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I've Been Bingoed

I shouted, "BINGO!" at the top of my lungs.  I was sitting with Annette and Rev. Mike at a church where the VFW was helping to run Bingo for their youth program, scoping out the possibility of bringing Bingo to Ahiah for our youth.  I had just daubed a yellow blotch on my card, giving me an odd-looking banana line on my card.  I was excited to win, but I was having fun even before I won.  I had always laughed at the idea of playing Bingo, but now that I experienced it for the first time, I understood that it was the whole package that made it fun: the friends, the excitement in the room, and the possibility of winning.

Annette had talked to Lynn McGinnis from the VFW about how it would work, so she asked me what I thought about it.  When I started to understand the possibilities, I got excited about how our youth could benefit from such a big fundraiser.  It seemed like an enormous task, but Annette was excited about it, and we soon had a team of people who were committed to making it happen.  

My first meeting with Annette and Deborah was in April of last year, and we started by creating a layout for the tables in the Fellowship Hall.  We came up with a design for 112 people.  Then we reviewed the program, and I realized we needed to raise $1450 for the prizes.  The numbers started to worry me.  That was a lot of tickets and a lot of money to raise.  I began to relax in November when Bettye came in to drop off $700 in sponsorship money that she had raised from her family and friends (and she brought in even more as time went on).

We started to meet weekly for the last five weeks before the event.  The team had swelled to ten people, and we were all excited and working hard.  The camaraderie of pulling off something big was in the air.  Rev. Leri was planning for the Mardi Gras decorations, Patricia was preparing the prints in our newly reopened Gift Shop, and I spent lots of time creating the program, getting the financial systems in order, and being available to help with numerous details.  When the big day came, I was tired, but when the volunteers showed up to get the show on the road, I was re-energized by their enthusiasm. 

Mardi Gras Bingo was a HUGE success.  Rev. Mike and Frederick were the MCs, and they kept the crowd entertained.  We sold hundreds of the little Leprechaun cards for the two extra games.  Lynn told me that our folks were the friendliest group he had seen, we were great hosts, and he had already put us on his calendar for next year.  

As our guests happily streamed out of the building, I realized I was exhausted but happy.  We counted the money and then made our way home.  I had service the next day, but Marcia said she would do the talk.  As I finished out Sunday with our Prac II class at 6 pm, I knew for sure that I had been Bingoed.

Making Bingo into a verb meant several things to me.  It meant that I was tired for sure, but there was so much more to it than that.  There is also the part of me that was ecstatic over the funds brought in, much of which was from people outside of the Ahiah membership.  There was a sense of pride at a well-done task and the sense that I had a new Demonstration in my life.  The demonstration of what happens when I trust in Spirit to provide the answers and means for something so big that I know I can not do it alone.  That realization carried with it a much bigger prize than that first Bingo I had won so many months ago.  With that demonstration, I could sigh and take a relaxing breath.  

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