How a $200 Challenge Turned into a Life-Changing Gift
The challenge was simple: take $200, grow it with your talents and resources, and use it to impact someone else. For Bola Kushimo, who received this “Kingdom Assignment” in the middle of a Chase Oaks Church weekend service, it sparked an idea. An idea that grew and took shape over the next several months, culminating with a life-changing gift.
Meet Bola and hear about her inspiring approach to fulfilling this challenge, in her own words:
When I was 14, my family moved to the U.S. from Nigeria. I grew up in Houston before coming to the DFW area to get my undergrad and master’s degrees. After I got married in 2009, my husband and I settled into Chase Oaks Church as a place that is true to the Bible, where we can genuinely grow our faith.
I was looking for ways to connect and serve in the community, so I attended a “serve” fair with various community organizations. There, I visited a table for The Samaritan Inn.
I run a scholarship program for a tech program in Nigeria, and I am very drawn to initiatives that try to holistically address the issues behind why people find themselves in a challenging place. The Samaritan Inn does just that, so I began to get involved under the leadership of John and Randa.
I teach financial classes at SI once a month. The classes are geared toward personal finance, budgeting, and saving. They give participants a basic framework and tools to be self-sustaining, and show people how to allocate money and be prudent and judicial in their financial life.
Over the course of my volunteering at the inn, I’ve learned that transportation is often an unmet, core need for many SI residents. Many residents are highly educated, with advanced skills. But without adequate access to transportation, many of them end up settling for jobs they can only walk or bike to. This often means the difference between a $15/hour job versus a $40/hour job that is further away. You don’t even need to do the math to see the huge difference that pay gap would make over a year.
I had asked what we had tried, transportation-wise, to find a solution. For example, could a donor fund an Uber-pool? There were too many liability issues.
So when I was called up on stage and heard the Kingdom assignment, the first thing that popped into my mind was finding additional donors to help me purchase a car to give to a resident.
By the time I got back to my seat, someone had left $200 on my chair to add to what I had been given. Walking back to my car after service, another couple gave me $20 and said, “We don’t know what God is going to do, but we just want to be a part of it!”After that, I reached out to my network to see if people would match the funds, or give, or just PRAY with us along the way. Different people responded, and we would match whatever people gave. In the end, God multiplied that initial $200 into around $5400!
I also asked a friend who happens to attend Chase Oaks (who has a car dealer license) for help to find a good, reliable car. It took several months, but he finally found something that he said would work: a 2008 Honda Accord. We paid for the car and did a few repairs.
Then, we got in touch with the nonprofit arm of a local automotive service company to arrange for the donation. My only ask was that the car go to a SI resident. Here’s an amazing thing: the company (Provision Automotive) will also handle any needed repairs for the first year, free of charge.
There’s a process for nominating SI residents to receive vehicles through their gifting program. They’re looking for people who are committed to growth and development. Ronda with Provision Automotive had identified two potential recipients, including Jolly, a widower and devoted father who is raising his 5-year-old son alone, in the midst of his grief and battle with homelessness. We were able to present the car to Jolly on October 21, 2022… which just happens to be his late wife’s birthday. The gift could not have come at a better time!
Looking back over the journey, I think we are living in a time where people have a lot of unnecessary animosity toward one another. My circle is a broad and diverse one. As part of this initiative, I wanted the effort to reflect my intimate circle (including one Muslim friend whom I’ve known for over 20 years, who gave $500 toward the car purchase) and to show what we can accomplish when we work together.
I was surprised at what people were willing to do and to give because of their relationship to me as a person, no strings attached. In general, I think people are excited to be supportive and rally around you, if they see you love them without a hidden agenda—if they trust you.
I think that’s what God is asking each of us to do, at the heart level. We don’t have to worry so much about disagreements over issues; the best evangelism is to love people well and be invested in relationships. We really can make a difference together. Overall, I hope we can try to get to know people for who they are, and to be there for them, to do life together. If we can do that, God will take care of everything else.