More blessed to give!

People are often amazed by how miraculously God provides for us, as if we are more special than others. ‘God is no respecter of persons.’ His principles work always. Someone recently told us that it seems like things just happen for us without any struggle. Here is a ‘behind the scenes story’. For years, we struggled and struggled especially in the area of finances. I had much fear and had to calculate everything. Now, I am not saying not to manage your money. What I am saying is that I didn’t trust God with our finances. We gave our tithes all the time, but I had a hard time going beyond that. Giving was not an easy idea in my life. I would come across an opportunity to give but then I would look on my own circumstances and conclude that I could not give. I kept thinking that one day there would be no need in my life and then I would be a joyful giver! Well, you got it, that day never came. Pitana on the other hand, had no issue in giving. It took a while as God worked in my life to first show me fear in me and then revealing and filling me with His love and convincing me over and over that He does not plan to harm me. When He asks me to give, it’s not that He wants me to suffer. God loves me and He loves you too. He so desires what is best for us. After what seemed like a long time and taking baby steps, I began to trust God with our finances and needs. We both remember vividly when I surrendered. I cried to God and told Him that, ‘I have tried budget, (financial counselor couldn’t help us. He said that in our budget we had made cuts that he himself didn’t know that could be made); I have done the math. But it has not worked. We are behind on bills, in debt. Lord. I thought I knew how to budget, but it has not worked for us. Lord I surrender. I let go of all I have known of managing money and ask that You teach us” I totally surrendered. Back then, I managed our budget. Pitana and I got in agreement and handed our finances and thinking to God. God then asked me to stop babysitting which I had started to do in our home. He also asked Pitana to quit his second job asking him to remain with only one job. God also instructed us to start giving our tithes on our gross income instead of net income. He explained to us that if we pay our taxes on gross, why do we then give out tithes on net income. Remember Jesus said, “give unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s and to God what is God’s.” Pitana has liken tithes to taxes saying that tithes are like our heavenly taxes.

Do you know what happened the month we surrendered our thinking and finances to God? Well, our income was less as we let go of 2 of our incomes. Our expenses didn’t change but we had $600 left over at the end of the month! wow!! We still don’t understand it intellectually, all we know is that God’s ways work. He began to teach us to be givers. From giving $5 to $20 to $1000 (our only savings then). The Holy Spirit led us to have a 6 months food supply in our home. He would send people our way and then ask us to bless them with all kinds of food. He began to teach us to be hospitable. No no, not the ‘lets have you over for dinner and why don’t you bring an appetizer or dessert?’. The Lord taught us to that when we have people over for a visit to not ask them to bring a meal over. He taught us to trust Him to provide for us and those He sends our way including the strength to host. ‘Whatever you did to the least of these, my brethren, you did unto me.’ And David said, ‘will I give unto God that which costs me nothing?’ We learned to offer our guests, the very best we had that day and trust God for tomorrow. What tremendous blessings followed! As we hosted and had fellowship, our faith was strengthened as we heard what God was doing in others; we encouraged others as we shared what God was teaching us; we saw the unsaved come to believe in Jesus and much more…

God has taught us to live a giving lifestyle. Some may think that just because we are missionaries, we don’t give (financially) but instead go around fundraising. God was very clear to us that He did not want us fundraising. He said, ‘the worker is worthy of His wages.’ He asked us to focus on doing our work (what He is commanding us to do) and He will do His part of giving the wages.

But even as missionaries, we are blessed to experience the scriptures that ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Here is a recent  example: A few weeks ago, we had just over $200 to our name. We were praying for finances for this trip God was asking us to take to South Carolina. And do you know what God did? He asked us to give away the $200 we had!! After agreeing, Pitana went ahead and gave away the $200. Then we waited and prayed and prayed for provision for this trip. Well, the days were fast approaching and we had told everyone that we were leaving before the 20th as we needed to be in South Carolina before the 26th. Our desire was to leave earlier but that was dependent on when God released money to us. Well, on Saturday night, we found out we would have some money on Monday the 17th, so we decided to leave early Monday and  not rush through the states. On Sunday, we had no money to even fill up the gas tank. We still needed to have oil change done but no funds. In praying, God said, ‘I will send you some money but not all at once. As soon as you get some, just leave and trust Me to provide as you go.’ So, On Sunday morning we went to church and took care of making arrangements for the ministry work we oversee so that the work would continue while we are gone. While there, friends gathered around to pray for us. Before we left, they handed us $150. We held their hands and prayed over them asking God to look upon their giving and bless them. I cried as I prayed because God was just confirming His words to us that ‘as we go, He would provide.’ Here we had just made arrangements for ministry as we ‘go’ and God was already being faithful and I knew and knew that He would take care of all the details. On the way to church that morning, I had been asking God for some things I would like for our trip before we leave in the morning. Among those things were snacks for the road. We were in our van, pulling out of the church parking lot when a friend who doesn’t usually attend that church ran out of the church building to our van and asked if she could buy us snacks for the road! Isn’t God so good! We left overwhelmed by God’s goodness and faithfulness!!

We rushed home that afternoon and Pitana went to find a place where he could have an oil change last minute on Sunday and he did. Praise God!

We later went to a prayer meeting at 5 pm. We had not yet packed as we had just come out of a counselling session with a certain couple in which the man received Jesus. Hallelujah! But never the less, Pitana felt that we needed to go to the prayer meeting. So, we went trusting God that He would help us with packing! We had a wonderful time praying and worshiping with our brothers and sisters. They then prayed over us, some prophesying over us concerning the road trip. After the prayer, a brother stood looking at us steadfastly. He then came closer and asked us, ‘you are in need of money, aren’t you?’ He then handed us an envelope with $280. Money he had had left over after his vacation trip but now God had asked him to give it to us. Another lady came over and handed us $20 making it all $300. What a God we serve!

So off we began our trip the next day. Praise be to God!