Some of my favorite paintings in the @52thingsofbeauty project have been through nominations on the website! One of the most rewarding things about this project has been painting for people that I’ve never met. It is so much fun to hear stories of people choosing to make a difference especially when their stories have reached across state lines! In North Carolina, Jasmine nominated her Aunt Ashlyn and Uncle Shane Ferguson as “Beautiful Givers”. There are so many good people in this world, like really good people that make a difference in ways that are so amazing. These are two of them. They have chosen to take a hard situation and turn it into a way to help others financially who are going through similar situations! Here is their incredible story from their organization website http://www.saharasproject.com
I would like to share the love story of how Sahara’s Project came to be.
It all started when I met my lovely wife Ashlyn. We had our first date at sixteen, and many more for the next eight years. In September 1995 we made it official and pledged to spend the rest of our lives together. After three years of blissful marriage, we were thrilled to learn that we would be welcoming a new member into our small family. We named our little miracle Sahara Lynn and had such wonderful plans for her. But when her day of arrival came, we lost her.
At the time, we didn’t understand the reason she was taken from us, and had to believe that the Lord had much grander plans for her than we could even imagine. Time does heal but doesn’t forget. We have used the very challenging and difficult times to rebuild and make us stronger.
We now have five wonderful boys, ages two to seventeen. Each child is a blessing and we are so thankful for them.
One of our youngest, (Cash) became ill when he was one year old, resulting in a brain bleed that left his left side paralyzed, and his motor skills in a state where he needed to relearn arm and leg functions.
Experiencing Cash’s struggle has shed a major light upon the way we view children with disabilities that need therapy to help restore their health and mobility. This is something we never gave much thought to until we had a child with challenges. It made me realize how much I take for granted when things are going smoothly and good health is bountiful.
The more Ashlyn and I work with Cash in therapy and see other parents and single mothers trying to provide the needed therapy for their children, and falling short because of financial reasons, or don’t have enough time to make ends meet; the more we see a need for provision and assistance.
Knowing the struggles and challenges that these parents and children are faced with, firsthand; has made us very passionate about helping.
We have a heart for underprivileged children, foster children, and single parents. We can’t fix everything, but we can do our part and feel that sometimes just the smallest things matter in the biggest way.
Sahara’s Project is a way to provide help to those who need it, and a way for our Sahara to be remembered forever.
Shane & Ashlyn Ferguson.
Isn’t that amazing? What a beautiful way to remember their daughter! Shane and Ashlyn you are truly an inspiration to so many people. You saw a need and jumped into action. Thank you Jasmine for sharing the story of your Aunt and Uncle! They are “Beautiful Givers” indeed! If you are looking to donate to an organization this holiday season… this would be a great one!