By SAM HOUSEHOLDER
THE GOSHEN NEWS
GOSHEN — The annual Michana Mennonite Relief Sale had another successful year at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds Saturday.
The auction and sale, which benefits the Mennonite Central Committee and its worldwide mission efforts, included a garage sale, baked goods sales, food sales and the quilt auction.
Thousands of people attended the event, which began at 8 a.m.
One of the main events was the quilt auction, which saw more than 200 quilts go up for auction and drew many spectators and bidders.
According to organizers, one of the largest prices of the last decade went to an intricately pieced and appliqued quilt donated by Maple Leaf Quilters. The quilt was sold to Carrie and Kevin Lambright of Shipshewana for $10,500.
“We’ve been here as supporters for a good number of years,” Kevin said. “We have hearts for giving and helping people. We were here last night selling strawberry shortcake and it’s been sort of an annual activity we’ve participated in.”
The couple said they bought or five or six quilts throughout the morning.
“A lot of random selection, although the special quilt (we) just purchased had a unique stitching to it and quality that took our eye for one thing,” he said.
The Lambrights said they did not intend to spend so much money but they felt it was the right thing to do.
“I guess we feel that God has certainly been very gracious and has blessed us beyond our expectations or even thinking,” Kevin said. “My point is you can never out-give God and it goes to a worthy cause and it’s his anyway. We’re here called to be stewards of what he’s entrusted to us.
“It’s part of our life,” Kevin said. “And we believe very strongly that God has only given us things to be stewards of and so it’s his. So if it’s for the betterment of his kingdom, we feel very strongly about that.”
Kevin said that they hope the money goes far in helping others in need.
“Hopefully the kingdom will be expended because of everything that is coming whether it’s at a dollar a time or if it’s 10,000 at a time,” he said.
Auctioneer Loren Beachy, who has helped with the relief sale for the last several years, said being a part of the high-priced quilt was fun for him as well.
“Well, obviously the anticipation was high beforehand and the real serious quilt buyers that know the fine quilts were here and they were ready,” he said. “I was very excited and psyched up about it and they were, too.
“Just like anything else, like hitting a game-winning shot or something like that, when you get to be part of a record ... it’s special.
“It’s special to see the blessing that God gives to it and it’s special to think you never know who all is going to be helped with the money that comes from it,” he said.
“On the other side of it, what makes it special is that people are willing to give such a big amount of their money, sometimes if they don’t even get a quilt or get anything substantial, physical, back from it.
“It’s special to see where it goes and where it comes from,” he said.
As an auctioneer Beachy said it’s easier to get people to open their wallets when they know it’s supporting a worthy cause like the MCC.
“People are more willing, which is understandable,” he said. “They know where the money is going. It’s not just going to make somebody rich, it’s going to help a worthy cause,” he said.
Quilt auction chairwoman Mayfra Maust said the auction followed the typical pattern of starting slow before prices started going up as bidding increased.
Maust said that the committee doesn’t come into the auction with a dollar amount in mind, simply they want to get as much money as they can for MCC. She said that despite not having the money to spend in the auction, she gets her excitement from helping raise the money for the missions through donating her time.
“It feels really gratifying to me to be able to give my time so that people who have the funds can give them and make that much difference in the world situations,” she said. “It does feel really good to be a part of something like that.”
Maust said that the people who are so giving and supportive are what makes her most proud of the auction.
“The people that attend this sale and support MCC are willing to do what they can and give of what they have been given to try and make a difference and I’m proud of that,
“I’m proud to be a part of that and this community can support making a difference in that way,” she said.