Friday, April 15, 2011

This Is My Call

2009 Rebeca, Ruth and Grace 
    The Lord has been shaping my perspective concerning our finances during the last few months. I've struggled for some time with the dilemma of whether or not to share about our situation. Finally, I felt that indeed I am not called to copy other missionaries who were led to keep all the ministry's needs between them and Heaven. While this provided release, I'm still learning God's viewpoint about worthiness, my paradigms about being independent and "pulling myself up by my own bootstraps." With the intent of breaking out, today I will detail our income/expenses and balances as well as how we are stretching what we have to make it through. Additionally, I will describe the toll these extremities have taken on our family and outline a list of some non-repeating needs we have. 

A recent Sunday Service
     We have two basic sources of income, first of which is the offering from Arbol de Vida, our congregation of about 35 people. This source varies greatly from week to week, depending on attendance as well as when payday falls for them. Lately it has averaged $450/month, which as you will soon see, covers our home expenses. We also receive $145 monthly from family and friends in the USA.
We built this unit for the schoolroom
      It is true that living expenses are much lower here, but when compared to income, we still fall short. For $500 a month, we pay our rent, electric, water, gas and gasoline. We have been managing to feed our family of five for under $400, as I'll describe below. Medical expenses should be included in the budget, as well as clothing, shoes and travel expenses. Ideally, (minimally?) this should be alloted $175 each month. I haven't even tallied homeschool supplies and books, but I think $300 a year covers it.
     So how have we managed to survive with a negative balance of over $400? The most basic answer is, we do without. We don't buy canned goods, packaged foods, cream, and many other items required in most American recipes. We rarely buy juice and purchase very little cheese, use foil and baggies sparingly and almost never use the oven. Generally we only buy saltines and Maria cookies and eat them with jelly or salsa for variety. Popcorn is a staple as it is extremely cheap when air popped. I fill in meals with rice or pasta and beans to stretch the meat as far as possible. I try to serve soup and a salad each week beause vegetables are economical. Supper usually consists of eggs--we consume at least 30 a week! For medical needs, as often as we can, we visit the neighborhood pharmacy whose doctor charges under $3 for a consultation and generic medicine is our first choice. I try to keep laundry expenses as low as possible and we only purchase clothing and shoes when absolutely necessary, and then at thrift shops in TX. Our wardrobe is really telling of our extended deficit. Chuy rides his bike many miles each week to save on gasoline.
Rebeca and Grace sisterly love
      How can I really communicate our emotional experience as we live like this? How can I truly share the toll it takes on vitality and resources that should be invested into ministry? Each month the rent and bills are cause for anxiety and a loss of focus. The constant frustration of hearing our daughters make reasonable requests and always having to deny them is overwhelming. Even our marriage and family life suffers at times under the stress. We certainly are growing in trust in the Lord, but we long for the severity of the trial to be eased.
One more like this!
      In closing, I will make a list of some items that we need that would provide relief in the day to day experience. Wood for making two bookcases to reduce the chaos in the schoolroom. A kitchen faucet and a toilet, as both leak. Two electrical outlets, one to replace a damaged one and the other to add a second outlet in the living room so we can better arrange the furniture. A water purifier which would remove the arsenic in the water so we wouldn't have to buy and haul purified water. My frying pan needs replaced with a 10" stainless steel one. Finally, to deal with the extreme heat, we need ceiling fans and a second swamp cooler (the house is often 90*F and over in the afternoon and evening).

Ruth and Grace spread the joy of life
     We are sure of our call to live and minister in Torreon and we see the grace of God on our family. He has put a passion in our hearts and until we feel released, we will stand at our post. However, when expenses far exceed income and great sacrifices must be made daily, there is a toll. Each time the Lord provides miraculously (outside the above mentioned resources) we are greatly encouraged and each extra need that is supplied cheers our hearts and brings some much needed relief from stress and anxiety. "This is my call, I can do nothing else!"

Coming soon: How you can make a difference.


  1. Hey Rose - Am so happy you get to get your blog going ... it is a blessing to me just to be able to write. Sharing your heart with others is a wondrous thing and also, how is anyone going to know the needs if they're not spoken about? I will at least pray for you since we endure our own financial struggles but then again, our surprises and gifts from the Lord. Blessings. Your cousin, Robin

  2. Rose, you are such an amazing person and an obvious Child of Almighty God. I send prayers winging your way.

  3. One bookcase and one electrical outlet have been supplied!