GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN (June 2, 2015) — Covenant missionary Aaron Thompson wept when his teenage nieces who traveled here last week presented him with his birthday gift on Sunday: $13,150 that they had secretly raised for him.
He wrote on his Facebook timeline Sunday that he had “received the best birthday present ever” for his 34th birthday.
Morgan and Raegen Espe raised the money to give Aaron, his wife, Stina, and their two daughters because they knew the Thompsons had been struggling to raise the $15,000 in contributions they need for the year. The stress was becoming almost overwhelming for Aaron.
The girls initially hoped to raise $1,000 when they mailed 168 fundraising letters and asked all the recipients to keep it a secret. They raised the $1,000 from one person in two days. Then the checks kept coming.
Aaron and Stina were sitting on their couch when the girls broke the news and held up a poster that illustrated how much money they had raised. The names of all the contributors were listed on the back.
Morgan, 15, and Raegan, 14, initially had drawn a thermometer to highlight the amount of money they were raising. “Our thermometer was growing, and we had to add more and more paper,” said LaVonne Thompson, Aaron’s mother and the girl’s grandmother.
“Morgan had the idea to draw a plane since they were traveling to Sweden for the first time so they used that as the ‘new thermometer,” LaVonne said. “That also stretched beyond what they imagined. “The cloud had to be added to show our final amount raised.”
Aaron wrote, “When they showed the fundraising amount I broke down crying….I saw all the names of those who gave and I cried even more. It is as if God had heard my cry for help. All at once all the stress, all the anxiety of wondering where the support would come from was gone.”
Aaron added, “Genesis 12 says that we are blessed to be a blessing and that’s definitely what happened to me today.”