As I (Helen) begin studying Exodus, which I will teach at the end of January, I’ve been noticing the theme of “remembering.” This is a theme that appears over and over throughout the Pentateuch, but really throughout the Bible as a whole. There is a repeated emphasis on remembering what God has done, and remembering who God is. When we look back on our lives, remembering all the ways God has worked and has met us, provided for us, and has loved us, we begin to get a fuller picture of the character of God.
Of course, on New Year’s Eve, it’s customary to look back on the year that was, and think ahead to the year that will be. As I look back on 2013, I see a year of God working miracles. In January, I felt God say that He was going to show me that He was my Provider in 2013, and that couldn’t have been more accurate. Remembering what God has done is a way of praising Him; here are some of the things I am praising God for from 2013:
- Before we shared that we would be going on outreach in the summer, early in 2013 we received a significant financial gift that put us well on our way to raising the funds we needed to go to Asia this summer. It was such a confirmation that God was calling us to go on outreach.
- In early 2013, we (amongst several others) received an invitation to teach on School of Biblical Studies in Nepal. When I first heard of it, the idea sounded outrageous – we were going to Thailand, and needed $6000 for that alone. Then it occurred to me that Thailand is not really that far away from Nepal, and perhaps it could be possible to spend some time there and teach after our time in Southeast Asia. After praying about this crazy idea, we felt that God was saying “yes” to this, even though it would mean we would need to raise $7700 instead of the $6000 we already needed. We arranged to teach 1 & 2 Kings in Nepal, though we didn’t yet have the finances to pay our way there.
- In the Spring, we were saddened by Michael’s grandmother passing away. Michael’s family lives in Ontario, and we felt that Michael should go and spend time with his family at this difficult time. Though we didn’t have all the finances to pay for the trip when we purchased the plane ticket, we received a surprise deposit from an unexpected source, that not only covered the price of Michael’s plane ticket, but the gas it took to drive to the airport.
- We saw miraculous provision as the deadline for outreach fees approached. The day before the deadline (a Sunday), however, we still needed over $1000. That Sunday we had the opportunity to speak at our church, and as the result of God prompting people to give, we left church that day with more than we needed for outreach. Thanks be to God!
- Before going on outreach, we were praying about a debt that was hanging over our heads involved with Michael’s retirement from his previous career. We felt that the time to pay this bill would be after outreach – that God would provide for it at the end of summer. After we got back from outreach, we had the funds to pay the bill (our cost of living was much lower in Asia than it is in Canada!), so Michael sent some emails to confirm numbers and where we were to send a check. The response we received was that some of the rules of Michael’s previous profession had been altered, and there was no longer any need to pay this bill! The debt had been cancelled.
- After the debt had been cancelled, this gave us the opportunity to consider some other financial options. Our cell phone had been extremely unreliable for some time, taking four or five times to send texts, and sometimes not receiving them (first world problems, I know!). We budgeted that we would be able to buy a newer phone, second-hand. Michael put out a note on Facebook asking if anyone would be willing to sell an old iPhone for $200, and he received a couple of takers, one of whom was going to be coming to our YWAM campus in the Fall. When the individual came with the phone, he said that God had told him to not take any money for it, so we received an iPhone for free! Because we have WiFi at the base, we have no need for a data plan, and our cell phone bill continues to be under $20 each month.
- Because of miscellaneous gifts throughout the Fall, and an amazing Groupon, Michael and I were able to spend a week in Montana at the end of November, and have an overnight getaway in Canmore/Banff right before Christmas. These trips were real blessings; we had the opportunity to visit friends in Montana, and to relax in the Canadian Rockies at the end of a very exhausting first quarter of SBS.
As I look back on this list, I recognize it is a list of financial miracles. This is not to say that God has only been our financial Provider in 2013; He has provided us with so much. I was provided with the opportunity to teach thirteen books of the Bible in 2013; we were provided with a growing perspective of overseas missions as we went to Asia and fell in love with Nepal; we’ve been provided with vision for the future and a growing appreciation for YWAM Turner Valley; we’ve been provided with hope for the new year, and a growing love for one another and for Jesus.
Thanks be to God for all He has provided, financially and otherwise. He is our Provider in every way!