The summer of 2020 could be described as fearful, unsettling, and sad. It certainly hasn’t been normal. But in the middle of it all, 12-year old Olivia Van Laan kept one cheerful summertime tradition alive this year: the lemonade stand.
“Olivia’s Lemonade Stand” has been open for business for the past seven summers, starting when Olivia was only five years old. Olivia prepares and sells the quintessential summer drink, operating behind a home-made wooden stand in her family’s driveway, and then donates her profits to a worthy cause.
Young Olivia is a fundraising force. She has donated to the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, Kids Food Basket, Bible League International, and her church’s initiative to build houses in Guatemala. In 2018, Olivia raised over $8,000 for The Esther School, and last year she donated $12,802 to Hope Unexpected.
This year, she wanted her earnings to go to Acts 29…but how could a normal, face to face lemonade stand survive the summer of COVID-19?
Olivia and her family, all masked up, did open their traditional driveway stand. But they also set up a page for online giving. “We know this year is different,” Olivia’s mom, Brooke, wrote on Facebook. “Corona is here…If you feel comfortable giving online this year, we will miss you but we get it and love you to pieces!”
But at the close of this year’s lemonade fund-raising, Brooke wrote this: “Acts 29 will be blessed to receive $3,588.40 to help spread the wonderful news of Jesus! Thank you, all of you, who came out!!!!”
We couldn’t agree more. We’re grateful for the resounding impact of a girl and her family selling lemonade for the sake of gospel mission around the world. If Olivia can accomplish so much, imagine what we can do together, by God’s grace, to give, support, and encourage church planting?
The book of Proverbs says that good news from a far country is “like cold water to a thirsty soul” (25:25). In a time when we might feel overwhelmed with bad news, this gift to Acts 29 feels like a drink of cold lemonade on a hot day.