You've seen him holding up boxes at the unboxing parties, but that gig is a tiny fraction of the volunteer work Dana Buck does for Sew Powerful. Sit back and listen as Dana shares his early days at World Vision and how the chance encounter with Esther at the Ngombe compound changed everything. Now Dana wears a multitude of Sew Powerful hats. When he's not counting purses, Dana writes and records some of the most charming, inspiring parables, all done in poetic verse. We even play a snippet in the podcast.
Introduction to Dana Buck
IN THIS EPISODE
Sew Powerful Parables, We Are Sew Powerful book, World Vision, Ngombe Compound, Lusaka, Zambia, Board of Directors
We are Sew Powerful, How a Global Community of Seamstresses Is Changing Zambia One Girl at A Time, 2nd edition. By Jason G. Miles and Cinnamon, © 2016 & 2020 Jason G. Miles and Cinnamon, all rights reserved.
'Royal Blue with Stripes of Red' used with permission. Written by Dana Buck, Narrated by Kim Pratt, produced by Beneath Blue Skies Productions, Music by Pond5
ABOUT THE SEW POWERFUL PODCAST
The Sew Powerful Podcast shines a light on the people behind the mission to keep girls in school and create purposeful products in Zambia. Join us every week for a new 30-minute episode to meet new people, hear inspiring stories, and learn how you can join us in this global movement. Whether you sew or not, make purses or not, you will find something to enjoy in every episode. Listen today.
Host: Jan Cancila
Guest: Dana Buck
Jan Cancila, Host 00:04
Welcome to the Sew Powerful podcast. This is your host, Jan Cancila. You know the sound of my sewing machine means it's time for another episode. So let's get started.
Our guest today is Mr. Dana Buck. If you go back and look at the videos of Sew Powerful's original Facebook Live Unboxing Parties, you will spot Dana as one of the cheerful co-hosts reading out purse maker's name's (sometimes butchering them) and then handing off the boxes. And then he does it again and again and again. But he always does it with a smile and always with a thank you for the purse maker. With nearly 50,000 purses sent in to date, Dana has called out a lot of names and moved a lot of boxes over the past four years. But what you may not know is that Dana volunteers his time the other 364 days a year to Sew Powerful. He does this in a number of official and sometimes unofficial capacities. Stay tuned because we're going to learn a whole lot more about this fascinating name-calling, box-handling member of the Sew Powerful team. Welcome Dana Buck. How are you today?
Dana Buck, Guest 01:28
Hello, Jan Cancila, I am fine. How are you?
I am great. I'm so excited to do this interview. I think a lot of people just see you on the Facebook Live and think that you might be a random person they pull in off the street. Then you go about your regular life, but your regular life involves a lot of volunteer time for Sew Powerful, doesn't it?
Yeah, it really does. I, you know, absolutely love it. Been retired now for about two and a half years. And my last day on my job with World Vision was a Friday and my first day with Sew Powerful was the following Monday and been doing it ever since. So I love it.
We're gonna go into depth later, but just sort of highlight some of the roles you play with Sew Powerful.
Gotcha. You know, I'm kind of the pinch hitter. I feel like Jason's always trying to pin me down to give me some kind of a title or whatever. And I always resist, you know, I dabble in the fundraising. That was my forte when I work for World Vision. I also have experience with a lot of large group activities. So when we went into Microsoft and had the Microsoft employees putting together packets of purse material, so those could be sewn, that was right up my alley and jumped into that. All the boxes, as you mentioned, all the boxes that come in from all around the world, I get to touch them, and I get to log them in and, you know, do the quality control and get it ready for us to process them. I'm just kind of everywhere and nowhere.
And I'm going to add, you're a member of the Board of Directors for Sew Powerful. You're an author of a book called The Sew Powerful Parables and you have a podcast by the same name, which we're going to touch on all of that in just a minute here.
So how did you learn about Sew Powerful originally? What brought you to Sew Powerful?
