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Ever wanted to make a difference?

It’s been a while since I have posted – but all with good reason.  Simply put – other priorities have kept me away from being as socially active (web-wise) as I have been in the past.  With that being said – I want to ask that you take a moment to read this post as it is important to me, my wife, and the lives of three others.  If you have ever wanted to help make a difference in someone’s life…here is a great opportunity!

For the past few weeks, my wife and I have been ministering to a single mother and her two children.  My wife has been especially active in injecting herself into this young lady’s life and we have been humbled by the experience.  We both sincerely ask you to earnestly read this post, pray about its contents, and then see what may be in your power to help make a difference in three lives.

Our new friend Stephanie is a single mother of two wonderful children.  (Chase -11 and Brooke – 7)  Her husband of eleven years abandoned her and the kids and she has been trying to be both father and mother to her children, as well as the sole financial provider.  Now, they are essentially homeless and in need of plenty of prayers, financial assistance, and some manual labor aide.

Stephanie is currently working two jobs, both day and night…80 hours a week, in order to afford the basics of life – and is still falling short of those basics.  Eighty hours a week should be more than enough to stay ahead of just about anything…but Stephanie is starting out in a financial hole that she was never even aware existed.  Her husband has not been paying the mortgage on their house as agreed upon in the divorce – and the utilities were all turned off as well.

Sadly, this all happened right under her nose.  I had a hard time understanding how a mortgage could go unpaid without realizing it…but then I realized the hurt I would be in if my wife failed to pay the mortgage and left.  Most all of our financial information comes via email.  We don’t get house notes in the mail, we don’t get utility bills in the mail … we are paperless – and like it that way.  If the mortgage were not paid – I would never know until it was too late.  All emails are routed to my wife’s inbox.

Regrettably, this is what happened to Stephanie.  She never had a single notice in the mail – and now she is struggling to get out of a seemingly never-ending hole.  When she was forced out of her house,  Stephanie found refuge in a rental house in Franklin – but soon found out that cheap rent doesn’t always pan out.  When she discovered that her rental house was being overrun by brown recluses, her landlords first asked her to leave the house so that they could exterminate – then changed their mind and forced her to leave due to the unfit conditions.

Stephanie and her kids had nowhere to go except for the house that her husband had abandoned her in – a home without electricity, running water, and close to being foreclosed on.  While she waits for funding for utilities, she is fortunate enough to be staying with her parents – but even that situation is less than stable. Neither of the children have any space to call their own to sleep or play in. Her own parents are going through a very harsh divorce – so much so that her parents have restraining orders on each other …while still living under the same roof.  Not a good environment for children, to say the least.  On top of that, her father is in the process of selling the house and is “encouraging” Stephanie to leave the house permanently as the house is being shown to potential buyers.

My wife, Crystal, has been taking care of Stephanie’s children while she works both jobs to make ends meet.  Regrettably, the ends never seem to meet.  We have offered up a “tithe” to pay her water bill off – over $200.  Sadly, that is just the tip of her sinking iceberg.  She owes around one thousand dollars to the electric company before they will even consider turning her electricity back on at her house.  In addition, the mortgage is behind by three months.  She is in the process of working with her mortgage company but still has to make one payment before June 30th to the tune of around $1,200 or her house will be foreclosed upon. There are a couple of other avenues she is pursuing as well.

Even if all financial needs were met right this moment – having a livable home is questionable at best.  When she was greeted with the news of a foreclosure on her home because her husband had neglected to pay the mortgage and had since run off to Washington D.C., she literally had to leave her house overnight.  Understandably so, there was no effort in cleaning up the house before she left.  As a result, the house remains in less than sanitary condition and will need lots of “cleanup” (floors, surfaces, painting, debris cleanup from a mess left by vandals, landscaping, some furniture moved, etc.) before the house can become livable by the family of three. With Stephanie working up to 80 hours a week, those tasks are overwhelming.

To be perfectly honest, we are not even sure if finding a way to take care of her mortgage and house cleaning should be done.  Personally, we feel that she would be better off paying off utilities and finding an apartment complex somewhere that may take the risk and let her get into an apartment.  Even that takes deposits and first and last month’s rent in advance.

Stephanie is, by far, not looking for a handout.  She has been trying to “make a go” of this on her own for quite a while now.  Aside from her attempts to work more than twelve hours each day, Stephanie is trying to help ease her financial situation by selling a van that is currently not road worthy.  She has also gone to the church she attended years ago for assistance and is also seeking Social Security assistance to provide some basic needs.  She is also in the beginning stages of acquiring an attorney to work on the details of child support.  Her father and mother have also helped financially over the course of the past months.

Despite the hardships, there are many positive aspects to this story.  My wife and I have seen the Lord work in some awesome ways.  Her two children were invited by our two children to attend VBS at LifePoint.  The oldest (Chase) practically begged not to have to go.  Now, only a few days into VBS, Chase is on fire to go.  His sister, Brooke, being nothing short of astonishingly convicted, accepted Jesus into her heart at VBS.

Please help us in assisting this family.   It is our prayer that you will consider contributing even just a small amount of your time or money and please, include Stephanie and her children in your prayers.  If we pull together to help this family, a little can go a long way. Stephanie and her children just need a little help getting on their feet. Stephanie is a great Mom and wants more than anything to have back the everyday routine we take advantage of sometimes. We live just a few houses down from Stephanie, so we are available to coordinate any efforts.

Our investment of love has already yielded a positive outcome in the heart of one child – we would love to see that investment grow to reap the benefits of three hearts on fire for God’s glory.  Thankfully, there have been a couple of our friends who have made calls to the electric company to help pay down the bill some – but there is still a long way to go in the scope of things.  If you can contri
bute in any way – please do.  We can put you in touch with the electric company,  mortgage company, etc.  I hope to hear from you soon.  If you cannot afford to contribute monetarily – perhaps you would consider sending this message on to others.  Perhaps you have a particular gift of financial planning and can help Stephanie learn to maximize the amount of income she has coming in now.  Regardless of your level of commitment or skills, I would like to ask that you take a moment to pray specifically for Stephanie, Chase, and Brooke.

Thank you so much for hearing – and thank you, in advance, for helping!

Please feel to contact us via email at [email protected].