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Saturday, February 22, 2020

HOPE RISING

HOPE RISING with the Mock family

This past week I experienced something that I had never experienced before. I was invited to speak at the “Inspiration Morning” portion of the Keller Williams annual Family Gathering in Dallas, Texas.  For those of you who may not know, Keller Williams is the largest Real Estate Agency in the world, with 180,000 agents in 43 countries, and this week’s gathering was “only” 15,000 of those 180,000 people.  This is a crazy story so I do hope that you will read it all.

In early January we got an email with the invitation to go and speak at the February event, and then I got on a phone call with the marketing/event team to share my story and discuss what they wanted me to share.  I quickly learned that their theme for the weekend was “HOPE Rising”.  They didn’t know that Heart for Africa is all about HOPE.  As I was telling them a bit about how we got in to this, I started the story with me being in NYC on September 11, 2001 and Ian being on an American Airlines flight to Chicago.  One of the ladies on the other end of the phone stopped me and said, “Do you know who the first inspirational speaker of that morning will be?”  I said no, I didn’t. 

Then she went on to tell me that the first speaker of the day would be Beverly Bass, the first ever female Captain for American Airlines who just happened to be flying from Paris to Dallas on 911.  Hers was one of the many planes that were diverted to Gander, Newfoundland, Canada that day where the 7,000 passengers and crew were welcomed by the small Canadian community with a population of 9,000 people.  What are the chances of this Canadian being in NY on 911 and that American Captain being in Canada on 911 and both of us being on stage in Dallas, Texas almost 20 years later. Then they told me that  “HOPE RISING”  was the theme for the event.


It was a pleasure to hear Captain Bass speak so highly of her experience in Canada and then to learn that a Canadian written Broadway Musical called “Come from Away” was being performed all over the world.  Mo Anderson, Vice-Chairman of the Keller Williams Board, surprised Captain Bass that morning by having the original leader singer from the Broadway production, who played Captain Bass herself, sneak up behind her on stage and perform the song that tells her life story.  HOPE RISING indeed.


Then it was my turn.  I have never spoken in a room with 15,000 chairs, and an overflow room outside.  My 20 minutes of Q&A with Mo flew by, leaving a few teary eyes in the audience and then suddenly there was a young choir standing beside me and Mo said, “We raise you up” and the choir started to sing.  If there were dry eyes left in the audience when I finished speaking, there certainly were none after the first 20 seconds of the choir singing “You raise me up”.  I wish I could post the whole song in my blog, but alas, blogger only allows 100 MB videos.


THEN, to top it all off, Mo handed me two checks totaling $25,000 and challenged everyone in the audience to go to their Keller Williams App and donate $20 to Heart for Africa so that we can build another home for 40 more children (Emseni 6).  What?? Who does that?? Mo Anderson, that’s who. 

Four days later, at the time of me writing this blog, more than 800 Keller Williams Agents have made donations totaling more than $45,000 and we hope to be able to fully fund the $225,000 building in the weeks to come.  While funding is critical to us continue building our homes, it was the words of encouragement spoken over us at the event and written in the “comments” section of our online donation page. I have read each and every one of them and am so thankful for their generosity and prayers.  One person wrote “As a gay HIV+ person, I would like to thank you for your efforts”.  HOPE RISING around the world.


And how did all this happen you ask?  Well, Kasey and Elizabeth Mock started supporting Heart for Africa a couple of years ago and Ian and I had the privilege of meeting them in November 2019 while we were speaking at a private gathering in San Antonio, Texas.  Elizabeth’s sister was a client at Barry Harp’s accounting firm in Dalhart, Texas, and when the Harp’s moved to Eswatini to serve at Project Canaan, Elizabeth’s sister told Kasey and Elizabeth about Heart for Africa.  Kasey Mock is the owner of Mock Ranches and Director of Operations at Keller Williams Land Division.  He shared our story with the Keller Williams Marketing department and voila … the invitation to speak was extended. And “coincidentally” it was the year that Captain Beverly Bass was also invited to speak AND the year that the theme was “HOPE Rising”.   I just can’t make this stuff up!

God is in the details and we just loving sitting back and watching His handiwork.

Ian and I were honored and blessed to fly to Dallas and back this week. It took us 36 hours of travel, each way, and our bodies feel like pretzels today, but this week was a week that we will never forget.

If you would like to buy one of our brand new HOPE keychains, they are on sale now at www.khutsala.com.


Thank you Mo Anderson, Kasey Mock, the leadership of Keller Williams and all of the agents around the world who believe in putting God first, then family, then business.  Amen to that.

Live from Eswatini … it’s so good to be home!

Janine

PS If you know a Keller Williams agent, please forward this blog to them. If you or they would like to contribute to building a home for 40 more children, please go to this link today.  If you are in Canada, please click here.  Thank you.


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