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MISSION UPDATE: A Way in the Wilderness

Oftentimes modern day miracles look an awful lot like ordinary circumstances but that would be impossible to pull off if left to ourselves.

One such thing happened last week.

We’re nearly 6 months into our commitment to the mission work in Thailand. On the day we felt the first nudge to go, we faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

We live on a small income with a big family. We have very little true “need” but we don’t have much extra to toss around. And while we don’t use credit cards, we were sitting in quite a bit of debt.

Our house is owned by one bank while our car is owned by another. And we were stuck in somewhere between $6000-$7000 of medical debt due to the health struggles of our 7 year old son.

Not counting the house, that meant we had over $13,000 of debt with no logical hope of paying it quickly.

But we serve a God who specializes not only in hope, but in making the impossible possible.

And He was already at work.

Over the months following our decision to go, we put nearly every dollar we could toward that medical debt. Unexpected money came in and rather than spending it or using it for recreation, it went to pay down what we owed.

And God multiplied the impact.

We are now right on the verge of having every last bit of it paid off during a time when our income versus monthly expense is actually less favorable than ever. It shouldn’t have been possible and yet He made it so.

But He wasn’t done.

Because my husband’s vehicle was still a debt hanging over our heads. We had some options there, though. Obviously, selling would have been one of them.

We, however, felt a strong impression to give the vehicle to one of our sons. We realized, though, that not every gift intended for good actually proves to be wise. We wanted confirmation that the desire to give him the car was from God.

And so we prayed.

Near the end of January, we decided that if a way was made clear to free us from the debt of the car, allowing us to pay the loan off in full, we’d take that as God’s answer that we were on the right track.

Impossible prayers.

We had literally no money. We’ve spent February on fumes. That is not an exaggeration. We weren’t in true need but we couldn’t even buy groceries and so were forced to be creative with the few pantry staples we had left.

Our electric was due to be cut, even with only a small portion of the balance for the month remaining. We tried selling things and nothing sold. Every attempt to earn money was thwarted.

God needed to bring us to the point where we’d know WE weren’t sufficient of ourselves.

During the middle of this month we had a realtor reach out to us about our house, which we’d planned to forgo officially listing and attempt to sell ourselves. On the same day they came to talk with us, my husband took his vehicle to the body shop for an estimate on some exterior damages.

By the time the realtors left that evening, they’d given us a suggested list price of roughly $20,000 more than I’d dared to even hope for. And then within a hour of leaving, they called us back to say they’d been talking and felt confident we could go up another $10,000.

Now, I need to be clear ... our house hasn’t sold yet because we still haven’t listed it. It’s set to officially go on the market March 15.

God seems to be leading us through one thing at a time. And He was about to settle the issue of our car.

Several days after it had gone for the estimate, we received an email from our insurance company informing us that they’d determined the car a total loss. Our 2011 VW Jetta, which is perfectly sound mechanically and not even actually wrecked, was being considered a total loss?

We took it in because we wanted a few repairs done to the body before we either gave it to our son or sold it. It never crossed our minds that the repairs wouldn’t just be done.

After a few phone calls, we learned the insurance was paying off the loan and we’d have some money to spare. The catch was, however, that the lender could potentially choose to retain the vehicle. If so, we’d have to surrender it right away.

I was bummed. I wanted to give that car to our son before we left and it seemed like we still needed it in the meantime for my husband to transport to work.

Rather than panicking, we prayed, again surrendering ourselves to His will and plan.

The next morning, my husband got back on the phone. If the lender would agree to sell us the car back, we were looking at paying about $500 out of pocket, due pretty much immediately. Remember, we were in a particularly lean month and short of begging money from somewhere, which we didn’t even consider an option, we didn’t have the money.

The agent created a conference call between themselves, the lender and my husband. And within minutes, they’d agreed to sell us back the car. One “problem” solved.

Then somehow our out-of-pocket expense dropped from $500 down to $100. Why had we even bothered to worry?

But God threw in a little bonus.

Because a totaled vehicle usually generates a salvage title when bought back. We weren’t thrilled with the idea but figured it was what it was.

Only then we were told that due to the particular make and model of our vehicle, they couldn’t issue a salvage title and so we’d instead be receiving a normal one, free and clear of all liens.

Just like that, God pressed in close and responded to our prayer in a way that left no doubt He not only hears, but cares.

There was, however, still the little issue of being able to pay the $100. Such a small amount shouldn’t have been a problem and yet it was because we didn’t have more than a few dollars at that point.

But, because He works all things together for good, cash money that had been received and then lost at Christmas, suddenly reappeared. It was in a drawer where it should have been found long ago but God had saved it for exactly this moment.

A quick trip to the bank for a deposit and the car was paid for. Monthly payment, gone! Total debt, cleared!

You’d think that was enough, right? That we’d already been spoiled sufficiently and there was nothing more coming. But you’d have been wrong.

Because on the day before our electric was to be cut, we returned home to the money to pay it. We’d done nothing to earn that money but to attempt to be faithful with what we’d been given and trust God for what we hadn’t.

And He counted it as enough.

Each time He reveals His power of provision to us in such undeniable fashion, our faith grows. We feel both seen and heard and it carries us through the times when we don’t.

Because we’re to lean into what He’s proven to be true, even when there’s a time of no visible evidence that it’s true at all.

Our house, which is our last standing obstacle between us and Thailand, WILL sell. Of that we have no doubt.

And before long, I’ll be greeting you here from that faraway land that a year ago I would have laughed had I been told I was moving to.

His ways aren’t my ways and His plans aren’t my plans. They’re exceedingly better.


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