Giving Challenge Stories

Every winter I remove snow from neighbors driveways for no payment but this year I was able to tell all six about my desire for them to pass on any amount they desired to someone that God put in their path that might need blessing. One of the parties was so excited that he was going to pass this on to his bible study group and ask for their involvement in the God Pocket project. Everyone was excited about the possibility of passing on a blessing to someone God puts in their path.
Ron Weidner, Huron, SD

One of our church members lost their job and it was right when their rent and utilities were due. They were at risk of being homeless. There are three kids in this family, the oldest being in 7th grade. The three kids are also going through the baptism class to take that next step of following our Lord! My husband and I paid for their utilities. The church gave a good amount of money towards their rent, people in the church gave them a big grocery shower and another church member found him another job! May the Lord be honored and praised!
Michelle Hamilton, Cimarron, KS

Thirty some years after having a young man in our church youth group we learned of his failing health due to forty years of diabetes. His wife said he had to perform self-dialysis five times daily, recently had a stroke and a heart attack, and was told that his only hope now was a pancreas and kidney transplant. She hoped he could rise to the top of the donation recipient list before his health failed for the last time. The transplant requires moving out of state and not working for at least six months. A chance notice of this on Facebook and God’s prompting moved us to help with his mortgage payments and Christmas gifts.
Garry Kargel, Eugene, OR

I had purchased a nice used Buick to use for longer trips and special occasions. After reading Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne, I felt the Lord asking me to give the vehicle to a family in the community. This family had no vehicle and had a special needs child that needed to get to medical appointments out of town. They were quite excited to receive this gift.
Glenn Ratzlaff, Hillsboro, KS

After God had heard our prayers to provide for our medical bills during my wife’s cancer journey, our teenagers had a heightened sensitivity to what it means to be aided in your time of need. So one day at school my daughter learned that a friend’s father had lost his job and they were in crisis. She came home that night and said, “Daddy, can we live on rice and beans (our family’s code word for living simply so we can give generously) the rest of the month so that we can share whatever we have left this month with my friend’s family because her dad is out of work?” I said, “Let’s talk to your mom and your brother about it over dinner.” We agreed. We were able to come up with $320 for them, which we delivered in stealth in cash in an envelope. Going through crisis ourselves and being helped has given our family “eyes to see” and respond to the needs of others.
Gary from Colorado

Recently, I had just finished getting groceries with one of my daughters and was getting ready to head home. We didn’t have a lot of extra money then, but I knew as I was checking out at the last store that I had purchased more than I needed that day. As we were pulling out of the parking lot, I saw someone holding a sign and begging, not unusual for this particular parking lot. But as I got closer, I saw it was a man, his wife, and their young children. I knew I couldn’t pass them without helping. So I unloaded many of those “extra” groceries I had purchased and gave them to the family. God knew why I had purchased more than I needed that day, and we still had more than enough food to last us until I shopped again. That day is one of my favorite memories.
Sara from Kansas

My husband worked on a personal project for his boss at work one Saturday. He said he’d pay him in cash. A week went by and his boss didn’t mention anything about the money. On Friday, at almost quitting time, my husband prayed, “Lord, if Jim walks in the door in the next 2 minutes with that money he owes me I will give it all to the kids for their winter camp at church.” And wouldn’t you know it, in walks Jim and hands him the money! My husband comes home and said, “I want to give it all to the kids for their winter camp. How much does it cost?” I said, “$139.” He handed me the money and said, “here’s $140. The first name that came to my mind was Marcos. I said, “We could pay for Marcos to go to camp.” His parents have 5 kids and I didn’t know if Marcos would even be able to go. I was so excited to tell our Children’s Director about it. She smiled and said, “The camp said that when one sibling goes, the others will go for free.” WOW! A double blessing!
Roger & Dee from California

My father, being a pastor, would always encourage his church people to give generously and to give cheerfully. He would talk about it at home even before we as children began making our own money, so I heard about giving many times growing up. My wife also grew up in a home that would give back to the Lord what they could, so she was always willing to give when I made a suggestion. With that background, I decided to share our story about giving generously. This began about seven or eight years ago when we felt the need to give back to the Lord from the storehouse he has given to us. Yes, we were making a little more with a Social Security check, but it was always a choice to give only 10 percent or stretch ourselves and find joy in giving back more of what we were given. We usually tried to give about 10 percent of our income and we felt good about that, but as time went on we felt we needed to further test our faith by giving more. It seemed that whatever we would keep would be spent for something whether we needed it or not. We began writing a “giving budget”, which included missionaries, our church, our school we were teaching at, local needs, and some unexpected needs that would come up during the year. The budget seemed quite aggressive, but we began giving according to that budget and found out that we could give much more when we planned it. Then as new things would come up we would decide what to do and just do it without much discussion at all. So at the end of the previous year we were actually giving nearly 25% of our gross income and even though expenses are rising we seem to always have the same amount left over at the end of the year. Our giving story isn’t over yet because we find joy in continuing to give to extra ministries throughout the year.
Charles from Oklahoma