Well, it's interesting. Anybody that's read the book or heard Jason speak knows the story of the trip to Zambia, a World Vision trip to Zambia in 2009 that Jason was on, and I happened to be on that trip with Jason in 2009. Our schedule, (I won't steal the thunder from the book) but our schedule got messed up one day. We couldn't go to the little village we were supposed to go to and we were invited to, went to Lusaka, into this place called Ngombe Compound and meet this incredible woman Esther and this little school that she and these other ladies were doing grass-roots for these kids. But we went in there, absolutely fell in love with Esther. And you know, it's one of those combinations, Jan, that's so, was like an oxymoron. And it inspires you but it destroys you, you know. And so that's kind of my background when there wasn't even a Sew Powerful. I was blessed to be with Jason on that first trip.
I'm making this up in my mind, but I'm imagining a long plane trip home where you and Jason are bouncing ideas back and forth about Sew Powerful?
You know, I'll tell you and I'm gonna be honest about that. So, when you work for an organization like World Vision, in some ways, you have to maintain your ability to not, (how do I want to put this?) to not be too destroyed by what you see. Because you see so much and there's so much need in the world. And one of the struggles is to maintain balance. And I will say this, that what I saw there touched me deeply, but it destroyed Jason. I say that, it destroyed him in a good way. He walked out of there more than all of us, you know, and he came home and he told Cinnamon what he'd seen and he said, I just think about this woman Esther and what she's trying to do, and she's all alone. We have to do something to help her. So in the beginning, this was Jason. I mean, God just drove, you know, a stake deep into his heart for that woman and that school. It really wasn't until later that so much of his dream of helping Esther had developed, that I came alongside it, at a much later point, join him in that. Yeah, I have to give credit to my buddy Jason. This is his baby, and it is a remarkable thing to be a part of.
It sure is. Now, you mentioned that you worked at World Vision, you had a long career there. How did you start out, and sort of walk us through that.
I was a 21 year old kid, needed a job was how it started. And I, you know, I was a Christian young man and I thought, boy, a Christian organization, wouldn't that be a great place to work? And this was back in the days when World Vision was headquartered in Southern California. So I went in and put in an application and was hired. And 38 years later, when I finally retired in 2018, I was there the entire time. So I had a number of different positions, everything from my Information Systems to Human Resources, which is where I actually met Jason; we worked together in Human Resources at World Vision. But my last about 18 years was spent in fundraising and group activities around assisting the poor. And that was the best, that was the best of all those 38 years. So not only getting to meet the people that were caring about the poor, but then be able to carry that message all the way into the the homes that people were helping. Yeah, my time at World Vision was incredibly wonderful for me.
How did that experience at World Vision translate into what you do for Sew Powerful?
You know, our President Rich Stearns used have a saying, and it sounds kind of weird, but he would say, Addressing global poverty IS brain surgery. And what he meant by that is, it's not simple. There are not simple solutions. And so often, you hear of an organization that will come in, you know, wonderful, wonderful organizations with beautiful motives, but they'll come at poverty from education, from water, from food, from justice, from these different directions. But it's all of those things. You know, if you go in and you provide school for a child, but you don't make sure that child has clean water to drink, and they're sick half the time, then school doesn't really do them any good. Sew Powerful, with the girls, right? I mean, yeah, you can support the school. But if the girls are missing class, a week every month, because they just have no way to manage their period, then school really isn't the answer by itself. And so I think what I learned with World Vision was, it's a holistic approach. You've got to look at all of those aspects and try to bring them all to bear. Both Jason and I have that background. And I think it served us well, as we, you know, begin to unfold what Sew Powerful is all about.
You mentioned that you traveled to Zambia. How many how many trips have you made to Zambia?
I've been to Zambia once with Sew Powerful and three times World Vision. Been to many African countries. Zambia is my favorite. I love Zambia.
And what do you like about Zambia so much?
The people are just amazing. Yeah, you can't help but love them. They love Americans there, which is wonderful. If they hear that you're an American, it's, you know, they always want to talk to you and and the people just have, just a wonderful spirit, beautiful country. Obviously, there's incredible poverty and need there, but it is a, it is a beautiful country, full of just wonderful people that want to work hard, that want to have a future for their children's need, you know those little things in their lives to help them make that happen.
