Big Enough Faith….!

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”
by Thomas Aquinas

The month of April is drawing to a close and as I look back at the month, I realize there has been much to talk about and be thankful for. I recall how eager I was to see April begin. I wanted to get into action with the “Big Parking Lot Sale”.  At the first of the month I was already interacting with local “Friends” and getting commitments for donations. Promises to donate started coming in…Thank God. Similar to the old train engine pulling from the station…slow and  determined. Then, it is moving faster and finally going almost too fast to stop.

“Friends” is not your typical organization or business. To try to gather enough local “Friends” who do not normally interact or gather as “Friends” and perhaps do not even know one another as “Friends” for fundraising purposes is certainly a risky proposition. To build a fundraiser under these conditions do not typically offer a lot of hope for success. This is when faith takes over…! You go do what you have to do and let the rest take care of itself.

There are really two BIG stories behind the “Big Parking Lot Sale” venture. Of course, the first big story is that ”Friends” successfully raised the funds that “Friends” needed for the Learning Center. However, the other Big story is the way “Friends of Copey” defies gravity it seems at times. At times, we succeed at goals that many would think impossible. It was being very optimistic to think strangers would donate personal items to support a cause that is located in a small rural town in another country that none has seen.

The Banner says it all!

The Banner says it all!

Over 14 different families and friends thought the cause was worthwhile. Many supporters helping out on the Sales Day agreed. And I trust many of you not here and available to help out physically, helped in other ways. I have been living with the “Friends of Copey” project for about three years and I trust my senses and I trust many of you who consider yourselves to be “Friends of Copey”. When I declare that prayers are important and that positive thinkers help keep negative thinking out of our way, please believe and trust me. Again, thanks to you all.

I mentioned briefly last week or before that the Learning Center had started a satellite operation in a nearby town, La Cima. This is great news for several reasons. First the Learning Center is regarded as a worthy and reputable leader in the after school education business. zzzsattelite classroomIt is becoming the educational model other communities are now recognizing can make a positive difference in their children’s lives. Another reason to be proud is that the children’s success at the Learning Center is providing the students opportunities to become role models for other children in nearby communities. One final reason is because “success breeds success”. Soon, a third Learning Center will spring up because of the need for this education. We congratulate the students, the staff, the Board, and the community of Copey for being unique and outstanding leaders.

Regarding another small issue, I just completed my second of three major fundraising activities for this spring. This fundraiser was to gather funds for my Shriners Club.  In two weeks, I will finish the third fundraiser and hopefully two very important things will  then take place. First, I plan to redirect most of my time to the  “Friends of Copey”. I have had several inquiries and request from schools and teachers to talk about ways they can get involved. My time has been very limited with these fundraising projects. The second important thing I want to get done has to do with a fishing pole. I will be fishing this weekend and I hope to get a little rest before I come back to finish off the last fundraising project with my Kiwanis Club.

NASCAR UPDATE

Another week of adverse weather causing a delay in the race. However, this affected all the drivers and not just Jeff. His results this week are a bit disappointing only because he did not win. He finished 7th this week and dropped down a few positions from his 3rd place finish last week. He is being consistent with finishing the last 4 races in the top 10. The last 2 races were tailored made for Jeff but apparently there were faster cars on the track. Well, we hope for a better finish next week and will remain loyal to until he hangs up his racing shoes and gloves.  Go #24!

 

 

 

We did it….!

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
 by John Wooden

Well, it is done!  Yes, it is over and today we are nursing sore feet and aching backs as we recuperate from a day of fun and hard labor at the “Big Parking Lot Sale” held Saturday. The day started very early and the weather was absolutely perfect for the event.

Shoppers arrive early.

Shoppers arrive early.

We had over 15 “Friends”  donate hundreds and hundreds of items providing us with plenty to sell. The customers were arriving even before we officially opened. These were early signs that the day would be a huge success.  And it was a huge success!  Of course, a special thanks goes out to those who spent the long day on their feet pulling in the cash, dealing with tough garage sale customers, lifting, carrying, and then the dreaded “end of the day clean up/pack up work” the very tired workers had to do.

So many did so much. The Riverview United Methodist Church donated the parking lot. “Friends” donated printing, food, expertise, transportation, labor, photography, and much more. Many customers were surprised to learn that all this was generously donated. Many items were very high quality and not usually found or sold at such great prices.

So strike up the band and let’s get the fireworks and the celebration going. Can we have a drum roll? Our unofficial total (some sales are still pending) is $1,500 plus. The target for this fundraiser was $1,200-$1,300. The $1,500 plus will be added to the funds we have already raised and will complete our commitment to raise $2,500 for the new position. This is amazing because there were many yard and garage sales going on all around us. Hold on! There is more good news. Several cash donations also have come in totaling $280 that will be added to the Saturday total.

We  officially unveiled our new banner to show off to our customers and “Friends” Saturday. The banner displays a spirit of partnership between two countries united by the commitment to support the Learning Center, their  kids and adults.

New "Friends" Banner with Some "Friends"

New “Friends” Banner with Some “Friends”

Also, we provided information cards to the customers explaining the reason for the “Big Parking Lot Sale”. This together with the banner helped customers understand why we were raising money. In many cases, this helped us increase our revenue. For me, it was “pure joy” to personally talk to customers and share our story. One customer was from Guatemala and had traveled extensively within Costa Rica. He was very surprised to hear our story about “Friends”. As a result, he purchased a couple items and donated extra money as well.  There were several extra donations from customers made under similar conditions.

Customers treated to free lunches.

Customers treated to free lunches.