Generosity isn’t always money, sometimes it is your talent. My husband had a stroke in January of 2015. When he came home he still needed a wheelchair as well as some safety equipment for the bathroom. We have steps at both the front and back and I had no idea how I was going to get him in or out of the house. I asked online if anyone at church knew who could do it. We didn’t have the money to pay someone but I knew God would provide. Within minutes I received a call from a gentleman who could build a ramp and install the grab bars we needed. By the end of the next day, we had a ramp that is ADA compliant, and grab bars in three bathrooms that are anchored to the studs in the wall. Not only did he do the job, he did it in the most professional manner possible. Payment was refused and I was told it was a privilege to do the job.
Kimberly from California

For 8 years we have had fertility issues, and our twins were conceived via IVF. Two years ago we felt a strong desire for another child, but through a lot of spiritual growth I knew God was asking me to trust his timing and ways. These ways were not mine, as my default is to “do”. MY prayer became Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.” During these years of prayer and waiting, God has also been stirring up a desire to help orphans. I was at a loss because I knew he wasn’t calling us to adopt. For me, that would have been controlling. An appointment confirmed pregnancy was not possible, so I felt the freedom to pursue fertility again. That night as I was praying, God spoke to my heart saying, pray you get pregnant before treatment and then give that money to a family adopting. So we prayed to get pregnant and we prayed that we could be the hands and feet of God to a family adopting. We got pregnant and gave the amount we had saved to an adopting family.
– Tammy from Kansas

We have  a couple in our church that has faced one medical crisis after another for many years. In spite of all their hardships, they periodically send me an email to ask, “Where is the greatest need right now? We have a little extra we could give.” While the amounts are not great, the spirit of giving fulfills Jesus’ teaching when he compared those who gave much for show and the widow who gave little, but it was “all she had.”
– Dennis from California

A group of students went to Urbana (Missions Conference) over Christmas break. We made it a goal to give away all of our Bibles on the trip. We were eating at Tim Horton’s, a fast food restaurant, after one of the evening sessions. The line was building inside and there was only one worker trying to make all of the food, take orders, and do the drive thru. We read his name tag and he happened to be a trainee. All along he was smiling and very thankful to have customers. We appreciated his character in a stressful time, so we wrote a thank you to him in the Bible with a $25 tip. We hope that we planted a seed in his heart that night. I know that we were filled with joy walking out of the restaurant.
Laura from Kansas

Our adventure began to become reality, when I found out I would be able to take a sabbatical from my church. Growing up in the Congo as a missionary kid, I always had the desire to return to my “native land.” I had been asked many times in many years by my Congolese friend to go with him to minister to the Congolese people. One day we received a very large check, signed from “anonymous”. This would be more than enough for me to go on this trip. The letter stated that my wife needed to go with me to see where I grew up. We were blown away by this generous gift. We started to make plans for this trip that took place in July, 2015. The generosity of Christian friends and family made something that I had dreamed about for 41 years become a reality. Our local hospital donated some medical supplies for us to take with us. We went to the Congo with the intent of ministering and serving the people there. They don’t have much at all. Yet their joy and contentment was contagious.
– Gordon from North Dakota

We were the recipients of someone’s generosity which 40 years later we still do not know who gave the gift. We were in our second year of Seminary in California. We wanted to go home to South Dakota for Christmas break. However, we did not have the cash or a credit card to buy the airline tickets. We had saved $150 but needed $300 to fly home. In those days one could purchase tickets and pay for them at the terminal. So we purchased the tickets believing that somehow we would find the money. We prayed and asked the youth group leaders to pray with us. On Thanksgiving Eve when we came home from church, I noticed that there was an envelope in our mail slot. I opened the envelope and there were two $100 bills and two $50 bills. A note with letters cut out from a magazine said HAPPY THANKSGIVING. We were overwhelmed. We accepted it as an answer to prayer, we were able to go home, and someone had the joy of secretly helping some poor seminary students.
– Jules from Kansas

