Pastor Fleming Blishen came into his office with a few thousand dollars towards the church's goal of $10,000 by Friday. By 3 p.m. he had $14,000 and the number was growing.
The outpouring of support came in by the pledges of hundreds and thousands at a time. The largest single donation was $5,000. All of it is going towards the $22,000 total to buy a concert mini-grand piano that Our Saviour's Lutheran Church had been offered at that small fraction of the regular retail price.
For the piano's owner, Florli Nemeth, it was a miracle.
"Praise God. I'm so thrilled it's going to a church," said Nemeth, a longtime missionary and piano teacher. "I've been a church musician and a worship leader all my life. This piano has been used to play music of all kinds but it has worshiped God for its whole existence."
The piano was purchased new for her in August, 1983 by her husband Steve. It was his gift to her for attaining the Royal Conservatory of Music's Grade 10 level. She used it to carry on into an associate degree program.
"I've had a wonderful career teaching piano - 25 years in this city alone," she said.
It gave her emotional pain to give the piano up. Her husband passed away in 2008 of cancer, after completing his 50th year doing missionary work in India. Their children were no longer at home, and Nemeth still felt the Christian calling. She departs soon to help an upstart church in the Lower Mainland. The move meant downsizing her residence, and the seven-foot-four Yamaha piano had no place.
Her pastor, Tim Osiowy of Gateway Christian Ministries, knew Blishen and knew Our Saviour's Lutheran Church lacked a piano befitting its size and heavy public use for various musical activities. He offered to connect Blishen and Nemeth.
A price was arranged - $22,000 to be splint into two annual payments. It was an unbelievable deal for a pristine piano, Blishen said, but it was still a sober financial decision for the congregation to make.
The money raising effort was made more interesting on Monday when one member of the congregation, on condition of anonymity, promised to donate $1,000 if the other $9,000 owing in 2013 could be raised by Friday. When the public heard of this challenge, the funding flood began. Now, Blishen thinks the entire bill might be covered a full year ahead of schedule.
Nemeth is already paying forward the outpouring of support. She has two grandchildren, both young adults, and both taught by her to the Royal Conservatory Grade 9 level. She is using her incoming piano money to make a significant down payment on a baby-grand for each of them, compounding the gift of music.