Category Archives: Finances

Your help needed! ASR Travel & Expense Fund

Expense Reimbursements for Azusa StreetRiders Board Members

The following appeal and info comes from our founder, Brother Fred Beall:

As most everyone knows, since its inception in 1999, not a single penny has been taken from the Azusa StreetRiders account to pay for any expenses incurred by any of our members. This means that all travel expenses (gas, tolls, flights, food, hotels, etc.) have been the sole responsibility of the member. All funds received, without exception, have gone to purchase motorcycles for Oneness Apostolic missionaries or direct organizational expenses (postal charges, display booth costs, etc.) Additionally, even for the products we sell (t-shirts, flags, motorcycle paraphernalia, etc.), all profits are re-invested into ASR to help promote/recruit so that we can be more effective in our outreach efforts. Don’t you wish this was the case with all “charitable” organizations? No “sleazy” relationships lining the pockets of friends! 

Because of this mandate (included in our bylaws), to serve in any capacity with Azusa StreetRiders is both an honor and a privilege that sometimes carries a tremendous personal financial burden. All parties interested in serving on the board of directors are apprised of the fact that no reimbursements are permitted and for this reason, highly qualified individuals are sometimes not able to serve. This is unfortunate as we want the best of the best to be in leadership positions throughout Azusa StreetRiders. 

For these reasons, unbeknownst to the current and most recent past ASR board of directors, several members of ASR discussed a possible way to “help” with personal expenses so that the National Board of Directors of Azusa StreetRiders can be at least partially reimbursed. This concept was introduced at the ASR Business Meeting at the National Rally and received overwhelming approval. Essentially, a separate bank account is to be set up for “donations” from anyone to be used to offset personal expenses in ASR travel related situations. The membership approved the following to serve as the first Travel Advisory board/committee:

  • Brother Mike McGhghy
  • Pastor Doug Joseph
  • Brother Fred Beall

These were tasked with getting the “Travel & Expense Fund” underway and creating the necessary policy, documentation, and forms for the new fund. To this end, we (the advisory board members) submit the following:

ASR Travel & Expense Fund (info for ASR members) (PDF format, 86 KB).

Info: Please donate to the ASR Travel & Expense Fund, a separate account to help our national board members to fulfill their many duties. This fund is independent of all other ASR accounts and disbursements require pre-approval from the Travel Advisory Board. Click for more details about this fund.

ASR Travel & Expense Reimbursement Policy (info for ASR national board) (PDF format, 81 KB).

Info: This document establishes policies and procedures for the reimbursement of travel and expenses incurred during the conduct of outreach and other approved travel for a Board Member of the Azusa StreetRiders. Click for full details.

ASR Travel & Expense Report Form (for ASR national board to submit) (XLXS format, 19 KB).

This spreadsheet form provides an easy way for a Board Member of the Azusa StreetRiders to document the needed details of a request for reimbursement.

ASR dues were to be in by yesterday. For those having an “Oops” moment…

Please don’t fail to pay your dues for 2014. The due date was March 31. You can pay online right now via PayPal. If you can log into PayPal, just click the “Send Money” tab, and input the recipient as “support@azusastreetriders.com” — use the “send money to friends” option, which will spare ASR a fee. (Since there are no goods or services involved, this is allowable). If you need more time or want to make an arrangement for a payment plan, please let Sister Lydia Diaz know. If you have not yet paid your dues, starting in April your status will be changed to “Associate Member” unless arrangements have been made. Thank you!

Bike Scams to Avoid

It’s pretty sad how hard some people will work to steal from others. If they would just work as hard at an honest living as they do trying to con people, they’d do just fine, and we’d all be better off. One type of con that is rather amazing in its depth of “scamminess” is the “motorcycle seller has shipped the bike to you” scam. It goes something like this:

You’re on the hunt for a new bike. (We hope you’re not planning on going into debt to make the purchase, so lets just say that you’ve saved the money, and it’s about to burn a hole in your pocket. )You’re googling “Harley for sale” or “Honda for sale” or whatever. You just happen to find, on some unheard-of website of bikes for sale, a splendid specimen for an amazingly low price. It could be real. Maybe not. You’re on the alert.

Just in case it is real, you reach out to the seller. Clicking the link may lead to another page on a different site, but eventually you are either permitted to send a message via some website, or you obtain a regular email address and write to them.

They answer. The bike is still for sale. It’s as glorious as the ad listing proclaimed, but there are just some extenuating circumstances. The seller is currently located at XYZ location, while the bike is still at some prior address or some location  other than where the seller is at the moment.

You tell them you’re only willing to work through a legit escrow agency. They tell you that’s fine. They offer that they will ship the bike to you, and the money does not have to change hands until you have the bike in yours. There are vague but reasonable-sounding promises that you can make arrangements for payment via an escrow agency, and you will have a certain reasonable window of time (some days) after the bike arrives to either approve or disapprove of the transaction.

At this point, you are thinking you are not in danger, but you are wondering if it is legit. After a few more days of occasional contact, the seller seems content that you are serious. Next thing you know, you’re being notified that they have shipped the bike. “Wait,” you think to yourself, “I thought I was first supposed to make some connection with an escrow agency of my choosing?”