Sometimes generosity comes from the most unexpected places. Every month our church men’s group meets for breakfast and devotional at a local restaurant. After breakfast, our waitress brings our checks. Before I could pick mine up, the brother next to me grabbed it. I knew he really couldn’t afford it. He lives on an income far less than mine. However, I knew his heart and did not want to take away his joy of generosity. So after a brief “you shouldn’t”, I accepted his gift and thanked him for the generosity. I found out later he also picked up the tab of the brother across the table. Generosity is contagious. After this experience, I was looking for a way to pass along the generosity I received.
– Jim from California

Raising four adopted children has been a great privilege. It’s also brought many challenges, not the least of which, was navigating the expenses of three high school seniors in the same year. It was mind-boggling at times. Six combined sports seasons, difficulty passing tests, constant expectations and unexpected issues dug us deeper into debt. Shortly after the graduation party, as we entered that summer, we faced uncertain plans for the next fall. We were plowing forward with really no ideas how we’d pay for everything, but taking it one step at a time. One day a small handwritten envelope arrived in the mail. Inside was a simple card saying that with three children entering college they knew it was a lot to manage and they wanted to help with our expenses. There was a money order inside for $1,000. We tried to imagine (and analyze the little bit of handwriting!) where it had come from, but had no idea whatsoever! We were left with such gratitude and were so humbled by the gift.
– Dorie from Kansas

My wife and I have some friends who were struggling financially because the father lost his job. He was able to collect a fraction of his income from unemployment and the wife was doing off jobs in an effort to make ends meet, but the amount they were able to bring in was not enough to meet their needs. At the same time, God had blessed us with some extra income, so we decided to gift it to our friends. We did so anonymously by getting a money order and mailing it to them with no return address. We included a note that encouraged them and told them that God was aware of their situation and that He would provide. God ultimately did provide a new (and better) job for the father. We feel honored that we were able to provide in a time when we had enough and others were in need.
Klint from California

The practice of generosity has been a part of our lives for many years, however the recent messages in church and articles from the MB Foundation have heightened our involvement. Sometimes the Lord guides us to a particular recipient through a series of incidents. I recently sat with an elderly couple from our church in the ER because he had fallen and was non-responsive. I stayed with them until family from a distance arrived. The Lord prompted me to check on them each day and I was there when they were told he needed to be transferred to a larger hospital in the city 50 miles away.  My husband and I had been hospitalized three times in the past year away from our small town and I know from experience the expenses incurred. So we made arrangements to pay for the motel stay for the wife and their children.
– Anonymous from Kansas

A woman in the church I attended found out I was interested in reading through the chronological Bible. She was a woman without a means and struggled to get by. The next week she presented me with a chronological Bible she had bought me. She knew I was wanting one and wanted to buy it for me. I was speechless, and very grateful. I had the means to buy the Bible, but just hadn’t got around to it yet. I loved the Bible, but was deeply moved by the gift. It remains my favorite Bible to this day.
– James from California

We heard a soft knocking at our door, and were a bit surprised to find the wife and young daughter coming to our door with the rent money – usually the husband came. But she told us sadly that her husband was in the hospital in severe pain. Many tests had been run, but the problem had not been diagnosed. We knew that they did not have insurance, nor any income if the husband could not work. So we refunded the whole amount of that month’s rent. We were able to talk about how the family was doing, and pray with them before they left.
– Anonymous from Kansas

One of the members in our church was in a bike club and met a college-aged girl who had moved here from out of state. The girl found some roommates and joined the bike club. Unfortunately, she was involved in a horrible accident that broke some vertebrae in her neck. Her roommates moved out because they didn’t feel they could take care of her. Her family was unable to help as well. This couple from church invited her to move in with them and live with her during her recovery and as a result she started attending our church and rededicated her life to the Lord. When the couple discovered that she was in desperate need of counseling because of her abusive past, they paid for counseling resources. The gal is now an active and grateful part of our congregation.
– Loren from California

Today our church hosted a funeral for an unchurched family in our community. Our Deacons decided to pay for all of the funeral food, and then, on top of that, to give them a $100 gift card to the local grocery store. The church secretary, put all of that into a card and envelope and I was walking with it in my hand to give it to the family after the funeral was over. Before I got there, a man who attended the funeral stopped me and pulled me aside. He said, “I want to give a gift to your church” and he handed me two $100 bills. I thanked him and promptly turned around and went back to the office and gave them to the secretary. We decided that God was replenishing the Deacon fund. Sometimes as we are in the act of giving, God is already giving back to us.
– Steve from Kansas

