The Matthew 6 Dare – Part 5

Welcome back to our story.  We’re hoping that you’ve found it interesting and challenging.  I want to restate that we are posting this story NOT to try and generate new donations, but instead to bring light to what we experience on a regular basis.  Yes, we would LOVE for you to join our partnership team with finances.  But we would also be ok if you decided to support someone else in this line of work or started praying regularly for us or others like us.

Again, here are the previous entries if you missed any of them.


September 10, 2012

So I have been trying to communicate with the directors of our local hockey league to see if they offered scholarships for low income players.  It’s been a month long process of emails not being answered but they finally told me that Jared could come play on a scholarship.

Only, they never said how much it would be for and when we had to get stuff in.  This morning I found out that the scholarship would cover all his fees!  This is really cool since we had pretty much given up on Jared playing hockey.  I then asked if they knew if there were any places to find used equipment in town.  I was told to come on down to the rink as they have a room of stuff we could look at using.  I also realized that the first evaluation was tonight.

I scrambled to find what little equipment we still had for Jared (stick, skates, helmet) and once he got home from school I let him know what was going on.  Interestingly enough, he didn’t seem too excited.  Hockey practices were on Wednesday nights and this means he won’t be able to do AWANA.  I thought that he’d be fine with that but he was really broken up about it.

When I pressed to find out why, he answered “because they have cool parties in AWANA.  Like pizza parties.”  I asked if he thought there would be no parties in hockey and he said “they’re not as crazy about hockey down here, like in Canada.  So I’m pretty sure there won’t be any.”

Michelle and I decided to just let that slide and see if he would perk up once things got going.  And he did!  We got to the arena to try on gear.  The guy helping us opened the room and it was filled with stuff.  We found a full set of almost new stuff pretty quickly.  I asked the guy where all the equipment came from.

He answered “We have lots of kids who decide they want to play hockey so their parents buy all new equipment.  Then the kid decides they don’t want to play and the parent just leaves the gear for us.”

Oh my.  Do people actually have that much money lying around to do that?  And how do we get these parents to join our support team?  Also, are parents no longer allowed to force their kids to follow through on commitments?  That doesn’t bode well for the future.

After getting the equipment picked out, I asked the guy how much it would cost to rent it or what paper work we would have to fill out to ensure we got it back to them.  He just looked at me and answered,

“It’s all yours.  We don’t need it.”

So let me get this straight.  You just gave my son a full year of hockey for free, and then gave him all the gear he needs?

I didn’t have the will to tell the guy that he was a tool of the Lord.  And now my God is just starting to show off!

It was pretty fun to be back in the rink tonight watching Jared skate around.  It was obvious, VERY obvious that he hasn’t been on the ice for a few years.  And most of these kids were actually pretty good.  Jared is a lot smaller than a bunch of the kids, I suppose they are a year older and have been playing consistently.  But he was getting his feet under him and starting to look like he knew what he was doing by the end of the practice.  I asked him afterward what he thought.  I was pretty fearful that his answer would be along the lines of “I hate this.  I suck.  I don’t want to play.”  But instead he lamented that we forgot a water bottle (oops) and then said that he will be as good as the other kids once he skates more.  We’ve really been praying for his maturity and I can see some pretty neat signs of him growing more!

Oh I should mention that we were able to pay our tithe out of some of the money we received in the last couple of days.  That was a “bill” that we knew we had to pay down quickly.  And someone else just mentioned today that they are putting some money in our account to help pay for the hockey and other kids sports start up costs.  We were asked how come we weren’t telling anyone that we needed money though.  This question is always a little mystifying to us.

Mystifying because at most we typically only get about 70% of what our budgeted needs are.  That means in any given month, we are 30% short of the money we need to survive.  So every month is a really tight month and we always need a little more money.  This month is a little tighter than most, but it is not abnormal to get to the 15th of the month and only have a couple hundred dollars left to buy groceries, gas and pay for any unexpected expenses.  Vehicle maintenance doesn’t happen very often and any major expenses (like the tires we need to purchase for the van) are put off for as long as possible until there is a bit more money.  We never put away money for savings since it always is “all hands on deck” for the cash we receive.

Such is the life we have chosen.  But just remember, if you wonder if a missionary family needs cash, chances are the answer is “yes!”  They just aren’t going to ask.  We really get tired of asking people to help us.  It’s tough to do it because you really quickly start to believe that you are a charity case.  You wonder if people are tired of hearing your whining and begging for any little help.  And so you stop saying things.  Many of these thoughts are lies from the devil, but it is tough to get rid of them.

Then you add in all the different types of financial aid people with our level of income can get.  Things like state health care for the kids, free lunch programs, camp and sports scholarships, etc. All of these once again add up to believing you are a charity case and that people are sick of hearing you talk about money.

Sorry, that wasn’t supposed to be a “woe is me” speech or a guilt trip.  It is what it is.  I’m still happier now making two thirds less than I was a couple years ago.  So what if it means I have to use some social programs to try and make ends meet.  Just wait till I get citizenship and can then apply for welfare!

Dear USA Immigration: I was just kidding…

September 19, 2012

It’s Talk Like A Pirate Day!!!!  Arrrrrrgh.  Also, has it really been 9 days since I last wrote something?  Must’ve been a quiet time.

And in reality, it was.  We were given some money to help pay for the kids activities.  Some of the hockey equipment for Jared, AWANA for Katria and some band stuff for Chelsey.  We also used it for food and gas.  I hope that was ok!  It had to be, because that was the cash we had.

It actually lasted quite a while, because it wasn’t that much.  It is amazing how long a little cash can last when you are really focused on not spending.  But now, we’re back down to $5 in our account and the van is getting close to empty, we need to change the oil in it and the cupboards are starting to get bare.  So I guess it’s time to see something happen!

We knew the cash in our account was dwindling over the last couple of days and we reminded ourselves to continue praying for “our daily bread”.  That has been our focus all month and it really has caused us to stay peaceful and relaxed.  We have food and provision for today and for that we praise God!  Tomorrow, we trust that God will provide what we need.

Anyways, back to the daily bread.  Yesterday a neighbour dropped by with a bunch of bread.  More than we need for sure.  This neighbour is someone who has even less than us, but yet she has come by twice this month with items that she got given to her or for dirt cheap and gave us the extra.  We’ve also been able to do the same for her family.  This to me is an amazing view of church life; the poor taking care of each other.  In reality, almost all of the gifts we’ve gotten this month were from people whose financial situation is like ours.

Back to the bread again!  Michelle laughed after our neighbour left and said “well, we prayed for bread and we got bread!”  Part of me wants to really unpack the amazing reality of us praying for bread and receiving more than we could use.  So much that we gave some away to others who needed it.  It gives me hope when I’m praying for finances and a car and other things.  He can give what we need and more.

God was willing and able to give us free hockey and free equipment; $1500 worth of free stuff.  I believe that He can give us a car.  I believe that He can give us more than enough money each month.

I’m looking forward to writing more again.  I write when God does something or teaches me something.  All signs point to Him doing something over the next little while.



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