Recently, I heard from my friend Erin about a new endeavor that God had led her to. Knowing her heart, and seeing her dream come alive has been very exciting for me- so much so, that I asked her to share with you about the journey she has been on for the past few years. I hope you will be inspired and encouraged by her words.
I am a financial planner, by trade. God has blessed me with an amazing 25 year career in which I have helped many people achieve their financial goals. As background, I was raised in poverty; my father died when I was eleven and left my mom with six children, virtually penniless. I know from living it out how fearful it was for my mother, having no idea how she was going to feed us from day to day. Those memories don’t go away; they are imbedded in one’s soul.
My husband and I got the opportunity to go to South Africa in 1999 on an awards trip. While traveling there, we couldn’t help but notice the millions upon millions of people who were living in mud huts with not even the basic essentials of water or toilets. Eventually, we started working with various organizations that provided water and shelter for orphans but we were frustrated by the fact that we were always limited by what was in our own checkbooks. Surely there had to be a better way to fund the things we cared about.
In 2010, my husband and I were approached with an idea about using the power of the internet and in particular Facebook games and mobile apps to potentially harness some of the $12 billion being spent on social games and redirect at least a portion of those funds to things we cared about. I didn’t know anything about social games and barely had a Facebook page, but after researching the vast amounts of money being spent in these games, my husband and I felt it was worth taking a chance. We found out Farmville, by Zynga made $260 million in their first year! If we could capture even 5% of that, we could make a much bigger difference than what we could do alone.
We began a 3 year journey and now have a Facebook game, called “Safari Challenge – A Zoo Adventure.” It officially launched in September and already we see God’s hands all over it. Our first month we struggled to get 3,000 players; then I sent out a prayer request and within weeks we were over 87,000 players, most of whom were from outside of the United States! A month after that, we were at 200,000 players, but we were hitting a wall. We needed someone who really knew how to take the game to the next level.
We needed, and God provided.
The next thing I knew, a woman (who was orphaned in Korea in the 60’s) was sitting in front of me and we were offering her the job of CEO of the company. She brought a 34 year resume and amazing connections with her. She connected us with the former head of one of the largest gaming companies in the world, and now he wants to help us. This guy holds the Guinness Book of records for having the largest number of players in a single game. Now the vision is to create an entire platform of games with the mantra “Gaming is Giving.™” If we have a whole family of Facebook games and mobile apps, we can share audiences and resources; more non-profits can be funded, using the power of the internet.
God has been so faithful to us in this journey, but it hasn’t been without its ups and downs. The biggest problem has been in securing additional funding. Recognizing God’s amazing sense of humor, I haven’t been able to have anything to do with raising additional funds because of my securities licenses. Isn’t that just like God? What I do for a living, I can’t do in this project. I’m so grateful for that “blessing in disguise” because if it does become fabulously successful, I can’t let pride seep in and take any credit for it. It all goes to God!
I hope you will spend a few minutes checking out our game on Facebook and more importantly, say a prayer for us. We want to be in the center of God’s will in all of this. We need additional funding to take this to the next level; we need connections, we need SO much, but we know God knows our needs and will supply. If nothing else, this walk of faith has had me on my knees more than I probably would have been otherwise, and for that, I am eternally grateful.
God led Erin out of her comfort zone to fulfill His unique calling on her life. In what ways has God used your past experiences for ministry?