We mentioned earlier that you're a member of the Board of Sew Powerful. But if I haven't been to a Board meeting, what is that like? What does that entail? Give us some secrets.
I'd probably disappoint you if I told you the truth. But we, generally someone, Jason put this Board together. It was when Sew Powerful was really coming together as a 501(c)3 charity. And Jason knew that he needed the accountability of a Board, that, you know, his decisions needed to be balanced and he needed help and direction and so forth. So he had, you know, several people that he'd known for years and many of us were invested in one way or another in what Sew Powerful was doing. So, I was very honored to be invited on the Board and our very good friends Toby and Janairie Capps. They are, (Janairie is the hostess supreme) we'll generally have dinner together when we have a Board meeting, and then we clear away the dishes and Jason's got an agenda set up for us and we just go through what are our key issues. What are the things we're facing today? What are some decisions we made in the past; we'll revisit those to make sure that we're on track. And then future casting, which is Jason's favorite part. As you probably know, Jason is an entrepreneur supreme with incredible vision. Sometimes you have to be there to undergird him and sometimes we have to grab a hold of him and pull him back. But that's, our Board meetings are just wonderful.
We pray for Esther; we pray for the school. We celebrate the seamstresses, the purse makers here, we celebrate the seamstresses there. And again, it's just this opportunity. Jason's very good about wanting to not fall behind what God wants to do, not rush ahead of what God wants to do, but to walk along with the journey that God has us on through Sew Powerful,
How has COVID impacted how the Board has directed the operation of Sew Powerful?
Yeah, we've been doing Zoom Board meetings, so we haven't had an in-person board meeting, but we've been doing them by Zoom. And so the same familiar cast of characters looking like The Brady Bunch, you know, on the screen, but we've been operating in pretty much the same way. Obviously, it would be wonderful, I'm looking forward to the day when we can, you know, physically get back together. But we've been doing it by Zoom, maintaining our regular scheduled meetings.
And, and again, you know, one of the things that I'm so proud that this organization did was Jason turned us on a dime when COVID hit. We knew it was going to hit a place like Ngombe, or could hit a place like Ngombe extremely hard. Jason and I and and Toby Capps, and David Derr who's also on the Board who has World Vision background as well, we had been through the HIV AIDS crisis in Africa and what that meant to our work, World Vision’s work. We knew knife blade's edge that these people live on on a good day, and what something like HIV AIDS did to them and what COVID could do to them.
So Jason called an emergency Board meeting. He said, we need to, you know, step in and do something for Esther and the community around COVID. Esther had been in the caregiver cadre that World Vision has supported back in the HIV AIDS days. These were literally around Africa, tens of 1000s of people who were trained in basic home health care, and then would go in and care for people and their families with AIDS. And so Jason said, Esther's ready to get the band back together, right, to bring the caregivers back, which she did. And with dollars and resources provided by Sew Powerful, they were able to, you know, get their personal protective supplies, training, and then begin to, you know, with soap and face masks and information, be able to go into that community. Long answer, sorry, but that that would give you an example of what the Board would do. Jason would come and say, here's something I think we really need to do. The Board pray about that, we give the Go Ahead, and then it's full steam ahead.
As I mentioned in the intro, you were one of the, I'm going to say, on-air personalities when we did the original unboxing party. How did the idea come about that you were going to hold up those boxes and read everybody's names? What's the little history on that?
Well, that's again, our buddy Jason. So we had done unboxing parties for the years previous but it was, they were just contained in the room that we happened to be in. I think the first unboxing party, well, when the purse idea first came out, was in Toby Capps' dining room, and it was 350 purses. And it was just a group of people together around the dining room table, opening boxes and making sure note cards are there and preparing the purses to go. And obviously as it's exponentially grown, we've gone to, you know, different locations.
