Sunday, April 9, 2017

My Provider

My introduction to being part of Missions was to learn how to live by faith. Wikus (YWAM's base leader in Potch) explained to me that I was not expected to pay for my trip out of my pocket, but that I could raise funds by getting sponsors.

So I set off on the first part of my mission by typing a motivational letter, giving my personal testimony and the reason I would like to go on this mission. I sent this letter to every church, organisation and friend whom I thought might want to contribute to this mission. I also created the Facebook Page - Operation Refugee - YWAM Potch - to get the community informed and aware of the refugee crises. 

Within the first week of my fundraising I was blessed with R3200! My goal was R7200 which included the flights, accommodation and food. But then things slowed down. 

I started out being very excited at how fast God was providing the funds but with only two weeks till departure I still didn't have enough to buy my plane ticket. One night I couldn't sleep, worrying about how I would get more sponsors so I got up and went to my laptop and sent out another twenty letters to churches. The next day I also sent individual messages to some of my friends on Facebook. 

Then the real panic set in... the money I had already collected had gone missing!!! Thinking I was being very clever, I transferred all the sponsorship money into my Virginmoney credit card, thinking that it would be safe there. I had not used this credit card in literally years, so I was quite surprised to receive a statement via email. I clicked on it very excited to see what the balance was and to my horror, the balance was nowhere near what it should have been!

I immediately called Virginmoney online to find out where my money was and all they could confirm that there had been no transactions on the dates I mentioned. The transfers had been done about ten days before so it HAD to show by now!

So I jump in my car and race off to my bank, FNB, praying that they would know what happened to my transfers. This as at about 10am... I sit patiently in a line for about an hour as the entire Klerksdorp seems to want to do their banking at this very same moment. The lady at the bank tells me that the only way they can do a reversal is if I email online banking and request a reversal and that each reversal would cost me R265 (I had THREE!). Also, they could not guarantee that I would get all my money back. Well, just great! Back in the car I decide to call online banking and they advise me to go to Absa (which Virginmoney is affiliated to) and ask them to allocate the funds as it's possible that the money was simply not allocated. 

Off I go to Absa. Sit in a line. Wait. Wait some more. Finally I get to a teller and the lady informs me that they are unable to allocate funds that they technically do not have, only my bank is able to help me. At a total loss I go back to FNB. Sit in line again. Wait again. Keep thanking God that my money is still somewhere even if we couldn't quite find it. 

I finally get to another teller and she takes a good look at my account and asks a bunch of questions. She looks up and tells me that the only mistake I made was to put MALAWI as my reference number instead of the credit card number, therefore the money has not been allocated. I feel like banging my head on the counter because I honestly did not know that one had to use the credit card number as a reference!

The woman gives me a copy of the transactions I made and tells me to email them to Virginmoney's online service to ask them to please allocate the money. I race home (it is now past 3pm already) and I do just that. It's Friday. 

During my quiet time God tells me to be still, not to tell anyone about what has happened and to also stop sending out emails and requests for funding. He tells me that I have done my bit and now it was time to trust Him. So with some difficulty I manage to do that for the whole weekend. Monday morning I receive an email from Virginmoney which advises that all my funds have been allocated into the credit card! Praise God! 

The following Friday (exactly a week before departure) my team leader asks me for my passport number. For a split second I experience confusion and a beat later I turn ice cold... A passport!!! For some crazy reason I had not even considered a passport. In a brand new kind of panic I phone Home Affairs to find out how fast I can get a passport and how much it would cost. A very friendly woman tells that they no longer issue emergency passports but that I should come to Home Affairs right now and they will see what they can do. Oh and that will be R400. Great! This had not been in my budget but oh well. Off I go to Home Affairs and set aside my entire afternoon as I know how long the lines are on any given day. 

I walk into the building and stop for a moment, wondering if I'd walked into the wrong place. There was no one in sight, besides the yawning staff members sitting at their stations. I breeze through reception and go straight to the photo-booth. At the counter I explain my dilemma and tell the man that I need to have my passport before next Thursday. Very unceremoniously he tells me that it should be ready next Wednesday. Praise God again. And again. And again!

The Monday, four days before departure I get another sponsor so I rush to the office to book my plane ticket, thinking that I will have enough. Tears just silently roll down my cheeks as I realize that I do not in fact have enough money yet AND the flight prices have increased dramatically. My husband is sitting next to me at his desk and he simply asks me how much money I still need. I tell him that in total I still need R1400 and he immediately does a transfer of R1500! Wow. I am dumbstruck and elated at the same time! With a great big kiss and a hug I run out the door to go to Checkers to buy my ticket. Some of the money I got in cash so I couldn't book the ticket with only my credit card. 

Another long story short, Checkers' flights were more expensive than I'd seen online, so I try to book it online from my phone, then I see upon check out there is a R500 service fee so Checkers tries to do the booking anyway and the flight is suddenly gone! I race off to the nearest Flight Center where the friendly consultant eventually gives me coffee seeing as all of a sudden my credit card keeps declining, I am unable to draw the cash, get told by the Virginmoney consultant on the phone that because I put R400 into the card this morning I am unable to swipe it the whole day and EVENTUALLY after I call Virginmoney for the third time that day, about to scream at them for being the most awful credit card company on earth, the woman tells me that I have a limit which I can swipe and upon checking my calculations I realize that I had included the cash amount and had been trying to swipe that entire amount. Blonde. Blonde. Blonde. 

The Flight Centre consultant must have thought I am insane. I was eventually laughing so hard at all these small little things which seemed to try and stop me from going to Malawi... because I walked out of there with my ticket securely in my handbag! Take that enemy! 

On the day just before I left I got another three sponsors and when I checked what I'd received in total, it amounted to over R8000, which means that God has provided EXACTLY what I needed as there were a few things which had not been included in my goal, like the passport, the chiffon veils I had made to leave as gift, the flight's cost which had gone up and the malaria tablets.

Up to the moment I finally departed on the trip to Malawi, God had been teaching me about trusting Him completely. He knows our needs better than we do and He is faithful and good. Jehova Jira - My Provider!