Why our family will not be shopping at Academy

As many of you know, our oldest son Michael is raising money — $30,000 —  to build a classroom for a school in Uganda. A couple months ago we hosted a silent auction to help with this endeavor.  It was a daunting task, and part of the deal was that we had to go to businesses around town asking for donations. Asking for stuff is never fun, but when it’s for an 11 year old kid to build a school in Africa, it’s not so bad.

I wrote a letter explaining that Michael was building a classroom in Gulu and he was doing so because God had “set it on his heart”. His words, not mine. I also listed the date, time and location of the auction before making the ask.

Eric, Michael and a dear friend spent an entire Saturday delivering letters and collecting donations. When they got to Academy, a very helpful member of management took the letter, read it and gave them a soda (it was a hot day) and told them to check back in a couple weeks. He was going to present it at a meeting, but he felt they would be able to donate something.

A couple weeks passed and I called back and spoke with another member of the team and she reviewed the letter and about 30 minutes later called me back and said to come by to pick up a $25 gift card. Michael and I arrived and gave her our tax exempt letter and a second copy of the request letter and she took off. She returned a few minutes later and explained to me that it was okay that Michael was collecting money for Restore International, and it was okay that the fundraiser was being held at a church, but Academy would be unable to donate due to the fact that Michael felt that God had set it on his heart to start this project. She kept pointing to that part of the letter as her reasoning.

I was sure she wasn’t saying what I thought she was, so I called my husband and told him the story.  He contacted that young lady’s boss and sure enough, I was right. Academy chose not to donate because my son put in the letter that God told him to do this. Had God’s name not been there, they would have donated.

My husband had two discussions with the manager, and we discussed it in our home. We are well aware that businesses and people are free to donate to whomever they choose. However, in this day where everyone is asked to be respectful and not discriminate against anyone based upon their religion or what shampoo they use on their cat, my child experienced blatant discrimination for following his Lord.

Needless to say, we were upset.

But Michael, with his beautiful heart, stepped in and said, “If they choose not to believe, it’s not our fault. Let’s just let it go.”

Ultimately, we did not need Academy’s $25. God came through — just as He has at every step of this adventure — with a successful auction and doubled the amount Michael had previously raised. In September his total was $9,000.00. It now stands at $28,100.00.

So many friends, family, acquaintances, business owners, and even strangers have contributed to our son’s God-given vision.

God doesn’t need us to fight for Him. He’s already won the battles.

But we’ve decided that we will not be stopping by Academy for anything this Christmas. And we will not be going there for any of our three sons’ sporting equipment needs, now or in the future. When Jesus was sending His disciples out to into the world to minister and heal, he told them to leave and shake the dust from their feet of the homes and cities that did not welcome them or listen. That is what our family will be doing in this case. 

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