And we’re on to part 3! Have you read all of this so far? Thanks if you have! What are your thoughts? We’d love to hear (read) your comments on what we’ve written so far. Also, we encourage you to share these entries out with others who may be wondering what a missionary’s life is like. Like I mentioned in the Intro, feel free to go ahead and replace us with another missionary you know as you read this story. Chances are, they have had many months like this.
If you haven’t read the other parts, here are the links:
Part 4 will be published tomorrow. Thanks!
September 2, 2012
Proverbs 3:27-28: “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you” when you already have it with you.”
This was a part of my bible reading last night. It was encouraging. We had the power to act and we had the money with us, so we gave it away.
This morning I woke up with expectation of something happening. Nothing too big, just expecting. I guess that’s a good thing. As we headed out for church the kids asked if we were staying for service and I replied “depends on if the miracle has happened yet.” Michelle and I then played a quick game of “How is it going to happen this time?” It is the game where we try to figure out how God is going to provide miraculously this time. The key is that we’ve never really seen Him provide the same way twice. So your guess has to be something we have yet to see.
Michelle proposed that “someone will come up to us and say ‘I bought this car at a police auction and I want you to have it. Oh, and I haven’t looked in the trunk yet.’ And then inside the trunk is a bunch of cash.” I could handle that one!
I suggested that I’d go in to beg for a little grace on the rent today or tomorrow and the office would tell me that our rent was already paid. I know, I like Michelle’s play better too.
(This has nothing to do with anything, but on the way to church we pretty much made it without hitting one red light. By the end I was thinking that I shouldn’t even say anything to Michelle in case I jinxed it. Then I said it and we held hands Thelma and Louise style for the last couple of lights. Oh the things that give my simple mind pleasure.)
In our Sunday School/ bible study class (aka ABF) at church, there was a moment where Michelle and I both had to investigate our emotions in all this. The friend who we had given some of our savings to mentioned us in the class. We were REALLY hoping that this wouldn’t happen. At the same time, we had put “financial provision” on the prayer request sheet. Obviously I didn’t like to be asking for financial provision at the same time someone is talking about how we gave them $1000. I can hear the judging thoughts, “you must not actually need any help because you are giving so much away!” We’ve decided that there must have been a reason for us to hear our names mentioned like this and it was also really cool to hear how God used our gift to complete a lesson he was teaching our friend. It is still tough to hear someone celebrate about the gift when you’re sitting there wondering how the rent is getting paid today.
After ABF was done, the friend mentioned before called me over and said, “I just wanted to let you know that whatever you are waiting for is coming. It may seem like you are not going to be provided for, but it is going to happen and it will be bigger than you’ve ever dreamed.” I related the encounter to Michelle and I could see that it encouraged her the same way it did me. The term “waiting for” has been huge for a while in my quiet times. I’ve been saying over and over “I’m waiting God. I’m waiting for you.” So hearing this prophecy with those words reminded me that He is listening.
During the church service, Jared leaned over to me and said, “we can’t leave early, the miracle hasn’t happened yet.” Thanks buddy.
But as far as I can see the miracle didn’t happen at church. I say that because we’re now sitting at home at 2PM on September 2 and the rent was technically due on the 1st. We always have until the 3rd (I think!) to have it in, but tomorrow is Labour Day (or Labor Day in the US) and I suspect the office is closed. I confessed to Michelle that I am getting prepared to walk into the office and admit that I can only pay “this much” and that they will have to wait for the rest. That sucks because (pride alert) as far as I can remember I have NEVER once missed a rent or mortgage payment in 15 years of living on my own. I don’t want the first time to be the time when I declared “I’m depending on God’s promises to be fulfilled.”
Here’s another thought I’ve had a couple times today while walking around church. “How many people are there in this building who are desperate for rent/food/other purpose money and I have no idea?” There is no way I was the only one in that building wondering how their family was going to pay the rent. Oh God, show me how to deal with that thought.
September 2, 2012 (later on)
There, I just did it. I dropped off the rent check even though we’re short $161 to pay it. Options are to borrow from someone to cover that and/or continue waiting on God. I’m serious, this sucks. This is the part I hate. I know the promises, I’ve seen them confirmed before and I know it should happen again. But I feel so faithless and unworthy because I am scared and panicking and a good Christian shouldn’t be that way. I should know better, but I can’t feel it. One day I wish I could know why the answer (if it is coming) almost always has to drive you past the point of confidence into the moments of almost deciding that this is the time that God is not going to provide. You know, because it “isn’t in His will” or we didn’t believe hard enough or pray properly or it “wasn’t His timing”. I hate those terms.
September 2, 2012 (later later on)
It’s easy to tell by the amount of writing done today that we have had a lot to think about. Michelle and I lost it with each other a little while ago. Not “at” each other, more at the situation. We’re both frustrated at how things are (not) going. And there is no understanding in either of us on why this is taking so long. I vented on how I literally hated writing a check knowing that the money wasn’t there. Technically it’s a crime to do that! But I know how the banking system works and the earliest the money will leave our account is Tuesday IF the checks are deposited and cleared that day. So technically we are not at the very last minute, but why should I have to depend on exploiting a little gray area in the banking system? Is that what God is doing here? Would He really be cool with us writing a “bad” check knowing that He’ll provide the money we need to clear it before the apartment management company and bank try to get the money?
I texted a buddy who has probably as little as us and asked for a loan and also plan to take back the money we set aside to give the kids the few nice things that starting new programs in September demand. Like AWANA books and shirts. Sorry kids, I tried. This part may have actually hurt the most. Why do my kids have to suffer in this?
Both Michelle and I are trying to hold on to the promises in the Bible and the encouragement we received from our friend this morning. And we’re also trying to put on a brave face and not let the kids see our stress. All the while we’re trying to allow the kids to be a part of this process so they can rejoice more in whatever happens.
We could easily get out of this. One small word to either of our families and we would have all the cash we need. But the whole point was to depend on God. Does asking a friend for a loan and taking money away from our kids count as depending on God? Because if not, I guess we’ve failed.
September 4, 2012
Rent is paid! The friend I asked for the loan turned around and gave us a little more than we asked for and told us it was a gift. We were very thankful for that since we also needed to buy milk and some food items. But it is also tough because I know this person (who is in the same business) also exists on a very incredibly tight budget. He couldn’t afford to do it, but yet he did. We tend to lament why so many of those who can easily afford to give away a couple hundred dollars don’t, but those who can’t afford it always find a way to do it. Unfortunately those of us who depend on financial gifts from others to pay the bills have found it to be this way. Typically, the rich are not generous and the poor gladly give something.
Michelle and I are definitely learning to just focus on today’s needs in prayer. I haven’t looked at the finances (don’t really want to) but the van needs gas and we will have to get a few more groceries. The kids haven’t wanted to get lunch at school this year. We qualify for the free lunch program but the food is seriously bad! It was a novelty for them last year but now they would rather have PB&J and a juice box. That costs money for us! 🙂 But their health and happiness is more important…. Either way, making lunches for them means buying more bread, peanut butter, cheese, meat, etc.