How Wishing for a Well Turned Into Dinner With Richard Simmons

Here I sit, shaking my head and laughing.  I’m about to tell you a(nother) story of God’s unbelievable, crazy-creative provision for the children of Hope Unlimited.  Settle in.  This one’s a doozie!
If you visit here often, you’ll probably recall that I blogged every day on our recent trip to Brazil.  I told you lots of stories … but not this one.
When we arrived at the City of Youth, I noticed these trucks.  We were told there had been problems with the water, and that a new well was required.  Hmmm…  A new well costs more than a little cha-ching, and I knew it wasn’t in the budget.  How would they pay for this?

We were told that the month before, a call came “out of the blue” from a man living in the United States who said he had lived at the City of Youth as a child, before Hope’s time.  He wanted to help and asked if there were any specific needs.  Our Director told him about our need for a new well … and the man got us the money!  Hope staff then hired a company to determine an optimal location for the well and hired another company to dig it.
By the time we left Brazil, they had dug down 260 feet but had not struck water.   We left … praying they would find it.
But the crew stopped digging and asked to meet the following day with our Director.  They recommended that digging stop.  A prayer request was sent to the staff … and at the meeting, the crew was instructed to keep digging instead of starting over in a new location.
Two days after returning home, we received this news: “At 290 feet, we were rewarded with a geyser of water, as an estimated 100,000 liters spewed into the air. Praise God!”  Praise God, indeed!

A few weeks later, Renaissance Man received a phone call from a man in California … the same man who had lived at the City of Youth as a child.  A friend of his was the benefactor, providing the gift of the well in honor of the young Brazilian boy-turned-man who beat the odds and followed his dream to America.  The little boy’s name was Mauro Oliveira.  Come back in a minute and read his success story.
By phone, Mauro introduced Renaissance Man to his friend … and said the first installment for the well ($10,000) was on its way.  His friend?  Richard Simmons, fitness guru extraordinaire.
Sit tight.  It gets even better …
Last December, as he tells the story, Richard Simmons was watching Jewelry Television with his long-time housekeeper.  There were several pieces she liked, and when she left the room, he picked up the phone to order them for her.  A jewelry designer himself, he asked what was involved in getting a line of jewelry on JTV.  Jewelry Television is located in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Hold that thought.
For 22 years, Hope Unlimited’s U.S. office was in California, virtually in Mauro’s back yard, but we didn’t even know he existed.  A few months ago, Hope made a cross-country move to Jefferson City, Tennessee — 45 minutes from Knoxville.
Last night in Knoxville Renaissance Man and I met Richard, Mauro, and Richard’s long-time friend and agent, Michael Catalano.  We joined JTV staff in celebration of Richard’s new jewelry line: Sparkle

Check out this cake!


The real reason Renaissance Man and I were invited, though, was to receive the rest of the money for the well. After spending the evening with Richard, I can tell you:  His heart is as big as his personality!

Yours Truly, Renaissance Man, Richard Simmons, Mauro Oliveira

My most heartfelt thanks to…  Mauro, for making the call.  I wonder what prompted him to do that.  Richard, for the new well.  Michael, for coordinating everything.  All three of them will be in Brazil next week to meet Hope’s staff and kids!
Update:  The trip took place as planned — and Hope’s kids welcomed them with open arms!  You can read about it HERE.

But wait!  There’s more …
Richard made an announcement at last night’s dinner.  The well isn’t the only thing he wants to do for Hope. He plans to
* Pave the campus roads
* Build a first-class playground
* Re-surface the swimming pool
* He’s in the process of designing a pendant, ring, and earrings to be sold on JTV with a portion of the profits going to Hope.  The subject?  A wishing well … because every child needs a dream.
Amazing, huh?  Seriously… You can’t make this stuff up.  I just love it when God decides to show off!  It reminds me to trust more and not try to “make” things happen …
Has God been showing off for you lately?  Tell us about it!  If not, try asking.
Now, about that invitation to stop by for some “sweatin’ to the oldies” the next time we’re in California…Let me get back to you on that one, Richard.
To read more Stories of Hope, go HERE.

In the mood for a little more Sparkle? Check out the tablescape that was my debut in Blogland.

Join me:
Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound
Spiritual Sundays at Blogger Spirit
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch


  1. That cake is to die for (but is it to diet for, lol lol lol). Your whole post just proves things happen for a reason. Happy Pink Saturday from the UK!

  2. Wow, what a wonderful and amazing story! Our God is incredible!

  3. Third try to get this posted…weird. Anyway, How wonderful. I have always heard that his heart was bigger than his biceps! I think he is a wonderful man that has done so much for so many and usually on a very quiet level. Lucky you to have had him touch your life, too. Call me if you go to Sweating to the Oldies workout-I’ll be right there with you- uh-huh! xo Diana

  4. What an awesome story! I have always liked Richard Simmons through the years and now i have another reason to. I have always admired his tender heart and generosity. And that cake….OMGoodness! It looks like Buddy from Cake Boss made it…truly a work of art!



  5. Only God…this is just wonderful. Yes He has been showing off for me recently…I call it Bravo God moments, and I posted on it earlier this week.
    This is just wonderful………..thanks for sharing!!

  6. I’m feel so goofy. I’m sitting here at the computer crying right now. I just can not get over the wonder of the God we serve. He moves mountains and give and give and gives.

    He. Is. AMAZING.

    Beth Moore calls him the Drama King. I love that. I love show off and Janette’s BRAVOs too.

  7. BTW, if I had known you were going to meet him, I would have told you to thank him from your friend Debbie in Georgia who STILL sings the songs from his old exercise record in her head when she’s exercising, even just power walking. I wish I could get my hands on that old record again. I need his motivation in a big way, but then again I don’t have a record player anymore. LOL

    I guess head music will have to do.

    “So let nothing get in your way, start now living every day… “

  8. Fabulous story and I love how God just gets things done. Hugs, Marty

  9. I truly enjoyed every word of your post. Glad there are people that has money willing to help those in need.

  10. What a great story of God’s provision! Thanks for sharing it with us. Blessings to you and Hope Unlimited!

  11. What a fun story! God does provide and I’m so tickled that Mr. Simmons understands the importance of giving!!

  12. I tell you, I’m positively blown away! I JUST LOVE TESTIMONIES LIKE THIS ONE! What are the odds, I ask you?! We serve a God Who beats all odds… and opens windows (AND FAUCETS…) to pour out the richest of blessings! Simply won.der.ful!!!!!


  13. What an awesome story!!!!!

  14. Oh I read today’s post and you linked back to this one; I am so glad I read it. Tears welled up in my eyes, God orchestrated all of this, and so many good people said yes at each needed step. Hurray for Simmons and everyone including you two of course.