And Jason had the idea of, hey what if we live-streamed it? What if we invited the people that sewed these purses to join us? And that idea of thanking the purse makers was magical. The privilege, it is a privilege, to hold that box up, to butcher the name. Yes, you're absolutely right about it. Sometimes you're trying to read somebody's handwriting and, and to figure out what that name is. But hopefully they know who they are. And to be able to say thank you. And I'll tell you, Jan, what really touches me, is, you know, some of these boxes have 50-100 purses in them, you can barely pick them up. But then you pick up that envelope from, you know, Tucson, Arizona, that has one purse in it. And those are the ones, I don't know, I just have a heart for these. Somebody got that pattern, got some fabric, made that one purse, put it in an envelope and sent it in to us. And every purse is a girl. Every purse is a girl that is going to have, you know, a future and encouragement. So I love it, man. As long as I can stand up and talk I want to keep doing it.
Well, and I have to say it meant so much to me the first year you did it and you held up, I think it was you, held up my box and I did a screen capture of that. So I still have a picture of you holding up my box and I don't think you butchered my name too badly.
I hope, yours is, yours is pretty easy. I think you, think you had a printed label, probably, too.
Yeah, I probably did.
For those of you out there that want to have your name pronounced correctly a printed label is really helpful.
I'll tell you what, why don't we take a quick break, and when we come back we're going to explore some of the other work that you do for Sew Powerful.
So stay tuned, and we'll talk to you in just a moment here.
Have you gotten the second edition of the We Are Sew Powerful book? This updated version of the original bestseller (4.9 out of five stars, by the way) is again authored by Sew Powerful co-founders, Jason and Cinnamon Miles. It is available on Amazon in paperback or for your Kindle reader. This latest edition is packed full of moving stories about how Sew Powerful came to be, the volunteers who make it happen and the way this small movement has grown into a global mission to break the cycle of poverty through education and the dignity of work. And don't forget, when you place your order, if you use smile.amazon.com and designate Sew Powerful as your preferred charity, Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase right back to Sew Powerful. And now back to our podcast.
Welcome back. We've been speaking with Dana Buck, who is a volunteer and member of the Board of Directors of Sew Powerful. And he's been sharing with us his background with World Vision prior to joining Sew Powerful, and his enthusiasm for Sew Powerful is just contagious, as I'm sure you've heard. There is a new edition of the We Are Sew Powerful book; it's the second edition, as we speak here. What was your role in putting that together?
Yeah, again, boy, I keep throwing everything back to Jason. But you know, Jason kind of is, I call him the straw that stirs the drink at Sew Powerful. And he really is. Jason and I both enjoy writing. But we are kind of each other's, not editors, but, you know, I'll write something up and I'll ask him to read it. And he'll write something and ask me to read it. When he did the, you know, review of the book, I was one of the people that he asked to read the advance copy; it's the author's copy where you have an opportunity to, you know, actually read it and see how it's laid out, and is there anything wrong with it or whatever. So I sat down with the book and Jan, I read it in a day. I did that for Jason, because I wanted to give him, you know, feedback quickly. But I just set that book down, again, incredibly inspired by these stories that are sent in by these purse makers, all around the country. That when we solicited the stories from the purse makers to go into the book, I was the one that actually, those came to me, those and you know, pass them along to Cassie who is help helped Jason put the book together. So I got to read them early, and I got to read them again as a part of the book. And just what a blessing. So I have my own little section in there, Jason and I kind of tag-teamed on on one chapter. Then as I did in Volume One, I wrote one of my rhyming parables for the second volume. And that's included in the book as well. So I'm, I'm very, you know, pleased and proud to be a part of that second edition.
Well, I didn't submit a story for the first edition. But then when I read them, I thought, Oh, well, I do have a story. So my very good friend, and I'm going to give a shout out to Linda Reid Faught (you need to be listening to this podcast, Linda), we wrote a joint story. And we submitted it for the second edition, and it's included. But we ignored the rule about 500 words or less.
Yes, I remember.
So I was, and we sent pictures in, which you didn't include the pictures, but you didn't do much editing on our story, so...
No, it was too good, actually. And I I remember that one clearly. I remember when it came in via email. This is before I think you then I had really gotten.
I didn't know who you were.
Yeah. And so I remember reading it there and the story about these two friends that reconnected around this thing. And and again, Sew Powerful is like, it's magical, you know. And so to think that it reunites two old friends, you know, around this, this little ministry, it's just another example of just how God has His hand on it.