Last Christmas we did a giving challenge for people in our church to care for others in need in our community. A single mom with five boys from our church felt compelled to participate and give. Even though she had no presents under the tree for her own kids, she gave two $25 visa gift cards toward our giving challenge. About 4 hours after she handed me the two gift cards, there was a knock at her door. Someone who she hadn’t seen in a year was at the door. He handed her two $250 gift cards to Wal-Mart. She gave out of her poverty, and God multiplied that amount ten times over within just a few hours.
– Stephen from Nebraska

A friend and I were counseling at Southern District Junior Camp a few summers ago. We were pumped for our 16, 4th-6th grade girls to arrive. In preparation for them coming, we wanted to get a few items to use for mod unity, object lessons, name tags, etc. We wanted to create an environment where the girls felt like they belonged to prepare their hearts for encountering Jesus! My friend and I headed to the local store and found everything we wanted. We were trying to be really wise with how we spent our money (after all, we are both college students). When we got in line to pay, the cashier was asking us about the random assortment of things we were purchasing. We got to share with him about counseling at camp and how we do such crazy things because we are loved by a crazy, powerful God! A lady behind us excused herself and informed us that she wanted to pay for all of our stuff. She didn’t care how much it was and made sure we didn’t need anything else!
– Tena from Kansas

My husband died in July of 2013. He was sponsoring 10 children from Haiti at $100 each for a total of $1,000. When I received the notice in the mail with 10 pictures of the children he sponsored, and the money for a new school year was due, I thought I can’t possibly sponsor all of them. So I wrote a check for $500 to the Mission Haiti. Then I proceeded to pick the five children I would sponsor. I couldn’t do that, so I voided the check and proceeded to write one for $1,000 and sponsor all 10 children. I am still sponsoring them to this day and am managing.
– Evelyn from South Dakota

We used to live in Reedley, CA where my husband was the Junior High Youth Pastor. When God called us to move away we had many very difficult goodbyes to say. Since we were planning to drive to KS, we asked a man who was a parent of one of the students and a friend, to check our tires. He told my husband our tires most certainly needed replacing before we drove halfway across the country so he told us to meet him at the tire shop. We didn’t know what we needed so gratefully accepted all of his help and input. When they figured out the correct set of tires for our vehicle, we were ready to pay when the man said, “Just put that on my tab”. We were overwhelmed by the cost, because we were a single income family with one child and I was in graduate school, and we were preparing to make a huge move. He extended generosity and kindness not to a pastor who was sticking around, but one who was leaving!
– Sara from Kansas

I come from a family of sisters, so we regularly pass hand-me-down clothes around, and frequently on to others. My mom gave me a large bag of clothes to pass on to a dear friend, and I added a pair of shoes I’d recently purchased that didn’t fit and a dress I’d picked up at a local thrift store. When I passed the items along to my friend, I pulled out the dress and shoes to offer an explanation. What I didn’t expect was her response. The shoes were identical to the ones she’d previously owned and loved, but had gotten rid of after they’d worn out. Even more amazingly, the dress was the exact one she’d sold to that thrift store some time ago when she was struggling financially and needed some income.
– Alyssa from Nebraska

Our son was recently invited to attend Men’s Encounter. We were thrilled, as we have been praying for years that he would come back to the Lord. When his sponsor asked me to write a letter of encouragement to be handed to him at the end of Encounter, I felt led to include $50 to help offset the cost of the weekend. At their last session, an offering was taken up to go toward scholarships for upcoming Encounters. As our son looked in his wallet, he was asking God what he should put in a $5, $20, or what? He had $50 in his wallet, and he felt God saying, “Put it all in”. It was a sacrifice, but he was obedient. When he went back to his room and started opening the letters that had been written to him, he opened up my letter, and there was $50. God blessed back his obedience. His faith grew, and he is once again walking with the Lord!
– Dean from Kansas

My wife and I planned a week vacation for the family to the Gulf Coast. We rented a house and our children were very excited about spending a week on the beach. Our church put out a notice that they needed money from the members in order to retain the youth pastor or we would have to let him go. My wife and I decided to ask our children if they would like to cancel our vacation and give the money to our church to help pay for the youth pastor. We had a family meeting and explained the problem to our children and asked if they would be willing to cancel our trip and give the money to the church. All of the children voted to cancel and give the money to the church. Later when it would have been time to take our vacation a hurricane caused the place we were going to stay to evacuate. We realized God’s timing is always right.
– Dennis from Oklahoma

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