When our son Robby was about 10 years of age and daughter Julie was seven, we were on a one-year unplanned furlough in the United States from the Philippines. We lived in a home that was graciously provided to us during our stay in the Seattle area.
On one occasion, I came home from the ACTION office greatly concerned after hearing that our ministry partner in the Philippines did not have adequate funds to pay salaries for their 100 plus Filipino staff that month.
We had no personal funds to assist, so our evening meal was very sad as we prayed for our friends in the Philippines. These were dear friends in ministry that even Robby and Julie, as young children, knew and loved.
Suddenly one of them said, “Daddy, we don’t have any money, but we have our clothes and things. Why don’t we just sell everything we have and send the money to help them?”
The house we were staying in was located on a busy street and an excellent place to have a garage sale, so the next day (which was a Saturday) we did just that. We put everything we owned (except for a few clothes) out in the drive way with the purpose of selling to help our brothers and sisters in the Philippines.
It was an exciting day, especially for our children in obeying the Lord and caring for others in need.
However, the day went by with many people looking at few personal items, but nobody bought anything! The people would leave, laughing under their breath. We did sell one item (what, I cannot recall) for only 25¢!
In those days, whenever I worried, I would suffer from migraine headaches and I was getting a big one worrying about my friends who needed finances in the Philippines. I was also embarrassment that we could not even give our personal items away.
Since we were not selling anything, I sent Robby and Julie out to play with their friends. After a while, Julie came running back screaming, “Daddy, Daddy… Robby is lying in the middle of the road with blood all over.”
I could see a crowd gathering around Robby about two blocks away and quickly drove to where he lay. A little elderly lady had put her purse under his head for a pillow and covered his mouth with a handkerchief which was covered in blood.
I thanked the woman, picked Robby up, put him in the car, and drove to the hospital; even then, worrying about how I was going to pay the bill for the stitches that he would need for his lip which was torn open from one side to the other from the bicycle accident.
The emergency room was full of people that day, but Robby was quickly seen and the Doctor very skillfully sewed his mouth back together, leaving only a small scar which could have been much worse.
The next morning when we woke Robby, we could not believe what we saw! It looked like someone had taken a big stick and beat him. His lip, mouth, cheeks, and eyes were all swollen and black and blue. However, Robby said that he was not in pain and still wanted to go to church.
We arrived at the small church that we had been working with, and as we entered, there were gasps from everyone as they saw Robby! We quickly informed them that we had not beaten him.
During the service I was very discouraged and worried. In the beginning of the message, however, the pastor said he had a very important announcement. He stated that the church was totally broke, and as of that day, there was nothing in the bank account.
He went on to say that the Board of Elders had met the previous night and decided to take the few dollars that were left in the account and write a check for a missionary family. The desire of the church was to start fresh and fully trust God for all the church needed and to begin with a “zero” balance.
Here we were as a missionary family with nothing, concerned about our Filipino brothers and sisters in Christ with nothing, and now in a church with nothing.
At the end of the service, the pastor approached me and said, “By the way Doug, the Elders wanted this check of the balance of all we had in the bank yesterday to go to you!” When he handed me the check, I thanked him, thinking that it was probably only $10 or $20.
To my surprise, the check was large and exactly the amount needed to cover the salary of our partners in ministry in the Philippines!
This was a great encouragement to Margaret and me in our faith and walk with God. This was also a tremendous testimony of God’s care for His people and even in the lives of my little son and daughter. We can trust Him, whether or not we sell all our worldly possessions for only 25¢, have an accident with blood all over, or attend a church which has nothing!
Let me encourage you with the following, “O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting” (1 Chronicles16:34,nasb).
God cares for His own and He provides.
As I was remembering and writing this story to encourage you, I wondered what I did with that 25¢?