Difficulty is the very atmosphere of miracle - it is miracle in its first stage.
If it is to be a great miracle, the condition is not difficulty but impossibility.
L.B. Cowman - Streams in the Desert
Yesterday, I left us in quite a predicament. I shared with you how we (my husband and I) were struggling with the fact that we were always traveling, and how unhealthy and difficult it was for us relationally. I told you how we needed to move - but couldn't afford to. We knew the best thing for us, and our non-profit, would be to relocate to the South, but it just seemed impossible!
The truth is... we probably should have quit. We were on course to make only $20,000 this year. TOTAL. For the two of us together! It seemed ridiculous. Both of us have college degrees and fantastic resumes after all! My husband is an award winning news and sports anchor who used to work for the top TV station in Arkansas. If he just went and got a "real job" - then all our financial worries would be over!
But we couldn't quit. When a friend of mine asked me why we couldn't quit, I told her the honest truth. The children we care for overseas in Thailand, Swaziland, and India need us. Sure, we could walk away from this and quit making all these ridiculous sacrifices.... we could live very comfortable lives. But those kids can't quit poverty. They can't quit the sex industry. They can't quit AIDS. They don't get to stop suffering just because they choose to.
And neither would we. We wouldn't quit because they couldn't quit. We wouldn't give up this work - caring for these kids, empowering them, educating them, and equipping them to QUIT POVERTY - to break OUT of the cycle of poverty and disease and lack of opportunities - we wouldn't give up until their lives were changed! We talked about it together as a couple and we made some decisions. We knew that with only $20,000 of income, within a few months we would not even have enough money to put food on the table and pay the bills anymore. But we told God - we would give it our all. We would go "all in" - and we would take The Sound of Hope as far as we could take it for the kids. And when we didn't have a cent left, then we would quit and get "real jobs". OR - He could show up, and we would continue the work.
It sounds crazy when I see it typed out like that. Who in their right minds would make that kind of deal with God?! But it didn't seem crazy at the time. And honestly, it wasn't some kind of ultimatum for the Creator of the Universe. I have known, from the very first moment we started The Sound of Hope, that it was God's dream.... and I have known, deep down, in the depths of my being, that it would succeed. In every moment of sacrifice, when it would be easier to quit - I knew I could never live with myself if I did. This is what I was meant to do - and I would not be disobedient... no matter the cost. Even if things seemed impossible.
But then, everything changed.
Suddenly, 4 of our monthly supporters decided to double their monthly support. One by one - without our request - they contacted me to let me know they wanted to give more. Then, 3 new people contacted us wanting to support our administrative needs (which help pay our salary). Momentum was building!
And then, last week, an incredibly large donation was made to The Sound of Hope. A donation that changed everything. A donation that renewed our faith, and renewed the hope of our partners overseas. A donation that would save lives in Thailand, and India, and Swaziland.
Because of this donation, we were able to get two of our little girls in India to the specialists they needed to see.
Because of this donation, two un-usable vehicles that the staff in Swaziland needs to get food to the carepoints, and to get the sick to the hospital, are going to be repaired.
Because of this donation, a community garden is going to be built in Swaziland, where the most poverty-stricken people can grow healthy food to sustain their families. And the best part is, the food will be shared with the orphans and vulnerable children who desperately need more than just rice and beans.
Because of this donation, 60% of The Promised Land Project has been funded, and we are so much closer to beginning construction. This Children's Home is going to protect little girls from being sold into sex slavery, and little boys from becoming child soldiers. Because of this donation, they will get to keep their innocence.
And, because of this donation - and because of all our monthly donors continuing to give - and because of those new donors, and the donors who doubled their monthly giving...
We are going to be able to MOVE!!!!
We will still be on a tight budget, and (as always) we are still dependent on God to provide. But - with this drastic change in our income, we will actually be able to pay rent (above $300 a month) and can begin looking for a home in Birmingham, AL!!!
And of course, when we move down South we will be in a much better place for us, for our family, and for our business.... so - we won't be quitting any time soon! It is quite evident that God has BIG PLANS for us and for The Sound of Hope! He is a good God, and He will care for His children. That is a FACT. We need not fear the economy, for He promises that -
In times of disaster they will not wither;
in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.
- Psalms 37:19
And we are living proof of that!
God gets ALL the GLORY for what has happened this month, and I can say with some certainty that He is not done yet! I know He is going to continue to provide - we just have to continue being obedient. I can't wait to see what He will do next!
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory
in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
- Ephesians 3:20-21
*If any of you reading live in the Birmingham, AL area and know of a home that might be available for rent, please contact me at erickabennett (at) gmail (dot) com. I'd be glad to tell you specifically what we're looking for and what our budget is. We would love any connections or advice you might have!