Our story begins in 1993. I was a photographer at the time doing pretty well financially. My clients included National Geographic, Hallmark, Sony, General Mills, Wrangler, American Airlines and many more Fortune 500 companies. I had traveled to over 50 countries on photo assignments.
Then one day I got a call from the IRS. They wanted to audit me for my 1989 tax returns. I complied and of course showed them everything they needed. It turned out the government decided that I owed them $32,000 for $28,000 I collected on an insurance policy! That was a lot of money but that was just the beginning. They began to add on more and more penalties and interest, raising the already large sum of money to $40,000.
Soon after this stressful and heart breaking time my wife Ann was diagnosed with cancer. We accrued over $12,000 worth of medical bills to help her. We had no insurance, so I was making payments to the doctors and hospitals monthly.
The government wasn't done yet though. A government official came to our home and informed us that he had put a tax lean on our home and the property next door that we owned. Our home was worth $210,000 and the land was worth $60,000 and the IRS was going to sell it at auction for $29,000 for all of it. The total the government now said we owed was $69,000!!!
We now had no car, no money in the bank and the government was throwing us out of our home.
When your home is sold this way, you have 6 months to buy it back but you also have to pay 30% interest. At this time the IRS also confiscated all the money in our bank account and with no money to make our car payments, the bank repossessed our car. We now had no car, no money in the bank and the government was throwing us out of our home.
We have always believed in the power of prayer and positive thinking. We knew that somehow, someway, we could get through all of this. Ann and I know that many of you may have had similar experiences, where you were ready to give up all hope because the odds just seemed overwhelmingly against you.
Our message to you is to NEVER give up. There is hope for financial freedom no matter where you may find yourself right now.
Friends to the Rescue
Nov. 6, 1995 was the date I needed to come up with the $43,000 plus the 30% per annum interest, for a total of $47,000 or my home, that we have lived in for 17 years and raised a family in, would be gone.
For 6 months I tried to raise the money needed to buy back our home. Remember that the IRS had taken away our property (the lot next door) that we could have borrowed money on. I borrowed from my mother's credit card. I borrowed from my wife's mother. My adult children that could, loaned us some money. My seventeen year old daughter even contributed the money she had been saving to buy her first car. After I had exhausted all of my own financial resources, we were still $17,000 short and had only 3 weeks to the deadline.
Well, the good side of all this is that here in Orem, Utah, good neighbors still exist. Three weeks before the deadline to raise the money, while teaching a Sunday school class, I mentioned what had happened to us. My neighbors then formed a Neighborhood Assistance Committee to help me raise the last $17,000. They then began to collect money anonymously.
I was down to the last day to raise the money or lose my house and was still $17,000 short.
I was down to the last day to raise the money or lose my house and was still $17,000 short. Then a miracle happened! The woman who was the head of the Neighborhood Assistance Committee showed up at our doorstep with a cashier's check for $17,000. Within a four-block area my friends and neighbors had raised and donated over $17,000, the amount of money I needed to buy back my own house.
My wife and I were overwhelmed by the generosity shown us. Could you ask for better neighbors or friends? We are not a rich neighborhood. Many gave from their saved vacation money. Others from their Christmas fund. Some from their savings and some borrowed from their bank to help. But most important, all gave from their heart.
Many years have now gone by since my neighbors and friends saved my family and me from financial oblivion. I have also learned how quickly misfortune can be turned to opportunity by not letting circumstances control your life. No matter what the obstacles, no matter who or what is aligned against you, never doubt in yourself and your God given abilities. Because you see, this story has a happy ending, and that is the part I want to share with you now.
Curing Financial Cancer
In November of 1995 I was able to save my home because of my family, friends and neighbors. I knew that many had sacrificed deeply. I had promised all that helped that I would pay them all back somehow.
The question now I began to ask myself was how I was ever going to pay them all back. Counting the $17,000 I received from the neighborhood committee I now owed over $45,000 to my family and friends who helped me, plus I still had a large tax bill of over $24,000 which was adding daily interest, not to mention regular living expenses and monthly bills. My house was saved, but I still had a long way to go to cure my "Financial Cancer."
I knew it would take a power greater than my own to put me back on top again.
I knew it would take a power greater than my own to put me back on top again. "Just give me the opportunity" was my daily prayer, "I will provide the work" I had also thought that I would be able to pay most of the money back to my benefactors by selling the lot that I owned, which had no mortgage. Unfortunately, even though I had received my home and property back from the IRS, they would not release the lien on it until the whole account was settled.
It was now the spring of 1996. It had been over 3 years that I had been suffering financially because of my 1989-90 tax returns. At this time I was also the top distributor in a networking company from Australia. Unfortunately, the company was heading into some financial difficulty and I could see that it wasn't going to be around for much longer. I decided to turn more of my attention to my photography business instead of networking and I left on a 2-week photo excursion to Yosemite and the Redwoods along the pacific coast.
