In 2002, when I was on a drive with my husband near our home in Grand Forks, ND I saw something pretty and blue by the side of the road—a 1967 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. When I saw the Karman Ghia, I thought, I’ve got to have that car.
Chatting with the owner, I learned it wasn’t just the Karman Ghia being sold. The owner had another one—a “his and hers” set. I thought, Whoa, I’m going to have two cars. Within a week, both cars were in my garage. Fast forward to 2005 to Holy Family Church in Grand Forks. Father Phil Ackerman, a longtime friend was delivering his homily and mentioned his plan to visit a mission in Chimbote, Peru. I was fascinated. I think sometimes we’re all searching. In church when he announced he was going, I thought, I’ve always wanted to go on one (a mission trip). There are just some people that you have such faith and trust in. You know they’ll take you in the right direction. So I just jumped on that opportunity.
In Chimbote, I witnessed the poverty and need in the area. I also started thinking about all the possessions I’d accumulated in my life and how it compared to what the people of Chimbote have. You take a look at all the stuff you have but don’t need in your daily life. You know you could live without it, because they do, they have so little but yet they are probably more full of God than so many of us here who have an abundance of stuff. After returning home, I shared MY story about buying the car with executive director, Susan Trnka. I wanted to use the car to somehow help the people of Chimbote. Together we hatched a plan: we would raffle off the car and all the money would go to fund the mission’s programs and services. The raffle raised close to $25,000.
So do I miss the car? My son sure does! But when I was down in Peru, I thought, I’m not going to make him a better person by giving him that car. We’ll compensate him someday for a promise broken, but I feel better knowing that from that moment of my greed, somebody benefitted.”