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But…before I tell you what it was, I should probably explain WHY it was such a big deal… right?
Well, for those of you who don’t get our newsletter, you may not know that we stopped getting paid on October 25th. Our support account has been in bad shape for months now, but we’ve kept slipping by. In October it had dropped so far into the ‘red’ that we had to stop getting paid. See, it works kind of like a bank account…..people donate money to support us, but we can only draw a paycheck if there’s actually money in the account! So October 25th was our last paycheck until January 10th. We just HAD to let our support build back up so that we could afford to get a paycheck again when we move to Thailand (January – April).
As you can imagine, it has been DIFFICULT. We already lived on a very modest “missionary budget”, so we would have felt any pay cut. To have our pay completely STOP right before the holidays was definitely a struggle!
Rusty started substitute teaching a few months ago to help with some of our needs, and as soon as our pay stopped he tried to go “full time” (meaning he tried to find a substitute job every day). It was helping us make ends meet until he hit a rough patch and only got jobs about half of the month of November. Then things got even TIGHTER. We were trying to stretch our groceries farther than we ever had. I was only able to buy ESSENTIALS at the store – anything that wasn’t an absolute necessity we couldn’t get. Forget date nights – we couldn’t afford to go out to eat or to a movie (not even fast food and a rental!) And when it comes to Christmas shopping….well, lets just say I was struggling to keep my Christmas spirit!
Rusty was EXHAUSTED and MISERABLE. Teaching is definitely not his calling, and dealing with obnoxious kids everyday who treated him like a “sub” was wearing on him. He struggled to keep his perspective and patience the days he got a job, and the days he didn’t get a job he worried about how we were going to make ends meet. I hated the fact that he was so unhappy, but we had no other options for paying the bills!
To make matters worse, our trip home for the holidays was coming and we had no idea how we were going to afford it. Gas prices were rising to $3.00 a gallon again, and we had 34+ hours to drive round-trip! Everyday we were trying to “focus on the positives” and “count our blessings”…. desperately trying to focus on the reasons why we live the way we do and trying to trust that God was still in control.
We came home to a bunch of mail, including a whole stack of Christmas cards. Since I LOVE “fun mail”, I eagerly began to open them. I opened a couple and showed them to Rusty, when he picked one up and said, “This one is from Arkansas! I get to open it!”
“Who’s it from?” I asked. “I’m not sure,” he said, “there’s no return address. It just says Merry Christmas!”
So he opened it….
We both just stared at the money in shock as we scanned the card & envelope for a signature, an address, ANYTHING?! But there was nothing!
I began to count the money and the tears began to fall…. $100….$200….$1,000………$2,000! Someone had sent us $2,000 cash ANONYMOUSLY in the mail to help us get through the most difficult season we’ve had since we got married.
I couldn’t hold it back anymore…. I just started SOBBING! I was so overwhelmed! Rusty just hugged me as I cried tears of joy and he prayed a prayer of THANKFULNESS to God (and a prayer of extra BLESSING over whoever sent the money!)
I can’t explain to you how much that money has blessed us – we were immediately able to breathe again! It was like a heavy burden had been lifted off our shoulders and we could enjoy the Christmas season again without worrying how on earth we were going to survive it!
And now, this week, we’ve seen just how needed this money is since the weather has been TERRIBLE and schools have been closed for 2 days (which means 2 of Rusty’s jobs got canceled!)
Now, don’t get me wrong – we still DEFINITELY need money in our support account before we leave for Thailand (if you feel led to give, you can do so HERE). But for now – for the holidays and the time leading up to our trip to Thailand – WE ARE GOING TO BE OKAY!!!
THANK YOU. THANK YOU! A million times THANK YOU!
May God richly bless you for your generosity!
May you be richly rewarded by the Lord….”
“A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”