Living on $800 a month

14 Jun

photo-1448794363755-de84d6a770bcIt was October. We had just returned to the States from Indonesia so that our daughter could start college. I, too, had reenrolled in college to continue my education. And then we got our monthly check.

Like many missions, we receive our support once a month. People sacrificially donate their money, Wycliffe takes out our social security, our retirement funds, our taxes and our life and health insurance payments, as well as 10% to cover office support. We receive what is left each month. We then pay all of our bills up front and live off of what is left from that.

When we received our October check after Wycliffe had removed our above funds, it was made out for $800. Ken and I stared at it and took a deep breath. “$800! How can a family of four live on $800 in one month?”

We had enough to pay our house mortgage and our electric bill. That’s it.

We looked at each other and then one of said, “Well, this will be interesting to see how God supplies this month.”

 We decided to just eat out of the pantry and freezer, and to try not to purchase anything else except milk and fresh fruits and vegetables. I made bread from flour we had already purchased. We cut back on our random driving excursions and planned times to do our errands when we were already out. Ken rode his bicycle to work.

A week or so into this “adventure,” Ken sat down to put his shoes on prior to playing basketball with some friends. I don’t remember why, but he opened up his wallet, paused and said, “Look what I just found!” In the back of his wallet was a check. The month before we had spoken in a church up north and as we left the church, the pastor handed us the check. Ken put it in his wallet without looking at it and there it sat, waiting for us to find it at the perfect time.

The check was for about $200 or $250 as I recall. “Yay, we can pay the car insurance and the phone bill!” We deposited the check.

Each day that month, I ran to the mailbox with anticipation. I don’t know why, but I thought something would come in the mail.Several days later, I went to the mailbox and inside was an envelope from Duke Energy, our electric company. Inside was a letter telling us that everyone in our area had overpaid their electric bill for several years and that they were returning funds to us! Yes, we got a check FROM the electric company! It was less than $150, but we paid a few more bills with it!

The next thing that came in the mail was a check from the health insurance company. “Back in the day” we used to pay our medical bills and then got reimbursed from the insurance company. Yay, we can gas up the car!

The next thing I did, after praying and getting input from friends, was to get a part time job. I worked as a hostess in a local restaurant. While my checks didn’t start until the next month, each evening, the waitresses would give me a portion of their tips as part of my pay. I had cash in my pocket…$3 one day, $6 the next. I used it to buy milk.

Somehow, bit by bit, we made it through the month, and paid all of our bills on time. We didn’t go hungry and we had a roof over our head.

I think that because we were so desperate, our faith came easier. We had no where else to turn but God!! And we looked forward with anticipation to see how HE would provide. He gave us enough. We didn’t win the lottery, but we had our daily bread and more. Oh, speaking of bread, we got free day old bread at our mission every couple of days. Yup, we had bread, literally.

This experience and hundreds more like it allowed us to see God’s hand in our lives. We trusted and we made it through. Sometimes I find it easier to trust on the big stuff and get derailed by the small stuff. But our faith goes hand in hand with God’s love and provision.

As I read God’s words each morning during my devotions, I end with praying that God would make me more like Him and that I would know Him. When I know God, I trust Him, because His ways are perfect, every time.

Thank you for helping us to get the Bible into the hands of others who need to know God too. We want them to experience God as we do.


Posted by on June 14, 2016 in Family


11 responses to “Living on $800 a month

  1. Florence Ginter

    November 15, 2019 at 11:39 AM

    Just reread your story. It reminded me of Uncle Win. He had a speaking engagement up in Nyack, NY one night. He had just 50 cents to get across the Washington Bridge (you KNOW how long ago that was). Well, he figured he may get a love gift of at least 50 cents which would take him back across the bridge. There was no gift. He started to leave the church when the pastor’s wife called to him. In her hand she had a lot of change. It was the offering from the children – the pastor forgot to give it to him. I asked what he had planned to do since he didn’t have money to get back He said he planned to drive up to Albany to the free bridge and get over on the Taconic Parkway and drive back down to camp! But God was so faithful! He had so many instances of answered prayer! But this story of yours triggered this story of his! – I could also add my own, but enough is enough! Praise God!

  2. Florence Ginter

    June 14, 2016 at 6:33 PM

    Anne, you said that you were a family of four. i thought it was just the two of you.

    • Ken & Anne

      June 15, 2016 at 6:03 PM

      Hi Aunt Flo, I was telling a story from the past…I believe it was 2004. We are just two now!

  3. Deborah Stoltzfus

    June 14, 2016 at 2:29 PM

    I enjoy hearing about your ministry. It’s very encouraging seeing how the Lord is so faithful in loving us and meeting our needs. d I’m praying for you.

    • Ken & Anne

      June 14, 2016 at 4:58 PM

      Thank you, Debbie! I know you probably have your stories of God’s faithfulness too! His timing is perfect!

  4. 1994mercedesgmailcom

    June 14, 2016 at 11:35 AM

    Am glad everything worked out for you guys.

    • Ken & Anne

      June 14, 2016 at 4:58 PM

      Thank you! Do you have a story of how God was faithful to you?

      • 1994mercedesgmailcom

        June 16, 2016 at 9:13 PM

        I am grateful that my kids so far have everything they need and that even when we go through rough patches they still smile up at me.

        • Ken & Anne

          June 21, 2016 at 8:38 AM

          Our children make note of how we handle adversity. Trusting God is the way to show them how much we love Him because He first loved us! Thank you for sharing!

  5. Weston Leigh Humphreys

    June 14, 2016 at 11:16 AM

    Thank you so much for what you do. I’m praying for you guys. It’s so good to see such faith in action.

    • Ken & Anne

      June 14, 2016 at 4:59 PM

      Experience is the best teacher! Thank you for your prayers!


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