Sunday, November 4, 2012

Give & You Shall Receive

It's hard to believe that we're heading back to Mexico in less than two weeks!   We are so excited to be able to head back.  We knew when we left General Cepeda in June that we would go back, but we didn't realize that God would call us back so soon!

We weren't prepared financially to make the trip again so soon, but knew if God wanted us there He would take care of the details.  So, we signed up and began saving and fundraising.  The past two months has had the girls and I in the kitchen almost daily baking for many of our wonderful friends and family.  We have made and sold at least a gazillion mini pies and cookies in the last few weeks.  Most of them to the same people over and over again.  (Thank you all!)

Last week, I tallied up what we had earned, raised, and saved so far, and then added up how much we still needed.  As hard as we had been working and as much as we had been trying to save, we were short----a LOT short.  We had dipped into our savings a few times for other good causes, other fundraisers, other mission projects, etc.  We knew when we dipped into that money that God had promised to reward those who give (Luke 6:38), so we weren't worried at the time.

But last week we found ourselves short on funds and beginning to doubt that we would be able to "receive" what we needed in such a short amount of time.  We still owed the mission company a third of our mission fee, needed visas, needed Mexican car insurance, and would need gas money for the trip there and back.  Thinking about how much gas costs right about now, I didn't think there was any way that we could come up with that much money in two short weeks even with the garage sales we were had planned for this weekend and next. 

I then began to doubt whether we were really supposed to go back to Mexico this soon.  Maybe it had just been our excitement, our "high" from the last trip, and not really God calling us back so soon.  I thought about all the full time missionaries that could really use the money we had already raised.  Maybe we weren't supposed to go to Mexico again this year.  Maybe we were just supposed to help the other missionaries.  Maybe we were supposed to spend our last Thanksgiving home before missions with our family.  Maybe He wasn't even calling us to foreign missions.  Lots of "Maybes" filled my head. 

On Thursday, I sat down to morning prayer with the kids realizing that we only had two weeks left to raise about $1000.  When it came time for petitions, I said, "Lord, if you really want us on this Thanksgiving trip, please move in the hearts of our friends & family & the people that buy our baked goods today.  Help us raise what we need. But if you are not calling us to Mexico right now, show us your will."  We ended with an Our Father.  "Thy will be done..."

During the chaos of baking, laundry, and schooling, a friend called wanting to drop some garage sale items off.  I said, "Sure! Come on over!"  A little later, she arrived with a few bags of things for the garage sale.  We visited for a few minutes while I continued running around my kitchen swapping cookie pans in the oven, tending to a mountain of laundry, and yelling at the kids to get ready for noon Mass.  She probably decided that I really had gone "crazy" like everyone had said and decided run while she had the chance.  But on her way out, she handed me a sealed envelope with a donation towards our trip.  I thanked her as I returned to the chaos at hand.

After she left, I opened the envelope.  And that's when I ran out the door to chase her down like a truly crazy person!  But it was too late.  She never saw me or maybe she did and continued driving away purposefully!  I returned to the house and just sat in awe staring at the check while tears filled up my eyes.  God had done just as I had asked that morning.  He had moved in the hearts of our friends.  The check was almost the exact amount we owed the mission company!  Praise the Lord!  He had heard our prayer and had begun to answer it within a few hours. 

The timing was perfect!  (Of course God's timing always is.) We headed right out the door to noon Mass.  What better place to thank Him for what He had done than at Mass!  I sat teary eyed the entire time just thanking Him over and over---for our friends, for their generosity, for His patience with my doubting, for His love for us, & for Him calming so many of my fears about the decisions we've been making.  I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I wanted to stand up and shout about how awesome our God was to all the people gathered.  I controlled that impulse though, not wanting to give anyone any more proof of our craziness.

After Mass, I hurried to my car to call my husband to tell him what had just happened.  I grabbed my phone to find that I had a text message waiting from a family member who had something to give me.  I was still running on high like a crazy person when I met her in the bank parking lot where she handed me a check for our mission trip.  A check that when added to the other check totaled the exact amount we still owed to Family Missions Company.  God was continuing to answer our prayer.  He had moved in the hearts of our family also!  How awesome is our God!

It was amazing to watch God moving in the hearts of our friends and family just as we had asked Him to do.  Later that day, we delivered the baked goods that had been ordered and returned home to find that the majority of the people had paid us a lot more than what we had charged them.  This happened again with the baking orders on Friday.  All I could think of was "Ask, and it shall be given..." (Luke 7:7)  Yes, I had heard it many times, knew it to be true, had it proven to me numerous times before, but it was still amazing to me that it was happening right before our eyes.

Now that my trust in God had been completely restored again, I relaxed which is what I should have done for the past month.  All this past week I had been worrying about pricing the garage sale items.  I've never had one before.  I didn't want to price things too high and not sale much, but I didn't want to price things too low that we wouldn't make enough.  I didn't even bother pricing most things after our the two days of miracles we had just had.  I knew God would take care of it.

Because we weren't concerned with making the most money we could, we were able to help many people before, during, and after the garage sale.  We were able to sit and listen to people's stories; we had compassion for their struggles; and we let things go for pennies; and even gave some stuff away for free.  God knew exactly how much money we were going to need, and He would provide it.  If not today, by the time we left in two weeks. So, we gave once again to those in need without thinking about our needs.

In return, we had people listen to our story and offer prayers for us and our mission trip.  We had people buy a 50-cent item, give us a $20, and tell us to "Keep the change." This happened all day long.  Even the poorest customers after overhearing our story, would offer us an extra dollar or quarter.  I kept thinking about the widow from Luke 21: 1-4.

At the end of the day, we had sold very little, but gained so much.  We did end up making enough money to cover our gas to and from Mexico, but more importantly we made many new and unexpected friends because we took the time to listen and had the courage to share our faith with strangers.


  1. Melissa, I have always believed that God hears our prayers, knows what we need and, when the time is right, delivers. I am not necessarily talking about money, but other needs as well. You, Travis, and your beautiful children are an inspiration to me and I will pray that your coming trip and your future mission work will be all that God intends it to be for all of you.

  2. What an amazing story to tell! Your spiritual journey is so valuable to others as is your physical journey to Mexico! I love these God moments. God bless!

  3. Wow. Just wow. God is amazing, isn't he? I am so happy for you and your family!

  4. Melissa, While recently doing some reflective reading, I was moved by this: "Surrender to God's will does not give us a passport to inertia. Each of us must try to carry out God's will, which He transmits to us in ways we recognize only after we have made ourselves willing and aware." This message reminds me of your family. In your family, I see your surrender to God's will, the willingness to listen to His will, and the awareness of Him. There is certainly no passport to inertia for you guys- only passports to Mexico!!! All because of your devotion to His will.