Since I married Chuck in 1973, says Claudia Branham, we have
dreamt of making millions and giving millions. Theres true raw need all
over the world, and only those blessed with abundance can adequately address
those needs. With network marketing as their vehicle, the Branhams are
now among those who can and do give generously to others.
Not that Claudia is new to giving; far from it. For twenty-one years, she volunteered tirelessly for the Tacoma Rescue Mission. And she did so even as a financially strapped young widow with six children. Now, with the additional time and income from their networking business, she and Chuck enjoy giving to as many as forty different organizations and ministries.
Chuck first entered the world of network marketing way back in 1955, when he was just twenty-five and the profession itself was still in its infancy. He says he failed miserably in his first venture, but that didnt stop him from exploring and working with some thirty other companies. Just call me a network marketing junkie, he says with a laugh.
When I saw people draw those circles on the blackboard, I caught the vision, he says. I saw how smart it was to leverage my time by helping lots of people who then help lots of people. No one has to do it alone; everyone can work from home; and theres pretty much unlimited income possibility.
Nearly twenty years later, Chuck met Claudia and introduced her to his work. When I saw those circles, says Claudia, I thought, Anyone with an ounce of sense would do this! Its an opportunity to touch so many peoples lives in such a simple way. I was hooked.
The Branhams passion for network marketing never waned. In their early years together they worked hard, producing $15,000 to $20,000 in volume in good months. When I realized I wasnt too happy with my company, recalls Chuck, a Christian minister, I asked the Lord to lead me to a really good company, which I believe He did.
In 1993, they joined their current company. It was the right vehicle for us, says Claudia. In the first seven months, we earned $66,000. Over the years, our income mirrored the companys explosive growth, earning us twenty and thirty times more than we had ever made before.
With 10,000 team members in thirty countries, they attribute their success to their leaders. In network marketing, its not who you know, its who they know, explains Chuck. Our biggest country is Norway, and weve never even been there! He looks forward to traveling to more than the six countries theyve visited so far, to help the people in his organization and especially to thank them. And of course, he adds, our trips to these wonderful places will be tax deductible!
At seventy-six, Chuck enjoys his life, whether working his networking business, tending his gardens, ministering to the needy or learning from his hundreds of books and audios. He claims, I work only five to ten hours a week because I have so many other interests.
Those five to ten hours dont include the time we spend talking with people wherever we go, adds Claudia. Its easy to strike up a conversation when people ask, What do you do? or they ask about a product we have with us. Wherever we are, we see people all around us who can benefit. Just the other day, Chuck talked business with someone he met at the camera shop while getting photos developed for this article!
Chuck feels that the Lord led him to meet one of his neighbors, Anne Rooney, at a nearby health club. At first, he says, she insisted she wasnt interested. Then, to try our product she said, Ill sign up to buy wholesale, but wont do the business. I remember saying to her, If this product helps you, great, but what if it doesnt? Would you rather be rich and in pain, or poor and in pain? With a hearty laugh, he continues, You can take your backache to a beach in the Bahamas by helping other people. At age seventy-eight, Anne now travels the world, leading a multi-million dollar organization.
Chuck encourages Claudia to share the story of meeting another of their top leaders.
I was volunteering at a craft show in 1993, about six months after starting our business, begins Claudia. Dottie Tate, who made her living with flower arrangements, came into the vendors lounge where I kept hot beverages brewing for our vendors refreshment. I could see that Dottie was in agony. She opened up to me and told me that doctors said there was nothing they could do for her pain or to delay her death, likely within two years. I told her that I had something that might help her and sent her information and a product that gave her almost instant relief. Fourteen years later, Dottie and her husband David are among the Branhams four largest leaders.
The Branhams plant seeds wherever they go. Chuck says, I have two small greenhouses in which I grow seeds year round. Its amazing to me how a tiny seed can produce a five-foot tall delphinium or an eight-foot hollyhock. Even the biggest tree in the world came from a tiny seed. I love to see things come from nothing to their full, glorious color and beauty.
Its just like network marketing, he adds. Its the law of large numbers. Theres a direct correlation between how many seeds I plant and how many flowers I end up with. In 1993, I passed out hundreds of audio tapes and from those seeds our large business grew.
Rebecca age 8, from India, after she had successful heart surgery.
Pastor Branham with his wife Mary, from India.
A young girl from Haiti whom the Brahmans sponsor.
Universal Church and Peace Ministries, Inc., a Charitable Trust in India.
The leader, Pastor Branham, put his name in a search engine one day and discovered
Chuck and Claudia Branham. What a find for this man who, along with his wife
Mary, is dedicated to caring for twenty-nine destitute children in India. He
contacted Chuck and Claudia after reading about their desire to help orphans.
When he told them about eight-year old Rebecca, whose heart condition required
immediate surgery, the Branhams were hooked.
They teamed up with the emcee of a large networking event in Missoula, Montana, who wrapped up the meeting with this plea: Network marketing makes it possible for caring people to share what they have with the less fortunate. He told Rebeccas story and said, I need thirty people to stand up right now and pledge $100 towards her medical care in India. $3275 was raised that night and the Branhams wired it to India immediately. Rebecca had her surgery and now, two years later, is in perfect health.
Seventeen other members of the Branhams team joined them in sponsoring at least one child each month to support their health, education and spiritual development. Additionally, because of the Branhams and others, 200 Indian children who were unable to be educated now attend the ministrys school.
AidChild, a USAID project with the Ugandan government, provides homes, innovative medical care, psychosocial support and education to orphans living with AIDS who do not have the support of extended families. In addition to monthly financial support, the Branhams gathered team members to create a memorable experience for the children. We filled a shipping container to the brim with clothes, medical supplies, toys and diapers and sent it off to the orphanages through Mercy Flight, recalls Claudia. It was an uplifting and exhilarating team effort.
Samaritans Purse provides spiritual and physical aid to victims of war, poverty, natural disaster and disease. Throughout the year,Claudia collects gifts for children served by this program. Both their team and family members work together filling more than 100 shoe boxes each year with gifts, toys, socks and school supplies for distribution at Christmastime.
World Vision helps the most sociably vulnerable children in the world, thanks to the support of people like the Branhams. Each year, millions of girls and boys are exploitedraped, forced into early marriage, enslaved in the global sex trade or used for bonded labor. World Visions recovery centers offer safe shelter, food, health care and trauma recovery assistance.
Closer to home, Claudia supports her local unwed mothers home, New Beginnings, by gifting them with one-of-a-kind baby blankets that she hand-crochets. Chuck sometimes puts cash right into peoples hands to help them make that months rent or care for a sick family member. They both proudly tell of each others generosity.
Citing Proverbs 31:1031, Chuck describes the ideal womanand says, Thats who Claudia is! He further says that in many families, women her age are still working for someone else in order to pay the bills.
Many people who retire are either dead or dead broke at sixty-five. Only about three of every hundred in the U.S. are financially independent.
Claudia explains further, Network marketing is a vehicle for people with a passion to help others in their own communities or in other countries, wherever the need happens to be.
We could have retired years ago with a healthy six-figure income, adds Chuck, but we love helping people. What a great blessing to be able to do this at our age!