By Fr. Justin Fulton
Jesus, I Trust in You.
It is pretty easy to say this. It is a lot tougher to live it. In a world of hurt, anxiety, and despair, life is tough. Many people lose hope. Many struggle with faith in God.
Our CSS outreach in Auburn has endured horrific personal tragedies in the last month. On Saturday, July 20, I was notified by the manager of the Auburn thrift store—my aunt Lana Fulton—that she was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer, spread to the liver. It was a huge shock.
That same evening of July 20, we learned that Auburn thrift store employee Julie Kriefels’ son Cody was tragically killed in an ATV accident. The community and our agency were rocked.
We always strive to take care of our people first. Our agency rallied around our Auburn team and helped the Kriefels family with the grieving process. And we wanted to make sure Lana was taken care of, too. With half of our Auburn employees affected by personal tragedies, we decided to close the thrift store in Auburn for the time being. We also decided to keep all of our Auburn employees at full pay despite the store closing. We wanted to do what was right and we realize folks depend upon their paychecks. However—and it hurts me to even type this—it did cross my mind, how much money we would lose with no revenue coming in and expenses continuously going out. It hurts as a priest to think this way, but prudence requires it. But we decided as a management group to take care of our people first. We wanted to do what was right. We decided if we took care of our people first, God would take care of us.
Fast forward three weeks. With the Auburn store being closed, we had our annual CSS Golf Tournament and Auction Fundraiser. And guess what? The golf outing fundraiser set a new record for amount of money raised by the amount of funds lost by the Auburn store’s closing.
We decided to trust God and treat our people right. And God supplied and rewarded our trust! Oh we of little faith… we should have never doubted that Jesus would take care of us.
Lana passed away Aug. 10. Julie Kriefels is now back to work and the Auburn store is open. We will move on, trusting in God’s providence.
We wish to thank all of our Auburn staff, volunteers, and benefactors for their perseverance. They have been living witnesses of the Gospel—trusting in our good God even amongst deep personal tragedy.
And we wish to thank God for never forgetting about His people.
Jesus, We Trust in You!