Fundraising Through a Record Ferris Wheel

January 2, 2014 • United States
Fundraising Through a Record K’nex Ferris Wheel

A Samaritan's Purse donor finds a unique way to raise money for Typhoon Haiyan relief

Jeremy Biesecker has always enjoyed building with K’nex, but he is primarily a magician/Gospel illusionist. Since 1997, he has been doing shows for churches and other places. In 2009, he graduated from Word Of Life Bible Institute. Since then, he’s been doing shows for their summer camps each year. Jeremy had a fundraising page in 2014 for victims of Typhoon Haiyan..

An Opportunity

Since I was a kid, I’ve always enjoyed building large original K’nex rides and structures. Over the past four years, I’ve built one each summer at Word Of Life Inn in Schroon Lake, N.Y. In 2012, I built what was believed to be the world’s largest K’nex Ferris Wheel at 14.6 feet tall. Since then, I’ve wanted to break the record again.

I’ve noticed that each time there’s a devastating storm in this country or elsewhere, Samaritan’s Purse is always there to help out. It’s been my desire to help out by building a giant K’nex model as a fundraiser to help storm victims. As I was watching news coverage a few days after the November typhoon in the Philippines, I started thinking that this may be a good time to go for it.

The Project Begins

Fundraising Through a Record K’nex Ferris Wheel

Jeremy built the world’s largest K’next Ferris wheel to help survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6, ESV).

The problem was finding a public location to build the Ferris wheel. I took a trip to Scranton, Penn., to try and find a mall or other place to do it. My parents and I prayed that if it were God’s will for me to do this, He would open the door and provide a venue.

At the first mall I visited, I was unable to meet the manager. I then went to The Mall at Steamtown. At first they said that I would have to make an appointment, but soon the marketing director came out. To my surprise, the mall was interested in the idea. Within minutes, we were walking to choose a location. In about half an hour paperwork was signed and plans were in place. Clearly God had opened the door. Construction began the next day.

The Wheel is Built

And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us.And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15, ESV).

Construction of the wheel was exciting. I had to redesign many parts from previous models. Soon a donations box was set up to raise money. As it slowly grew, people became more and more intrigued by it. Though it turned out to be nearly four feet taller than my previous record, and probably about twice as heavy, I had no doubt that it could be done. The problem was finding enough pieces.

Over the years I’ve accumulated a large supply of K’nex, but for this project many more were needed. God moved in the hearts of a few people to donate pieces, but it still wasn’t enough. Eventually I ran out of certain parts. After I prayed about it for a couple days, God eventually led me to a man in New Jersey who had an enormous supply of K’nex pieces that he wanted to be put to good use.

Fundraising Through a Record K’nex Ferris Wheel

The wheel is 18.25 feet tall and took more than 74 hours to complete.

He used to collect used K’nex pieces from store displays to use for church events. Churches don’t do this much anymore, and he was glad to contribute them. It turned out to be far more than enough.

One week later, the Ferris wheel was completed and shown on the local news. It’s 18.25 feet tall, contains approximately 23,700 pieces, and took about 74.5 hours to build. It will be up until early January.

All donations will be given to Samaritan’s Purse. There’s no other organization that I would want the money to go to. It’s my hope that God will not only use it to help victims in the Philippines but also to lead many of them to Christ.