As we speak, she started a fundraiser in honor of my wedding anniversary, which is coming up in a few weeks. And as of this morning, in less than 24 hours, the generous donors to Sew Powerful have donated $600. I'm just so honored. So she's been my best friend for, well, she'll kill me for saying this, but for 65 years.
Oh my goodness, and boy, how many people can say that?
And you know, the fact that we're only 50 years old, that's that's the miracle there.
Yeah, don't do the math. Don't.
Yeah, don't do the math. Now. You've written a book called The Sew Powerful Parables. Tell us tell us about your book.
Oh, goodness. So you know, when I retired from World Vision, I didn't get into writing, you know, what I, the way I write now until really about 2016 was when I really started writing. And I thought when I retired I would have two loves, I would have two things I would put my time into and I viewed them as separate. I would write and I would do my my parables. And I would volunteer for Sew Powerful. Those were the two things I was really looking forward to doing. You know, Jason's published several books, not just, you know, We Are Sew Powerful, but many other books. He was such a cheerleader for me, encouraging me to write, that we talked and I said, you know, Jason, what if my parables actually became an offering that Sew Powerful could give to people just as these stories of encouragement and, you know, God's love for them, and so forth? And Jason said, I love it, what are we going to call it? And just what about Sew Powerful Parables? And we go, that kind of sings. And that's how that idea was born.
So these little stories that I just feel like come out of my own experiences, or out of my out of my heart. So the two loves that I had, you know, this idea of writing my parables and Sew Powerful suddenly became the same thing. Never looked back from that. So that's kind of, was the birth of the idea of Sew Powerful Parables.
Can we buy the book? Is it for sale?
Yeah, absolutely. It's on Amazon. So I have to do is go to amazon.com. And just do a search for Sew Powerful Parables. All the money from the sale of the book, 100% of the dollars, goes back into the ministry. So anybody that's looking to, you know, pick up a little book. Great stories in there for kids, if you want to be able to read some fun little stories for your kids, I recommend picking it up. I'll have a new one out, hopefully in the next few months. Actually, working on the third right now.
Oh wow. Now, besides the book, you have a podcast called the Sew Powerful Parables. There's about 100 episodes out there right now. Is that right?
Actually about 46.
I'm sure when you're sorting through them, but well, actually, you were, I'll tell you where you probably got that number. Because, you know, I've talked before, I have nearly 100 parables written, written nearly 100 stories, 46 of them are currently out on the podcast. And we've got another four in the can that we're going to be rolling out here in the next, over the next several weeks. So we'll be up to 50 here soon. And I've got another almost 50, you know, waiting to be recorded and whatever. So I've got plenty to do.
Well, everyone, you need to binge listen to all of these podcasts. They're they're just really so charming. I want to play one, and the earliest one that you have published right now, (I don't know if that's the first one you wrote or not) Royal Blue with Stripes of Red. Was that the first you wrote? Or is the first you published?
Probably within the first 10, probably within the five that I wrote. And Jason had asked me to write something for the original volume of We Are Sew Powerful. Again, as I sat down to do that, this story came to my mind. And so I wrote it. And I didn't know if it was what Jason wanted or not. And then I have some life story around it in the book as well. But I sent it to Jason, and I said, you know, Dude, I don't know if you, you know, want this or not, but I just wrote this and he called me back immediately. Dude, he goes, you just captured the whole thing in this little story. He goes, I can't believe you did that. So yeah, it was one of the very first ones we did.
Okay, so we're gonna pause here and I'm going to play just one minute. And I think this is like a six- or seven-minute little episode. It's not a real long one, but it's just really great. So, so take a listen. And this is a teaser for that podcast.
As she settled down to work, her machine was quickly humming. And soon a strap and bag with flap was quickly up and coming. When her project seemed completed, one detail seemed to block it. She raised her head. I know, she said, it needs a little pocket. She searched among her fabrics through the muted and the bright. Although she had many options, nothing struck her as just right. Was then that something caught her eye and as she turned her head, she spied the perfect piece of cloth, royal blue with stripes of red. She set herself to sewing, and her needle swiftly played. Soon she stopped and smiled upon the purse that she had made.
