My wife Jo and I are heading off to California in September to study for 9 months at Bethel Church, Redding.
Quite a turn out of events! So far, even the lead up to our departure has been an adventure. So I thought it might be good to share some of that for those interested. This post got a bit long so I am going to publish it in a few different parts.
Part 1 | Part 2
God who provides
So we applied to the school back in November on the back of what we had heard about it and also a strong sense from God it was right. All the while thinking that we would be turning up to school the following September without having had a chance to visit.
Faced by the huge mountain that was our lack of finances we began to wonder if it was just a dream, could it actually happen? We had to fund our own tuition (several thousand dollars), flights to and from CA and our own accommodation and living costs for the entire 9 month academic year. No small task, considering we only had the smallest fraction of what we would require!
We felt so clearly that this was an opportunity for obedience however that we pressed on, not knowing how it would work out. I think we comforted ourselves with the fact that it still felt like a long way off!
Around the same time as we began thinking about Bethel, someone came up to us out of the blue and told us that God had asked them to gift us with a holiday, flights to anywhere in the world! We were blown away! At first our intention was to visit Kenya. I had been there earlier in the year, and having made friends was keen to take Jo back with me this time. For unknown reasons we didn’t get around to booking flights. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that we twigged. Why didn’t we use this generous gift to go visit Bethel and see if we thought it would work? We ran it past the person who had offered to bless us and they were very excited. It felt as if this was the very reason God had provided the flights. So we booked flights and headed off to California in February. We really felt that God was saying to us, “If I will provide you with flights and a break as a luxury how much more will I provide your every need?!”. God is a luxurious giver! With clear direction we headed off to California to see if it felt right. Our prayer was God would give us connections and give us a sense of peace about our travels.
Now this trip being somewhat of a surprise, we had not budgeted for accommodation or spending whilst out there. This combined with a generally expensive time over Christmas and January, with many unexpected costs, left us with no reserves. We knew it was right to go however, surely we were not being led into debt? So we headed off and were forced to put some of our expenses on credit, despite getting an excellent deal on accommodation (we stayed with someone who works at Bethel). During our time visiting the church there were several messages on God’s provision and even the testimony of a young man who had been ready to leave the school that day as he had run out of money, only to find his brother calling him and giving him $1000 dollars! Coincidence? I shall let you decide!
One of the messages was particularly memorable and really challenged us to trust God when he said he would provide. If you told a friend you would give them £100 and yet they kept asking and asking and worrying about it, would you not be hurt? Did they not trust you?
Feeling full of faith we went into the 24hr prayer chapel at Bethel, wrote down the amount we needed to cover the trips expenses in Jo’s journal and and asked him to provide it for us. We felt God confirm he would provide abundantly so we were ready for a miracle!
On our return we both looked for a cheque in the post, or an anonymous donation into our bank account! Nothing. Nothing for a week after our return.
The following weekend someone came up to us and told us they felt they were to give us an amount of money. An amount which was several hundred pounds greater than what we had written down! Wow!
A week later someone came up to us and just after us sharing the story about giving someone £100 and them trusting you, they stopped us and told us this was the exact figure they felt they wanted to give us monthly whilst we were away! Since then we have had several other instances of provision, too many to tell here. We have been totally blown away by peoples generosity and their excitement at our vision for going. If you have supported us in any way so far in the journey, a MASSIVE THANK YOU!
Before going for our visa interview we sat down for the first time and totted up what we had. To our amazement we had the majority of it!
A week later we had a fundraiser a week later where raised over £3000 in one day! 😮
God has taught us a lot about how we will provide for us and not only financially. He also answered our prayers for a sense of peace and for good connections in Bethel. As someone said to me ‘Jesus pays for every meal he orders’.
The American dollar has a good reminder: “In God we trust”. Paul, back in the first century obviously discovered this too.
19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches…
To be continued…