Then you start getting emails (with attachments) from a company that advertises itself as both a bike transport company, and an escrow-type company that facilitates sales. You stand to save thousands of dollars on this gorgeous bike.

There are multiple versions of the scam from this point forward. In one version, “you only need to pay for the shipping charges.” Say again? Yes, several hundreds of dollars in shipping charges. In another version, the documentation may “require” that you pay a “deposit.” In one recent case where this scam was actually attempted (but not successful) the amount of the “required” deposit was “only” $1,500 (on a bike that, if it really existed, would be worth about $10,000-$11,000, and which the seller had advertised for sale for only $6,500).

By the attachments, the con artists are essentially saying, “Look at all these really authentic-looking documents with actual signatures.” (Really?) There are often all sorts of documents—there may be a waybill and/or a bill of lading, tax documents, customs forms, a contract, or whatever. It all just looks so legit. See attachments below from the above-mentioned actual scam effort that did not succeed.

It’s amazing how realistic this “company’s” website will seem. All these documents seem so proper. The original listing may have even been on a trustworthy site. But don’t get comfortable. Warning! Danger! The payment method choices will likely demand either a bank transfer, wire transfer, money order, cashier’s check, or debit card transaction. If you use one of those methods, it will be as though you just handed them cash, and they’re gone. You won’t have any big “PayPal” company or any credit card company willing and able to go to bat for you, chasing down a “merchant” that hopes to continue doing business with them. Your money will be gone.

Consider that by the time you’re to that point, the con artist(s) will have spent several days luring you in (or at least attempting to). Who knows how many hours of labor they have spent in creating that whole fake company website, plus more hours spent in conjuring all the fake documentation. Amazing.

Caveat Emptor is Latin for “Let the buyer beware.” Indeed. As the old timers would often say, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” It’s always to good be careful, and today more so than ever.

Below are “documents” from an actual scam effort that did not succeed:

Contract-of-sale-1of3 Contract-of-sale-2of3 Contract-of-sale-3of3 Purchase-order

Happy New Year! Plus all-new gearings behind “Rumblings” newsletter!

ASR-Site

Yes, the amount of work we still have left to do is mind numbing, but look how far we’ve come already! Thank you, Jesus! Truly, if we had to get it all done in a hurry, the work still remaining is enough to drive a guy batty. So our sense of sanity and stability in all that is being undertaken is well summarized in a concept called kaizena Japanese philosophy of constant improvement. To put it more kindly: painfully slow, yet steady improvement. This is a microcosm of how the overwhelming goals of life can and should be handled.

Our local church in Clarksburg is now serving as a local campus for Purpose Institute (Bible college classes), and this holiday season our church undertook hosting a local instance of Financial Peace University (using video curriculum from Christian finance guru David Ramsey). The courses for both types of schooling have been tremendous. One story from David Ramsey illustrates how powerful a slow, steady improvement can be over the long haul.

He told of young man who learned how to be careful, saving and investing his money instead of going into debt. When he had finally saved enough money, he went down to the Mercedes Benz dealership and arranged to buy his dream car. He drove it home for a “test drive,” and his wife, friends, and neighbors all went bonkers congratulating him.

“You did it!” they shouted. “You’ve arrived!” they said. However, he finally chose to not buy the $40,000 car. Why? Well, when he started to think how much that saved money could become for him if he invested it instead, and when he considered that the car purchase would pretty quickly depreciate away the huge wad of cash, he chose to invest it instead.

Twelve years later (just 12, not 42 or 52), he saw a man driving the exact same model and make of car he almost bought. The car pulled up beside him at a stoplight. It had all the same features as the one he almost bought. It was in nearly mint condition for a 12-year-old Benz.

The man said to the driver of the nice, used Benz, “Excuse me, sir. Is that an ’82?”

“Yes!” came the reply.

“Nice!” he complimented.

“Thanks!”

“Would you mind to tell me what your car is worth right now?”

The driver of the used Benz went on to say that the car was in like-new condition, and he had just bought it for $4,000.

The man (who had chosen not to buy the same type of Benz when it was new) thanked the other driver, and went on about his business. He had invested the $40,000—he had socked it away in a mutual fund, with the dividends set to stay in the fund, for compounding of interest. He had never touched the money since.

When he got a chance, he checked on the value of his money then. The accumulated value, with interest? About $400,000. No gimmicks. Just time, and slight, positive improvements with each passing day.

I’m not just thinking about money. In the same way that we’re working to (painfully slowly) improve and enhance the ASR sites/programming, you can work daily to improve your life, your skills, your relationships, your finances, whatever. Maybe you need to lose some weight. Maybe you need to shed an addiction. The Apostle Paul once wrote of being able to withstand both failure and success, not being tripped up by either (see Philippians 4:13). It’s an important part of our life as a Christian. You can do it, in Jesus name! Anything can get amazingly better over time, with tiny improvements each day. As we enter this new year of 2014, let’s not just make a bunch of over-the-top “resolutions” (likely impossible deadlines for hard-to-reach goals). Instead, deliberately, carefully, intentionally make every day count, even if only by just the tiniest bit of improvement. God bless you in 2014, in Jesus name.