UPDATE: Post updated below in bold.
I mentioned a few days ago that God has done some amazing things for our family. Here's a brief recap of what's happened.
A few weeks back I took my car to the shop with overheating problems. Our mechanic described how the car was basically beyond its life and we better move on. It's way more complicated than just overheating, in other words. That was a bummer to hear, but we still had our van.
Well, two days later we took the van in for an oil change. The oil change turned into the mechanic telling my wife that in the near future one of the wheels would suddenly decide to take off in another direction while driving down the road. We were told the cost would be very significant and that it wouldn't make sense in a car with various other problems beyond steering. She called me crying, not knowing what to do.
So we learned in a 2-3 day period that both cars were at the end of their lives. With a combined total of nearly 400,000 miles between them, it made sense.
What didn't make sense was that we have no money for a car, very little money for car payments, and so on. We knew we could keep driving the van in town at least, but the car would soon be shelved.
Within a few days of hearing about our need Joe Thorn decided to put something up on his blog about it. Then Marty Duren emailed me about it and I gave him some info. I thought he was asking for personal reasons, but then he put it on his blog with a request people might give at least $5. Tim Ellsworth followed. A few more bloggers put up some variation of Marty's post with the same request. I wish I could name all the blogs, but there are probably some I haven't seen and don't want to leave anyone out.
It was a humbling experience to have several bloggers looking out for us and trying to get some help on behalf of my family. A few people gave some over the next few days and it was such a blessing. Then it started piling up. We got a number of PayPal donations and a ton of cards in the church mailbox, more than 20 a day for a few days in a row.
As of today (though we are still getting something every day) we have somewhere near $4,000 that has been given to us. (UPDATE: We just got word that another church is giving, add $1,200 more! So the total should be a bit over $5,000.) How amazing is that? Some who gave are friends, some I have never met or heard of. We've received donation letters from pastors, theologians, missiologists and missionaries, seminary profs, college profs, denominational executives, state and local baptist association leaders, churches, non-SBC ministers, laypeople, and a few anonymous folks (one named "Justa Christian"). We've gotten cards from three locations outside the U.S.: Ireland, Hong Kong, and Texas. We've received checks and cash, as low as $5 and as high as $1,000. We received a photo of a kid with 5-6 Matchbox cars lined up, willing to donate one to our family. One family gave a check and then had a few added dollars from their child. One person wrote that they read about the need on a website they didn't like much, but since they like to give they figured they would help us. I'm guessing the site is Ellsworth's, you know, because he is a Cardinals fan and all. The stories are endless.
Often the blogosphere gets ripped for any number of reasons. There are valid reasons for much of the critique. But this is an example of using blogs for something amazing. We've been greatly blessed.
We have so far only collected the stuff that's come in and are about to put it into our account and figure out what kind of vehicle we can get. The time is short since our "service engine soon" light just came on in our only running car! Haha. We aren't sure what we are going to get yet since some money is still coming in, but soemthing will happen soon and we will let you all know.
We just wanted to end by saying thank you all so much! You have all taught us a lot about generosity and meeting needs. In God's providence I was teaching a series at our church on generosity just as we faced this situation and watched the money pour in. I was able to use it as an illustration during that series. God is good.
"The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work." (2 Cor 9:6-8)