A 33-year-old preacher's kid from Atlanta recently raised $30,000 in 18 hours to build a kindergarten in Vietnam.
It was his first shot at fundraising but even more surprising is the fact that the money was raised through his blog.
Jonathan Acuff, 33, is the writer of the satirical Stuff Christians Like blog, which was started as a reaction to the popular blog Stuff White People Like. The Christian blog is less than two years old but the site has drawn hundreds of thousands of online readers and Acuff already has a book deal with Christian publishing giant Zondervan.
Some of his posts include "#654. Staring at someone in the choir during the sermon"; "#327. Conferences, AKA the Christian Prom"; "#39. Giving advice on things we've never experienced"; and "#240. Kirk Cameron."
After more than 600 posts, Acuff took the bold step of pursuing what his 6-year-old daughter inspired. With more than 75,000 readers a month, the blogger plopped on them a fundraising project.
"Right now, right here, you and me and the Stuff Christians Like community have the chance to be much bigger than a blog," Acuff wrote in his blog last week. "I am growing overwhelmed but the sense that God has given us all a tremendous gift called, 'being alive on Monday' and He's holding His breath in eager anticipation to see what we'll do next.
"And what's next for Stuff Christians Like is that we're going to build a kindergarten in Vietnam. (No segue whatsoever; we just jumped into that, didn't we?)"
He was challenged by the oldest, Laura Elizabeth, of his two daughters who one year ago was shocked to discover there were kids her age starving in other parts of the world.
While looking through a book together, they came across a picture of a little boy who was starving and whose ribs were sticking out.
"She asked, 'What's that?' I told her, 'That's a little boy who doesn't have enough food to eat.' She thought for a few seconds and then responded, 'That's not real though. That's pretend right?'" Acuff recounted.
In partnership with Samaritan's Purse, a relief organization led by evangelist Franklin Graham, Acuff launched a $30,000 donation drive on his blog to build a six-room kindergarten in Hoang Then village in the Phong Tho district, which is located in the northwest section of Vietnam. The school would assist more than 200 children.
Acuff didn't know what to expect, noting that $30,000 felt like $19 million when he made the appeal on his blog, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
To his surprise, the money was raised within the same day he posted his idea.
"Did a blog, that isn't even based on an original idea, come together and do something much bigger than a blog?" he wrote as he gave glory to God.
"[Y]ou can't watch this today and think God is small. Or that blogs are just blogs."
StuffChristiansLike.net is now on its way to building a second kindergarten in Vietnam.
"The school is a platform where Vietnamese Christians live out their faith," Acuff explained. "Samaritan's Purse Vietnam staff will work with the kindergarten teachers, opening the door to sharing their faith. They provide the ancillary curriculum of hygiene, sanitation, gardening, etc. which helps create a platform to explain 'Why we came' to the area."
So far, the blog has collected nearly $46,000 of the $60,000 needed for the two schools. Acuff hopes to reach the goal by the end of the year.
On the Web: http://stuffchristianslike.net/