Name: Deb Copeland
Organization: Live to Give ... a God Thing
Town: Hilton Head Island
Involved for: Nine years
Position: CEO and founder
Giving it all to God. At 50, I decided to work for God and work for him full time. And whatever money I make, whether it's off my book sales (I'm an author) or whether it's from speaking engagements or if it's anything in our Reach Out gallery, anything I make, I give to God. And I do it in a way that it presents Christ to children at home or abroad. I'm 59 now so I've done it for nine years. (Live to Give ... a God Thing is a nonprofit organization that works to help needy people. The organization provides housing, tutoring and even scholarships for children to attend Hilton Head Christian Academy.)
An epiphany. I woke up at 50 and just said, "God, you've made me so successful, and I'm on the speaking circuit, making these big dollars to go and speak, and I have a business that grew to 4,000 employees in seven states, and I've had multiple other successful businesses, yet I don't understand for what." ... so I said, "I just want to truly give myself as a servant."
Blessings abound. I love it. You think that giving to other people helps them, and I can see down that nine-year journey path, just in little increments of life, as though you put your life on a spreadsheet or a timeline, how I have grown and how I have been touched, and how I have been blessed. And I believe more abundantly than the people that we provide housing for, an apartment for, or education for their children or what have you, I have truly been blessed tenfold.
Growing in the Lord. The spiritual growth that comes from giving and being in the apartments of less fortunate people and being with people who are homeless and trying to find remedies for their predicaments, God has grown me and blessed me. I used to be kind of a germaphobe, didn't want anybody to touch me. And now I have these sweet kids who crawl all over me, snot-nosed and all, and I just am not repulsed. And I say that kind of tongue-in-cheek and laughing, but I know that only the redemption of our Lord and saviour could do that because that is not anything I could buy. That is a gift.
Follow reporter Amy Coyne Bredeson at twitter.com/IPBG_Amy.