jesus > Everything
How Faith and Blogging Go Together
A Super Simple DIY Pillow
National Stationary Show Shenanigans (I lust after stationary)
No Bake Energy Bites

Linking up with Chantel at A Harvest of Blessing!

A Harvest of Blessing

12 thoughts on “We Bought a Zoo (and then some)

    • Hey there, Elise! Thank you for stopping by!

      I can’t take credit for the idea, it was all God! And He’s the one who gave Hans and I a giving heart…like I said, neither of us wanted to do it!!

  1. I love this post! It is so encouraging to read how God is working through others. I love the idea of giving sustainable things. I’m definitely adding the World Vision Catalog to my things to look at! Thanks for sharing!

    • Hey Martha! I’m SO glad that this article encouraged you!

      Yes, my husband and I also really love the idea of giving sustainable things. Especially giving livestock…it means that the family has an additional source of nourishment, as well as income! I hope you enjoy poking through the Gift Catalog!!

  2. Wow-dang! I want you to read that as one, continuous word because that’s how I thought it. That is SO cool that you two made that much cash and then donated it all! Ah, such wisdom, too. I know that I am often a grumbler and this post just gave me a heart check. I loved that you shared all of the stuff you were able to gift to people. That’s some serious motivation to hop on over and give a cow myself!

    Thanks for sharing today, Rachel. As always, loved it.

    • Haha…”wow-dang!”…that’s a new one, Jordyn!

      Like I said…Hans and I didn’t really want to donate it. I can’t even begin to pretend that we’re saintly do-gooders, because we totally wanted to keep it. And oh Jordyn, we grumbled!!

      I would definitely suggest checking out the Gift Catalog, though!! It is really fun to see how drastically you can change someone’s life for relatively not that much money!!

      Thank you for your encouragement and your reading, friend 🙂

  3. I LOVE this Rachel! Thanks for sharing your heart….and what was behind your heart through it all, and for not coming off as a fakeperfectladywhohasitalltogether…..but as a real woman- who wanted to buy shoes- but chose instead to do something that really matters. I am encouraged and humbled, and that’s a good thing.

    One of my friends told me recently that her boyfriend bought a cow out of the gift catalog for her for Valentine’s Day- I loved that…cause I mean, do we need more chocolate, or more flowers that will totally die??? hmmm. I could definitely dig the cow gift idea.

    • Amy! Hello, sweet friend!

      Haha! Nope, definitely not a “fakeperfectladywhohasitalltogether” by any means! I want to be as honest as I can be on OYD, and be very upfront about the fact that I’m a selfish sinner. I’m glad that my honesty can encourage you. That’s one of the (many!) things I appreciate about you, too…you’re honest on Lovely Does It, and that makes it all the more enjoyable to read your blog 🙂

      That’s awesome!! Ahh! What an epic Valentine’s Day gift!! For my dad’s birthday a few years ago, my little sister bought a bike for a girl in India through the Gift Catalog. My dad is a major cyclist, so the gift was perfect.

      You’re right – we totally don’t need more chocolate or flowers. Livestock for the win!!

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