This was a time in my life to turn my thoughts inward. I knew that photographing spring in the Redwoods would help me both financially and spiritually. I had a feeling as I photographed the Falls of Yosemite, the Rhododendrons in the Redwoods and the sunsets into the pacific that something was about to change. Seeing these "Miracles of Nature" and feeling my creative urges coming alive again helped me to realize once again that I too was a "Miracle" and had the potential to lift myself up and to once again reach for the clouds. It was during this trip that I realized my "Financial Cancer" was curable. It was during this trip that I remembered my past beliefs, that no one can control your thoughts or your destiny but yourself.
I once again felt at peace with myself and felt that there must be a reason for all things and that I would become a better person because of what I had gone through.
Shortly after returning from my photo excursion, I received a phone call from a long time friend and business associate, Kelly Olsen. He told me they were starting a new company with a very unique product from Tahiti and wanted to meet with me. Now, I want you to understand something, Tahiti was and is my favorite place in the entire world to photograph. I had been there before and had always been looking for reasons to go back. I have photographed around the world and there is no place like Tahiti.
My first interest in meeting with Kelly was to be able to do the photography with this new company. I began to get excited about the prospect of returning to Tahiti to photograph the beauty there. What Kelly was really interested in though wasn't my photographic expertise; he was interested in using my networking expertise in launching the new company.
Here was a product, TAHITIAN NONI® Juice, a tropical fruit with amazing healthful properties that had never, ever been marketed, a plant with 2,000 years of traditional history among the natives of Polynesia. The company "Morinda" was formed to market this amazing product and in July of 1996, opened its doors. I was asked to be one of the three marketing legs to the company. The first few months I never worked so hard in my life. My voice went hoarse because of the time spent on the phone working 16-hour days, 6 days a week. I do not work on Sundays. My organization began to grow and people's lives were changing for the better, both physically and financially. Morinda's goal was to do one million in sales that first year, instead the company surpassed $39 million in sales. Noni, this simple plant from Tahiti, that blooms all year long, had become the answer to our prayers.
By January 1997, my 7th month with Morinda, our income had dramtically increased and we were making 6 times the amount as when I was working as a photographer and it continued to climb monthly! We were now able to pay back all those who had helped us in our time of need. We paid back our family, we paid back our neighborhood the $17,000 they had given us and even included a 10% interest payment, which is something they never asked for.
We paid off the IRS, the medical bills from Ann's operations and all our debts...
We paid off the IRS, the medical bills from Ann's operations and all our debts except our home. On Mothers Day, I bought my wife a brand new white Chevy Tahoe, the dream car she had always wanted and I paid it off in only 3-months. On June 19th, our anniversary, my wife Ann, bought me a red BMW convertible, my dream car. And the best part, she paid cash!
That summer, as our income continued to climb, we paid off our home loan. We were then totally debt free and even had money in the bank. We were able to help 4 of our children with down payments on their new homes.
In November of 1997 our thoughts went back two years and we pondered how much our lives had changed. And we thought of our neighbors. Where would we be today without our neighbors and friends who gave so much two years earlier? I knew that many of them had sacrificed on our behalf. We would not be where we were if not for them.
A feeling came to me during one of my out of town trips of what I should do. I shared this thought that same night with my wife by phone. She told me that she also had the same impression during that day of what we should do.
Right before Thanksgiving we called the neighborhood chairperson who had earlier that year distributed the money we gave her to our anonymous helpers, we asked her if Ann could come visit her. Ann walked over to her home, knocked on the door and handed her a cashiers check for $17,000. Ann asked her to give each person, who had helped us two years earlier, whatever he or she had paid into the fund. If they had given $2,000, then pay them an additional $2,000. If they had paid $50 or a $100, then give them an additional $50 or $100.
Eight months earlier they had already been paid back with an additional 10% interest, now it was time to show our real gratitude for what they had done to help us. To many people, the money could not have come at a better time. Some gave it to charity. Some wished they had given more.
Many lives were touched that Christmas season, all because of a little unknown fruit from the South Pacific called Noni.
Many lives were touched that Christmas season, all because of a little unknown fruit from the South Pacific called Noni. By the way, our "Financial Cancer?" it is now cured. And the best part? There are no side effects. Unless you count going from broke to millionaire a side effect.
The message Ann and I have for everyone and especially you who are reading these words, "Never, ever, give up hope. You write your own future." TAHITIAN NONI® Juice is a gift that needs to be shared with the world. And I promise you this, "Those who do the sharing will be blessed beyond their wildest imagination".