Difference Makers Part 3

My Dad is a Difference Maker

I asked my Dad to write and tell me about his involvement in Rotoplast International.

“Volunteerism is something that has been near and dear to my heart for a long time.  I attribute this to the fact that my life has been so richly blessed, and I feel a duty or obligation to give back to my community both at home and abroad.

After joining Rotary in 1994, and being involved in giving back to the community, I wanted to do something more hands on than just raising funds. While I acknowledge the importance of fundraising, I was looking for a hands on experience. One day I came across a program on CBS in which Connie Chung was doing a story on free surgeries being performed on kids with cleft lip and palate, in third world countries.  This was very intriguing to me although I do not have a medical background.

Many years later a program called Rotoplast International was introduced to my local Rotary Club. Rotoplast International addresses cleft lip and palate cases in third world countries. Immediately following the meeting, I spoke with the presenter to tell him I would be very interested in getting involved.  Several months later I received a call from the former presenter, asking me to stand in for him on a mission to Peru, as he had a scheduling conflict.  I had been looking for an opportunity to serve in this way, so I jumped at the chance.

My first mission was La Roya, Peru. La Roya is located at 12,000 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains. Being at this altitude presented some interesting challenges as it was often hard to breathe, but despite the challenges, I was hooked. This trip was life changing for me, as it reminded me of how blessed we are in our home country, and how many disadvantaged kids there are, in third world countries, that cannot afford to pay for any sort of health care.  On this trip I decided that I wanted to continue to volunteer for Rotoplast on an ongoing basis.


My Dad Ken Funk on a mission to Peru. He is the handsome guy reaching out to this mom and child.

I was involved with Rotaplast International for 10 years.  I participated in 20 missions as a non-medical volunteer  to 8 countries. I also served for 6 years on the Rotoplast International Board of Directors which operated out of  San Francisco.”

It is interesting to me that my Dad is very squeamish in regard to hospitals and medical procedures. His background is business in the food industry. But it was so fun to watch his excitement and passion for these children who before surgery were often ostracized and shunned in their towns and villages. Having these surgeries really made a difference for all the children, many who were then able to attend school and enter back into society.

For more on Rotoplast International check out their website.

My cousin Suzanne is a difference maker

I asked Suzanne to explain what she is doing to help the people of Uganda.


“Our Maisha Store was birthed out of a heart of love for the precious people of Africa. After living in Uganda for 3 years, working alongside nationals, caring for 62 children, opening a community school and medical clinic, our eyes were open to a much deeper social economic issue. First and foremost, our mission is to help human beings—changing the lives of individuals, families and communities, for good. This change is much more than a quick fix or temporary solution. It means a perpetual altering of the systems and cycles that propagate poverty and economic disparity around the world. And we believe that socially-conscious industry holds the key to that permanent change.

We had an idea to sell jewelry made in Africa here in our North American context. As fun as fashion is, it’s also an industry that’s perfectly positioned to make a powerful impact. What makes us so unique is that we have direct relationship with our African artisans in the cities and rural villages of Uganda and Kenya. We make regular trips to Africa to meet with our artisans and better equip them in their craft and business. Maisha Store helps you make a difference with every purchase. When impact products are purchased the profits flow directly back to our artisans, helping them make the changes they desire.”


Suzanne with an artist in Africa.

Check out Maisha today at www.buymaisha.com

I am thankful to come from a family that has so many difference makers in it. I haven’t even begun to tell all of the stories of difference makers in our family. There are so many people in my family I haven’t written about yet who are making a difference!

How are you making a difference? If you can’t come up with an answer to that question contact me and maybe together we can help you find a way to make this world a better place.

See also “Difference Makers Part 1”, “Difference Makers Part 2”

Difference Makers Part 2

I love what Ada Noble, an early Christian and Missionary Alliance missionary had to say about being a difference maker.

“The Bible tells us that we are fellow-labourers with God, but there are many who cannot see how they (so poor and humble) can be of service to a great God. What have they to offer? What could they do that God could do without them? … All great work for God has been done by men and women who did it with what they had in hand, using what was immediately available … There are many Christians who would be willing to serve God is they had some great talent. Many, however, are just like Moses, they hear the call of God, see the opportunities before then, but they look at their own short comings and the result is that the work which God wants done remains undone or is left for someone else to do … God wants us to serve him with what we have, not with what we would like to have … If we fully yield to God the little we have in our hand, God can use that thing no matter how small it may seem to us …” Ada Noble- Forgotten Voices

I drilled it into our children from the time they were very young that the bible says “To whom much is given, much is expected”. I explained to them that because we lived in North America we were among the top 2% percent of richest people in the world. Having clothes to wear, food in the fridge and cupboards, 2 vehicles and a home to live in, proved we were rich compared to most countries of the world. The kids had a hard time understanding that if we were considered rich, why we couldn’t buy all the things they wanted, and why did we drive such old vehicles, and shop at thrift stores.