Okay, folks, you're gonna have to listen to the whole thing. One of my favorite lines, of many favorite lines in there, is "small things make big miracles." Can you talk about that? Because that's sort of the theme of that episode, right?
It really is and it, you know, it, although I wrote it for Sew Powerful, part of the podcast, which obviously goes, you know, broadly to anybody that wants to listen, it has a life lesson in there for all of us. And that is that God so often uses the discarded, He uses the small, He uses the least likely. And there's examples all through, you know, scripture of that, the individuals that God would choose to work His miracles through. And so that's what came to mind, this little discarded piece of fabric that had been set aside and wasn't viewed as useful on anything else. Suddenly, you know, when the little purse needed a pocket, there was this little fabric, and it became the place where obviously this purse maker tucked her note and where the girl that received it tucked her note. It went from being the discarded piece of fabric to the honored piece of fabric. And I just think God has such a way of doing that in our lives. And if we feel small and insignificant, we are right where He wants us. And anybody that's listening to this today, any of you that are sewing purses and wondering, Oh, is it really making a difference? Am I really accomplishing anything? Man, God takes the the small and insignificant, and does glorious things with it. So that was, that, what that story was intended to illustrate.
We should have said a spoiler alert before we went into too much detail.
I know, I know.
I love that you tell these parables in rhyme. I mean, well, number one, I just really like that. But it never feels like you're using contrived words or phrasing to make your point. I mean, how difficult is that? And I mean, why are you doing this in verse?
Yeah, it's well, boy, there's a couple of answers there. So, number one, I was, in my younger days, I was a musician and a songwriter. And we realized, you know, writing a song is a poem put to words, really. So those disciplines really overlap. Yeah, I refuse to use a contrived rhyme. And I also greatly try to respect the meter. And when I say by the meter, it's the rhythm and the flow of a story. And there's, I won't bore you with the details, but there are meters that you can choose to write in. The reason I choose to do that is I just think it's an easy listen. I kind of compare that listening to that meter as being in a rocking chair or being rocked, like, you know, we were when we were children, because that meter just tends to do that for you.
And my inspiration was really, Dr. Seuss. And that's really true. Late 2015 I was wrapping some Christmas presents and I was listening to Christmas music. And all of a sudden, instead of music, How the Grinch Stole Christmas came on, and it was the soundtrack from the original cartoon, not the Jim Carrey one, the one that Boris Karloff was actually the narrator of that. And I sat there, and I wrapped my gifts and I listened to, it's 25 minutes long, and I listened to the whole thing. And I said to myself, when it was over, I said, God, it's so magical, that I'm, you know, however old I am, 60 years old, or whatever, and I can sit and listen to this and be charmed by it. And I could have a little kid here next to me who would be equally charmed and what a gift that is. At that moment, I don't want to sound dramatic or whatever, but at that moment, I felt like God put His hands around me. And He said, that's what I created you to do.
And it was, you know, kind of out of nowhere and whatever. So, I, you know, I wrote a little story, and I did it in my church, I was supposed to speak in my church, and I wrote this little story called Rickett and Shine, which is actually out there on the podcast, to illustrate the point that I was making in the sermon. And Jason was there that day and he ran up to me, literally, after church and he said, Dude, that was amazing. And you know that, so enc-, really, really encouraged me and now you know, 95 parables later, it's, you know, it's, I never feel more connected to God than when I'm writing because I just feel like I'm, I don't want to make it sound like I said, too weird. But like, I'm just channeling that love and that the life that He has for us. And I'm able, I'm just so privileged to be able to put that into story form that hopefully, you could sit there with a child on your lap, and the child is going to be entertained, and the adult is going to enjoy it just as much as the child.
it really comes through. You have mentioned that that you have two loves, but you have a third love, your wife, Grace. Tell us about your lovely wife Grace and your family a little bit.
