God always has things figured out. Being omniscient, nothing takes Him by surprise. But us humans? Well we like to think, plan, worry, wish, stress, scheme, and pretend like we know what we’re talking about.
Recently there was one little detail that really left us scratching our heads. We knew where God wanted us to go, and we knew when He wanted us to go, but we weren’t quite sure how God was going to make it happen financially. We wrote home and let people know that we were praying for God to provide for our move cross-country. Well, here’s 5 real ways He did.
1. God mobilized the local church
We’ve been blessed with many friends in the Paraguayan Christian community who are very exciting for the ministry God’s given us among the least reached. Many have committed to pray, encourage, visit, and just be open to help however God leads. Some pastors are soon planning to make the 300 mile journey to visit us and encourage us.
One small church, while giving us a goodbye BBQ, gave us an envelope with some money in it. They had taken up an offering because they wanted to be a part of what we’re doing. Inside this envelope was enough money to buy a tarp (over $100 in this country), one of the things on our list that we still hadn’t bought yet. This was a humble reminder that God mobilizes His local church no matter where they come from.
And He also uses individuals. One friend took off work for a morning so we could use his truck (while mine was in the shop) to haul my stuff to where the shipping service was. It was hot, it took longer than expected, and we scratched up his truck bed, but he was more than happy to lend a helping hand.
Then when we actually made the move, a family drove up with us just in case we had any problems on the road. Not only was it comforting to have them driving behind, I believe it actually helped quite a bit. Sometimes in this country there a routine traffic stops. But at these stops there are occasionally people who try to take advantage of the situation. We were stopped at 2 such less-than-ideal stops. But when they stopped us, our friends pulled over with us. We couldn’t immediately see these people’s demeanor change when they saw they were being watched, and we were quickly waved through without even 2 words on why we had been pulled over in the first place. Needless to say we are very thankful this family made the trip with us.
2. God caused a dream
Recently on Facebook, an old friend I haven’t talked to in a while emailed me and asked if I needed anything. I didn’t quite know how to answer that question, so I asked her why she was asking. “Oh this is going to sound weird” she said, “but I was praying and asking God to show me who I could help, and I had a dream about you.” From there I explained to her our financial needs associated with moving, and the Lord led her to contribute.
This is just one example of how God brought us new supporters during the past month. Several people who have never given to our ministry, or people who give special gifts as they are able, all felt led to give during the past month. This was a wonderful reminder to us that our financial support is from the Lord, working through His people.
By sharing these stories, I don’t want to detract from our supporters who give monthly. We have dozens of people who have given faithfully every month for years. We thank God so much for the stability this has given to us to be able to meet all our needs.
3. God put us with an awesome landlady
One of the more expensive items on our moving list was fixing up our rental house in the capital where we had rented for 1.5 years. Typically, landlords demand 2 months rent up front to cover any costs of fixing the house after renters leave. However, our landlady didn’t ask for this deposit. So we only thought it would be a good testimony to fix up anything (like paint and holes in the wall) that needed to be done.
Our landlady absolutely refused. She is a believer as well, has a son who is a missionary, and believes in what we’re doing. When she found out that we were going to fix things up, she vehemently told us “no”, and even refunded us the money on repairs we had already made. “This is my house, and my responsibility” she kept saying. After trying hard to convince her that we felt obligated to this, we finally accepted it as another way that God was meeting our needs.
4. God allowed a favorable exchange rate
Someone once asked me if the exchange rate between the US Dollar and the Paraguayan Guaraní ever effects us. The answer is yes it does, and it can make a huge difference.
The economy here is very up and down, and huge fluctuations in exchange rates can effect us big time. When we first arrived, the exchange rate was 3,800 Guaraníes to 1 Dollar. Within a year that rate went up to 4,500 — an increase of almost 20%. That means the support we receive from the States went 20% further during that time. It has since gone back down to under 4,000 at times.
But as we were preparing for the move, the exchange rate hovered over 4,600. This definitely had a helping hand in controlling costs. God was allowing a favorable exchange rate.
5. God sent some rain
Logistically we had the issue of how to ship our stuff from the capital city to our supply town 300 miles away. We looked into moving services, but they cost around $1,000. Then we found a moving truck who was hauling stuff from our supply town to the capital. He offered to haul our stuff back up with him for around $600, since he was already making the trip and his truck would be empty. We quickly took him up on the offer and began to pack.
He was supposed to have come 3 days later, but he never showed. We tried calling, and the phone was dead. What could possibly be happening? Finally after 2 weeks we got a hold of him. He had gone way out in the sticks, and it had rained. This caused his truck to get stuck in the mud while he was out of cell phone range. He finally arranged to get back to town, but had to leave his truck until the roads dried up.
This caused us to have to look for another option — we were running out of time. We then came across a business that ships their products back and forth from these two towns. They offered to take our stuff in the extra space on their trucks. We didn’t know exactly how much it would cost, but it seemed like the best option at that point. After it shipped we got the bill. What originally looked like a $1,000 expense turned out to cost us $200.
This wasn’t the only situation where we got a better price than we anticipated. Our vehicle needed some work — and more work than we were expecting. But the grand total for 3 jobs wound up costing less than their estimate of just one job.
God knew what we had available to spend and made it work.
Those who don’t know the Lord might see these things as an incredible string of good luck. But we know that everything we receive comes from above. God had His hand in all these things, to get us to where we’re going. Now that we’re here, we look forward to see what He wants to do.