At noon time we invited customers to share a free lunch with us and we enjoyed seeing the kids go for the sandwiches, chips, and drinks. Many positive encounters took place with customers as they learned all of the income from the sale would benefit the Learning Center. I do not believe many customers have been treated to a “free lunch” just for shopping at a yard or garage sale. Do you think we are a different somehow? Of course we are!

As I said at the very beginning…It is done! We once again managed to do something very unusual and the results are clearly positive. This was a very big mountain for us to climb and it has taken a lot of time and effort. I could not be more proud of you and I appreciate your faith and support in me. This is not going unnoticed. The community of Copey soon will know what we have achieved and many other countries who quietly visit and watch this Blog almost weekly will know. Most important, the children at the Learning Center will benefit as a result of our efforts. A final total will be given later this week and we will then turn our sights on to other important initiatives we have interest in. So stay tuned in. Keep praying because it works. Keep positive thoughts flowing because it works. And keep an open mind and share any thoughts and ideas you may have.

NASCAR UPDATE

This week’s race was held in Bristol, Tennessee (near my original home) and was completed but shortened due to rain. You may recall that I urged Jeff last week to get on it and finish in at least the top 3 this week.  In previous weeks he has finished 10th, 9th, and then 7th. Today, he finished 3rd. Great job Jeff. Next week, let’s bring home the checkered flag for Pete’s sake. What are you waiting on?

Oh The Winds…They Are Blowin

“Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you.
Live today with gusto.”
                                                              Dale Carnegie

First, the really good news. The donations are stacking up quickly for the “Big Parking Lot Sale”. You have heard that faith can move mountains…!

Mt. Raineer

Mt. Raineer

Well, faith also can move a lot of “Friends” to get rid of unwanted or no longer needed items. All available storage space is taken with still eight plus donors with items for sale waiting to be collected. This is a lot of stuff! However, relief on space will come on Thursday morning. Trust me, being out of space to hold all the donated items until Saturday is the best problem we could have. I am excited. Great weather with sunshine is predicted with the temperature in the 70’s. Lots of local “Friends” will be on hand to help and we are just going to have a fun time. So you local “Friends” come out and enjoy the sunshine, the fun, the refreshments, and the group photo.

Those “Friends” not local, keep us in your thoughts and prayers this week. Although, the work is being done here in Washington state, there is enough joy and celebration to reach you wherever you are.

Last Friday during our weekly lunch, I had the opportunity to speak to my Kiwanis Club about “Friends of Copey”. Kiwanis Emblem 2

The audience seemed very interested. Some of the membership is already closely involved as scholarship donors and others have made donations for our fundraiser. The 30 minute presentation was a thrill for me because I am very proud of what we have accomplished so far. More Kiwanis Club presentations are in the future.

The community of Copey held its local fundraiser this weekend in support of the Learning Center. I will have to wait to hear the final results but will pass the information on to you soon.

In the “Bad News” category, in my March 30 Post I spoke of Holy Week in Costa Rica. I referenced the Costa Rican Red Cross reporting that 15 people died the first weekend of celebration. We were praying this trend would not continue the rest of Holy Week. Unfortunately, it resulted in the deadliest Holy Week in a decade. The death toll reached 44, a 76% increase over 2014. Some deaths included US citizens.  http://www.ticotimes.net/2015/04/06/costa-rica-holy-week-deadliest-in-10-years.

NASCAR Update  

Jeff Gordon ended the race again in the top ten finishing in 7th place this week. He has now finished 10th, 9th, and now 7th. Each week he moves closer to the top.  Jeff, let’s get going! How about moving into the top 3 next week or even better…No.1?

The Easter Gift

Certainly, the celebration and joy for Christmas is the gift of Jesus being born. At Easter we celebrate a second gift. With the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, we received another gift in the form of a new covenant, the forgiveness of our sins, and salvation. So enjoy the gift. Happy Easter Day to all.

This week I was curious about what I may have written this time a year ago. What I found looking back was very interesting and gratifying. My thoughts and feelings about “Friends” have not changed at all. On April 3, 2014, in my Post titled, “Livin the Givin Back”, I wrote some of the following:

“What is expected of a “Friend of Copey”? Really, not much. For those of us who pray…please continue to pray!  For those of us who believe positive thinking generates positive results and outcomes…spend time each day thinking positive thoughts about our efforts. For those inclined to want to do more, keep informed and be on watch. At times, a special request may come along that will touch you and inspire you to go beyond praying and thinking. You may have an idea, a talent, a skill or knowledge that will help the cause. Finally, even a small donation may be part of your involvement although never required as a “friend”. In all instances, you will be livin “the givin” back.”  (Read the full text at  https://friendsofcopey.com/2014/04/03/

These expectations remain the same today for each “Friend of Copey”. Our local “Friends” are clearly demonstrating this as we get closer to the day of the fundraising project scheduled for April 18th. Many donated items are coming in and some volunteers have signed up to help. Donations and help are still needed but we are certainly on the way to a very big day for the “Friends” and the Learning Center.

Holy Week ends today and the Learning Center resumes its teaching tomorrow.

zzzrecycling

Before Holy Week started, the students were involved in a couple interesting projects. Recycling was a major topic and the students showed their leadership by improving their community. The students also made posters to hang

zzzzschool work

around the community to encourage all the residents to use the appropriate receptacles for disposing or recycling trash and garbage. These students are very environmentally aware and involved and represent a new generation of citizens who believe they can make a difference in this world. We applaud them and their teachers.

NASCAR….I mentioned last week that there is no race today but stay tuned for next week’s report.