Yeah. Oh my gosh, she's awesome. So Grace and I met in high school, actually. So we weren't high school sweethearts, we were friends. In fact, the way I met her was, her sister dated my best friend. And so, we would kind of go over their house and we would all hang out. And that's how I got to know her. I was two years ahead of her in school. And we both started attending a Bible study that my basketball coach began to lead. We'd just, we'd go to his house on Thursday night, a bunch of teenagers, and sit in his living room. And he was just a great guy, Dave O'Connor. Dave, if you're out there, you know, love you, Dave O'Connor. And so that's, Grace went there as well. And that's how we really got to know each other more and more, and started dating and you know, kind of the rest is history. So we've been married 36 years; we just celebrated in February. She's amazing. She also works for World Vision. She's worked for World Vision for 28 years, managing the government grants that World Vision receives to do the work that they do. She's retiring in December. So, we're going to be getting in both of each other's way here in just a couple of months. But yeah, she's amazing and I love her to death. We have two kids. My son Jared, who is an amazing musician. For anybody out there that may be familiar with Christian music, he was the lead guitarist for the group Kings Kaleidoscope for a number of years, toured with a country western band for a number of years. Amazing musician, going back to school to study physics, believe it or not; he wants to be a theoretical physicist. And then my daughter Alyssa, who is just a, an incredible young lady and she is married to her husband, Ivan. They own a house in West Seattle here not too far from us. Yeah, she's an incredible young lady. Ivan is every much my son as my own flesh and blood. And we're just really blessed with a really, really sweet family. No grandkids yet though I'm working on them for that.
I'm sure they appreciate that.
No, they don't. I can tell you that.
Dana, we know your faith is very important to you. Can you just sort of articulate here at the end, because you've sort of alluded to it throughout this conversation, but how does your faith call you to do what you do? And let's wrap this up with a message of hope for these difficult times.
You know, obviously, COVID has turned the world upside down and caused, you know, so many changes in our relationships, in our daily lives, in how we view the future, how we view the present. And it's, it's just incredible. But I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was 18 years old and I've never looked back from that. I'm 62 now, never looked back from that decision. And if I've learned anything in my walk with the Lord it's that God returns nothing void, God returns nothing empty. Whether it's the things that we celebrate, or whether it's the things we have to walk through that are difficult. God is at work, and God is equipping us with a testimony. And that testimony is designed to be a light of hope to those who we encounter along the path. So I would just like to tell you all, take take a minute, sit back, try to set the anxieties of life aside for a minute and recognize that every moment that you have to live is an opportunity for God to touch your life, that God is equipping you, that God wants you to be that light in another's life. Those of you that sew purses out there, you are the light. I've seen these girls pull those notes out of the purses, I've seen them read them. I've seen them hug them. What you are doing is incredibly important. Wherever you may be in life right now, whatever may be going on, I will tell you, God returns nothing empty. He's building your testimony so that you can be a light to others. If we're all focused on that, hey, if every one of us, our goal was to be a light to somebody else, imagine how bright this world would be.
Dana, thank you for your words of wisdom. It was a pleasure speaking with you. Let's wrap it up. And everyone, please listen to the Sew Powerful Podcast and the Sew Powerful Parables. We will talk to you soon Dana. Thank you very much,
Thank you, Jan.
If what you've heard today inspires you too want to make a difference, I urge you to explore the Sew Powerful website at www.SewPowerful.org. That's SEW POWERFUL dot ORG. The website has great information about the organization. It's where you can download the free purse patterns or even make a donation. We hope you will join us again next week when we bring you another Sew Powerful story. Thanks for listening. Now, go out and have a Sew Powerful day.
ABOUT THE HOST
Jan Cancila has been making purses for Sew Powerful since 2014. She serves the organization as Director, Global Volunteerism, the Area Manager for Shows and Events-Mid/South USA and as the Houston Regional Coordinator. She was a public speaking major at Hanover College and holds an MBA from Our Lady of the Lake University. Jan had a 25-year career with The Coca-Cola Company before owning and operating a linen and party rental business in Houston. She is married with two grown sons, a lovely daughter-in-law and two remarkable granddaughters. Jan’s published work includes more than 100 online articles for Examiner.com. Reach Jan with comments or suggestions at email@example.com.