I challenged our kids that whatever career they chose God would expect them to give back to their community, church and the world. Our son wanted to be an architect from the age of 14 or so. I challenged him often to keep in mind that when he reached his goal, he should remember to use his gifts to help those less fortunate in his community and the world.

Our Son David is a Difference Maker

David is the handsome blonde gentleman showing the structure in the photo.

Some of my Mom rants, are paying off. David is in his second year of his Masters of Architecture at Rice University in Houston Texas. David has been using what he’s learned about architecture to inspire younger students through a program called RAMP (Rice Architecture Mentorship Program). This program serves 25 or so students in grades 6 to 12 who participate one Saturday a month.

Every RAMP session includes an extensive presentation on the day’s theme, an activity and feedback from the students. The themes cover topics like structures and space, but the teachers put special emphasis on communications and technology.

The Rice students enjoy helping their participants learn to see the world around them with new perspective. “They mention how they are now thinking about structures in particular,” said on the Rice students. “We spoke about how buildings communicate in a certain way, how they invite the public or how they might unwittingly make the public feel unwelcome. Or are ambivalent to the public. Now these students are noticing things in their homes or their schools that they would change, which is nice to hear.”


David has really enjoyed his time with RAMP so far. Reaching out to the community is something he values. Using his education to reach out to kids is making a difference in the community.

See also “Difference Makers Part 1”, “Difference Makers Part 3”


Difference Makers Part 1

I find God often gives me ideas for blogs while I’m driving. This can be a challenge because it’s hard to write down my ideas and drive at the same time. If I’m lucky enough to find a scrap piece of paper in the car, I can at least jot down the big ideas. I wonder if I could get a ticket for distracted driving if I’m not touching my phone but writing on paper.

Well my latest idea came the other day …

I had just stopped to pick up 50 Days for Girls Kits from a local chapter. This group meets once a month to work on sanitary supply kits. I saw women from a variety of life stages, sewing, cutting fabric and threading draw strings into bags. I told the organizer that I hate to sew. “No worries” she said “you could do other things if you joined us. We had a lady in our group for a while who was in her 90’s and although she was too weak  to thread the drawstring bags all the way through, her job was just to get them started, and we carried on from there.” These ladies gather faithfully to make a difference for girls from 3rd world countries who would otherwise miss school one week per month because they have no sanitary supplies. Please check out https://www.daysforgirls.org/ and see if your women’s group can participate by sending supplies, making kits or fundraising for this great organization.


  Local Chilliwack Days for Girls Group


Our daughter Hannah is a Difference Maker

This girl has had a desire to make a difference in the world since the age of 8. Her dilemma was “Mom should I be a people doctor when I grow up and move to Africa? Because Mom if the people come to me and their goat is sick, and they need the goat for food but I can’t fix the goat, Mom they could die. But Mom if I become a vet, and I can fix the goat, but the people are sick, the people could die. Mom what should I do?” What a dilemma for an 8-year-old. This would actually keep her from falling asleep because she was so concerned to make the right choice. I said, “Honey why don’t you be a people doctor and then you can still know how to deliver goat babies and stitch up goats.”

Since that young age Hannah has done missions trip to Sri Lanka, California (to a migrant city), Mexico and this summer will travel to Swaziland to help at a home for girls who have been sex-trafficked. She also sponsored a girl from Haiti for 4 years with her own money from the age of 15-19.

Hannah in her 4th year pre-med


My Mom is a Difference Maker

My mom has been teaching for over 48 years. She tried to retire at age 60 when she had her first cancer diagnosis, but she missed the kids so much she went back to teaching as a teacher on call and is now in her early 70’s and going strong. The kids love her! She has now taught 2 and sometimes 3 generations of children from the same family. My Mom has had 4 cancer surgeries now to remove melanoma, but she keeps on going. She celebrates the times she is cancer free and continues to pour love into the children she teaches.


My Mom after a recent cancer removal surgery. Lunch to celebrate she is cancer free once again.


My Grandparents were Difference Makers

While I didn’t grow up in a Christian home my grandparents on both sides of the family were instrumental in my life. My Mom’s mother nurtured me through rocking me, baking with me, reading me bible stories and taking me to church when I slept over for night. My Dad’s father drove me to Sunday school for 14 years along with all of his other grandchildren who otherwise would not have been in church. My grandfather never preached or shared the gospel with me, but he got me to church and I’m forever grateful.


