“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” -Gandhi
What makes a show like Extreme Home Makeover so tear-jerking? You know the story…A family that’s been dealt a crazy set of circumstances is sent away on a vacation while a group of volunteers and good-hearted people completely remodels their home or builds them an entirely new one…The reality is, there are millions of hurting people in our society that we pass by every day. The reason that you and I can get so wrapped up in a charity project like this, is because we love to see people’s dreams come true. We love to witness when someone–although still enveloped in their extreme situation–can breathe a sigh of relief and thankfulness. And above all, we love to watch when someone that has dedicated their entire life to blessing others finally receives a blessing of their own.
Life Leadership Life on Life PA Project
In October of 2015, at Life Leadership’s Fall Convention, All Grace Outreach Spokesman Chris Swanson announced plans to carry out one of Life Leadership’s grandest Life on Life Projects to date–namely, the PA Project. Swanson cast a vision that day unlike any other to thousands of Life Leadership Members to help a family in need by raising over $100,000 in 24 hours at the following Life Leadership Convention. The idea of the Push-Up Contest was born, and in January of 2016, Life Leadership Members at three different convention locations raised pledges, registered, and competed in the first-ever Life on Life Push-Up Contest. As an added bonus–and to throw a little more competition into the mix–the overall winners in the male and female divisions won an all-expense paid mission trip to Chile with Chris Swanson!
The links in the paragraph above will take you to previous blog posts–as well as a crowd-funding site–if you’d like to get to know more of the details about the family being helped; but here is a quick synopsis:
Deb Kile has been through some of life’s most difficult trials; but those who know her know that she always makes it a point to just smile and serve other people anyway. At age 10, she was diagnosed with a form of cancer very rarely found in children and almost didn’t make it through. Later, after being married for years, Deb went through an unfortunate divorce and ended up on her own. A while down the road, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and decided to break it off with the guy that she was dating so that he didn’t have to go through the craziness with her. To her surprise, Myron didn’t accept and asked her to marry him instead. While on the table for the surgery to remove her breasts, Deb’s heart stopped and they almost lost her. After beating cancer for a second time, she went through numerous life-threatening health issues, including mercury poisoning in her blood. Because of the chemotherapy throughout her life, Deb was never able to have children (her biggest dream), so the couple decided to build their dream home right next to their current trailer to be able to adopt twins and/or have foster children. Myron, being very handy himself, started working on the home about 12 years ago. Two years into the task, Deb’s vibrant mother, Carol, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) and everything was put on hold. After taking her to appointments and caring for her out of her own home for a couple of years, Myron and Deb moved Carol into their trailer to be able to give her the best quality of life that they could. Unfortunately, as Deb dove in to all-natural care and out-of-the-box strategies to prolong her mother’s life in hope for a cure, the insurance paid for less and less. Deb’s work hours had already taken a cut because of staying home with her mother, but now all of the money that was set aside for the home funneled into her care, as well. During this whole process, the couple took legal guardianship of a handicapped little girl because her own mother’s health was deteriorating–and she has since passed–from a terminal disease. Myron started a custom concrete business on the side to supplement the income that he was making at his 40-hour job as a supervisor at a factory. Deb’s dream has always been to have children, so she’s dedicated most of her working life to being a professional nanny for other peoples’ kids.
Since the convention in January, Life Leadership volunteers from across the country and some additional local helpers have been working around-the-clock under the leadership of Life Leadership Members, Teresa Frey and Alexis Lukonen, to get Myron & Deb’s house ready for a week-blitz to finish the home while the couple is on their first vacation in the last 10 years (May 9-15th, 2016). By making this a reality, the couple will not only be able to give Deb’s mother a much higher quality of life, but they will also have the opportunity to share their abundant love and fulfill their dream of adopting or fostering children. Throughout the entire process, Deb and Carol have been kept in the dark about everything. Since the home is on the property that they live on, Deb has been told that a couple of people got a hold of the video interview that she did last year and decided to help Myron out a little bit around the house. She has been banned from entering and has no idea that the plan is to have the home move-in-ready by the time they get back from the beach in less than 2 weeks!
Call to Action!
Unfortunately, because the family’s funds and time for the house stopped right after the roof was put on, the last 10 years of sitting have done a number to the structure itself. Many things needed fixed before anything could be advanced on, and therefore some of the money raised through All Grace Outreach was gobbled up at the beginning. In total, there were a little over $122,000 pledged at the Push-Up Contest, but only about $103,000 have come in so far. With their vacation less than a week away and the end of the donated funds approaching quickly, we invite you to be a part of this story by sending in any pledges that you haven’t already–OR–if you feel led to make a one-time donation so that we can make this family’s dream come true, please go to www.youcaring.com/PA-Project and click on the “Donate Now” button. At this point–with the remaining funds–we will be able to finish most of the inside; but to deliver the full package on May 15th, we’re asking YOU to play a part in any way that you can. If you are interested in volunteering your time and skills, providing meals for the volunteers, offering an extra set of hands, or just simply being there with Chris Swanson for the reveal; please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the most encouraging outcomes from this entire project is the blessing that it’s been to every single person that has been involved in some way. At the core of the Life on Life Initiative is the belief that true leading…is serving and encouraging. From those who did one, five or one-hundred push-ups at the convention…to those who have donated hard-earned dollars…to the awesome ladies that have come in to take care of the tedious jobs and clean up the messes…to the highly-skilled folks that have donated hours upon hours of their time and resources to finish off the electric, plumbing, HVAC, etc…each individual present has been asked to write one of their favorite verses on the studs of the house before they get covered over by drywall. Above you can see a collection of pictures of many of the different verses engrained in the very heart of this home. Deb is in for an incredibly amazing surprise, and thankfully it’s one that thousands of people from a community of champions are able to be a huge part of. So thank you. YOU are responsible for this family’s dream coming true.
Check out this Quick Video Excerpt from AGO Spokesman Chris Swanson!