What does a newly opened thrift store in Independence have in common with a Guatemalan school in Ciudad Vieja?

Ask Tim Wessley and he’ll tell you he and his wife opened the This, That & the Other thrift store two months ago to financially assist Kairos, a Christian school started in 2004 as a Saturday afternoon feeding program for area children.

Today, it provides 92 students with a stable place for learning in a Christian format and an opportunity to stop the continuous cycle of poverty in the area. Once Kairos had two rooms. Now it has 10 classrooms, in addition to a computer room, music room/library, kitchen, bathrooms, showers and office space.

Tim and son, Matthew, operate the 12,000-square-foot renovated thrift shop at 17601 E. U.S. 40, Suite A, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday. All “profit” from the store goes directly to First Christian Church of Blue Springs and its continued efforts to support Kairos, which means “God’s timing.”

“What we want to do (with the thrift store) is to come up with a steady stream of income for the school,” Tim says, noting that as soon as This, That & the Other makes a profit, 100 percent of those profits are going to the school that Vinicio and Mayra Garcia run.

“I don’t want the school to have to worry about how the teachers are going to be paid. I want them to focus on educating the kids,” says Tim, an ordained Disciples of Christ minister who no longer pastors a church. He attends First Christian Church of Blue Springs.

For the Wessleys, opening the nonprofit thrift shop has been a labor of love.

“We worked 2 1/2 years to get the store done,” he says. From fundraising ... to going on Craig’s list ... to continuos negotiations with landlords looking for the right spot.”

And along the way, there were some wrong turns, Tim admits. “But God kept saying, ‘I am going to pull you back a little bit and make sure you are going in the right direction and doing it at the right time.’”

And God was faithful to His word.

“Two and one-half years later we opened the store on April 12.”

“We had a really good (grand opening),” he says, noting everyone who came in was told about the mission of the store, what it was supporting, and that donations and leftovers from yard, garage and estate sales would be welcomed.

As for clothing, “We wash and dry all (of them) before they are hung on the rack, he explains. “That’s one thing that kinda keeps a thrift-store smell out of the building. People have really noticed that.”

Another thing Tim is proud of is there are no overstuffed shelves.

“We want the store to be clean and stoppable.”

For additional information or to make a donation, call This, That & the Other” at 816-982-9545.

Jim Wallace is the person who got First Christian involved in supporting Asociacion Kairos Guatemala as part of its outreach ministries.

You’re not likely to meet a more passionate or compassionate person than this humble man, who wrote in his personal testimony that when he went to Guatemala in 2009 to help feed the children, “The blessing I received that day was the tears in my eyes and the feeling you get when you can’t talk. I don’t try to hold back those feeling anymore, it just feels good.”

In his testimony, “Kairos: What A Blessing,” the longtime member of First church recalls that as he was helping with the feeding program, he felt God’s call to become more involved.

Jim writes that God never let him forget that “blessed” day and the meal he served from two large pots. One filled with rice; the other with hot dogs in tomato sauce. And, of course, there were the corn tortillas.

“I knew after that day that somehow, some way, I was not going to be able to return to the U.S. and forget those kids.”

And Jim didn’t forget them. As director of Kairos North America, in care of First Christian Church, he’s the school’s biggest booster.

“Kairos is now my passion and mission. I believe I have been called to keep working in the effort,” he writes, thanking church members for supporting his efforts. “It would be impossible to support this mission without them.”

Jim and others from First church will be going on a mission trip to Ciudad Vieja in July, where they will do some minor repairs on Kairos, make home visits, build a one-room house and a wood stove for a needy family.

And on Saturday, June 28, the church is sponsoring its third annual Dinner, Silent Auction and Talent Show, with all proceeds going to support Asociacion Kairos. Last year’s event raised $21,203.

Dinner will be served from 4 to 6 p.m., followed by the popular talent show.

For more information about the fundraiser, visit the church Web site: www.fccbsmo.

Retired community news reporter Frank Haight Jr. writes this column for The Examiner. You can leave a message for him at 816-350-6363.