My Baptism, I’m on the far right. Beside me my Grandpa who drove me to church. My Grandma with the white purse nurtured me.

 What do These Difference Makers Have in Common?

Most are overcomers. People often find a passion for others because they once had a need that wasn’t fulfilled. This can cause a passion for others to rise up within them so others don’t need to suffer the way they did.

They are fear facers. Anyone seeking to make a difference is going to come up against obstacles but difference makers push through their fears. They face fears and rise up.

The are excuse deniers. Everyone can come up with excuses why not to do things. I don’t have the time, the money, the resources, the courage, the experience. The list of excuses can be endless but Difference Makers push through the excuses.

They aren’t in it for the glory. There are thousands maybe even millions of people doing small and big things all around us to make this world a better place. Most things we will never even hear about. So Difference Makers aren’t in it for the glory. They are just serving because they believe it is worth it to help another.

They will never know the impact of their actions. Most Difference Makers will not see the full ripple effect of their actions. From “What Color is Your Parachute” author Bolles writes “As the stone does not always know what ripples it has caused in the pond whose surface it impacts, so neither we nor those who watch our life will always know what we have achieved by our life and by our Mission. And we may never know what we have accomplished, until we see Him face-to-face after this life is past.

Are you willing to be Difference Maker?

See also “Difference Makers Part 2” , “Difference Makers Part 3”



Is God Calling You to a New Purpose?

I am a person who loves new challenges and opportunities to grow ministry, business, knowledge and networks. However, not every idea is a good one, and if I pursued every new idea I have, I would most likely end up scattered in many directions, and a master of none.

I recently went through a time of questioning my ministry purpose. I was Pastor of Women’s Ministry and Executive Assistant at a church in Chilliwack, British Columbia. For fun I was taking every opportunity possible to travel around British Columbia and Canada, speaking to groups of women about their spiritual gifts, calling and purpose. I was growing increasingly discontent in my job at the church, where I was having few opportunities to teach and speak. I felt that my role at the church was to raise up leaders to lead within small groups to grow community among the women. So here I was, travelling and speaking, teaching women about their gifts, at the same time I felt I wasn’t using my gifts to their fullest potential. This wrestling within me lead to my decision to leave my position at the church to pursue speaking to women full-time.

I battled with the Lord about leaving my employment at the church for over a year. I was in a tug of war with God between what He had next for me in ministry, and my love for the women of my church. I really have no words for the inner turmoil I felt. If you are in this place, my heart goes out to you.

Here are a few of the things I’ve learned in this recent journey to my new purpose:


Don’t let fear hold you back. 

Fear can threaten to hold us back from pursuing the purposes of God. However, we can use fear as motivation to take a realistic look at whether we have heard clearly from God about a new direction. If we use fear to weigh the risks involved in our choices, we can gain good self awareness which hopefully leads us to some heart conversations with Jesus.

Anger may be telling you something.

Looking back, I was often frustrated and angry in my position at the church because there was so much more I felt I had to offer in leadership and ministry. However, looking back I think God used that anger to motivate me to see that it was time to get over my fear of taking the next steps to pursue a new ministry He had in mind for me.

Unhappiness or discontent may be telling you something.

I realized that I was getting close to burnout at the church. The harder I tried, the more tired and frustrated I became. I thought that my frustration stemmed from what was going on around me, but I now see that my frustration stemmed from my disobedience to God’s call. I was the issue. I was just done at the church and God was moving me on.

Listen to your inner voice and the voice of others when they tell you that you just don’t seem like yourself lately. 

I knew that I didn’t feel like myself, but I was doing my best to fake it. I know I’m not my best self when my ideas come to a stand still, and my passion to get up in the morning and attack my to-do list dies. When I’m at this point I realize that I’m headed for burn out or a pit of depression.

Pay attention when you are forming bad habits to cope.

Over-doing things like caffeine, shopping, compulsive actions, exercise, Netflix, alcohol, perfectionism, food … pay attention to yourself. What is really going on? Instead of turning to these things instead turn to Jesus and His word and see what He has to say to comfort you in your anxious times.

Know which voices to listen to.

In a time of transition there will be many voices vying for your attention. When I talked about my vision of what I knew God was calling me to, I heard voices of support, questioning, advice, offers of other employment … but through all the voices I needed to hear the voice of Jesus and what He was inviting me to do next.


At some point I had to take the leap of faith, hand in my resignation and trust that God was leading me where His grace would sustain me. We serve a great God, with great purposes and ways. God invites us to partner with Him to be world changers. And whether changing the world means making a difference for one person or millions, it’s worth the risk to follow Jesus and to serve others.

by Kelly Rader – Speaker/Teacher/Life Coach
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