Many ask us, all the time, why make things free if you’re struggling for money? Fair question.
From the beginning, we felt that God was telling us to make the program(s) FREE. It’s crazy, to us, too. But looking back, we can see how God is making us a real life example of grace. God’s grace, of our very salvation, is free; paid for, long ago, by our Savior on the cross. He did this, so we did not have to pay, earn or work for either His love or the opportunity to spend eternity with Him.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—Ephesians 2:8
Our structure attempts to mirror the structure of God’s grace. A gift freely given, because of the love Christ has shown us. We are here because we love. How can you pay for love and its essence remain intact? Something fundamental changes when money is involved.
Another reason we are free is that we believe many people who need us, would either simply not participate or not be able to afford us. Our goal is to share this hope with as many people as possible. God wants generations to know His voice, to feel His love, to be healed from hurts and to be free.
If we charged for the after school program, would we be able to love the little boy who was staying home alone until 9pm because mom and dad are working 2 jobs to get by? (We know there are many more people in Pendleton that are struggling to get by—over 1,500 students are on the free/reduced lunch program in the school system states SMSC 2017 reports).
If we charged for Family Fun Nights, would we be able to give that family, spending all their income & time on mortgages, food, insurance, car payments, utilities, sports teams; a night where dinner and family entertainment are provided?
If we charged for trivia nights, would we have the honor of praying for a person who just wandered into the bar, jobless and hopeless?
Our main need for money is for staff salary. Point blank. Because what this program really needs, what the world really needs, is people loving people. Relationships; not programs, not handouts, not even dodgeballs! Our youth need a consistent, caring person who is there, day in and day out, to pray for their enemies and claim the blood of Christ for their loved ones. Families need someone to support their unity and point to available resources. Young adults need authentic people who can show them there’s actually freedom in not knowing where life is going to take you. Money is a need for Caitlin, Esta and I to survive. And we’re doing our best to do it God’s way.
Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?... Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you.
—Matthew 6: 26, 28-29
We are trying to find the balance between asking for help and trusting God to supply our every need. When we spend more time trying to raise our salaries than working with the children, that’s a heart problem for us.
So we’re going to do things that look crazy to this world. We’re going to make our huge fundraiser (Light Up The Night) free to the community because He told us to. We are going to give 10% back to God even when our salaries are not yet met (Prov 3:9-10). We are going to fall to our knees and pray, trusting the God of the entire Universe, to have what it takes to provide for our needs (Phil 4:19).
It’s not easy for us, but it is a great adventure.
God has already blessed us INSANELY when we follow His principles. He's done it with people like you, willing to donate to our ragamuffin crew -- people giving us freezers full of meat for us to live on, churches, schools & businesses who let us use their facilities for free, an acre of corn for a fundraiser, giving us cars to sell. One day Caitlin wrote a check for our giving and Esta walked in with that EXACT AMOUNT from a volleyball league being run for our benefit.
His ways are so far above our ways (Isa 55:9) and are usually the opposite of what the world says (Eph 2:2):
Love those who hate you.
Forgive without being asked for forgiveness.
Believe in what you cannot see.
Give and you'll receive.
Thank you for supporting us, thank you for loving us and taking care of us. We see God’s provision in all of you. Please pray that we will hear the Father clearly and make the right choices along the way. May He make His face to shine upon you!