Since I was baptized by Pastor Adrian in Waterford (Australia – oh sweet memories) 1¼ years ago, I have been giving my tithe to Maranathamedia. Shortly before that, I had heard in a sermon from Pastor Adrian about the 2nd tithe, that it could be set aside for the feast meetings and people in special needs.* So I started collecting my 2nd tithe in a separate bank account. My income since then has been between 650 and 1.300 € per month (including what my parents give me from time to time). Not exactly lush, but I've never had more available... Yet I've also never given a tithe, let alone not had 2 tenths of it unavailable....
However, I have always somehow managed with the money (and not even bad) without touching my 2nd tithe - only for our feast gatherings I have used some of it and once helped out a sister with a monthly amount.
Since I became unemployed about half a year ago my income was mostly rather 650 € and I was quite sad about the pitiful tithe that I could give... Then something unexpectedly great happened...
A few years ago I had borrowed 5.000 € from my friend Wolfram, now I was finally able to pay him back and called him because I didn't have his account number. After a really nice and extensive phone call, we hadn't spoken in almost 2 years, I asked him for his account number to pay off my debt... He hesitated and said: "Mmh, I just sensed within me, and if you give me 2.500 € back, that would be fine." "Uhh... What... How come.. why that?" stammered I. "Oh," he said, "you've done so much good for me, and I can afford it..." I was blown away, moved and stirred.. and overjoyed to finally be able to give such a nice sum as tithe....
At that time I had quite a bit of trouble with my work situation, or rather my unemployment and the pressure that the employment office was exerting on me. I should try harder and get back into work faster... When I told my counselor about my faith, that I trust in God's guidance, that I work for Him primarily, and that He will show me the right job, she became a little gentler and kinder to me, but continued to push for application efforts. I asked our Father what I should do, continue to stay with the employment office? Become self-employed (and if so, in what)? Or look for a job (and if so, which one)?
Before I became unemployed I worked in a small Adventist health center, and from there I received a request to take care of an 88 year old lady who was going blind. Good, I thought, maybe a hint. At the same time, the possibility of renting a large house together with a sister, where we could offer "care" to elderly sisters, a last earthly home, or a home for other people in need, a kind of family community - a long-cherished dream of mine... So I went to the aforementioned granny so that we could get to know each other. We hit it off right away and we talked about a future together... I hoped she would invite me to live with her and hire me, that would have taken my worries off the table... But, it turned out differently... She said she would be very happy if one day I came to live with her... one day... that wasn't what I needed right now....
The following Sabbath I saw the testimony of Brandon, he spoke about his calling for evangelising, and I prayed that our Father would show me what my calling was. The answer followed on its heels, "You're going to live out of the suitcase for a while longer and keep doing what you're doing... and I'm going to take care of you!" Tears burst out of me - I was so disappointed... This meant no community, no permanent place to stay, no earthly security and rest... But suddenly, after a very short while already, a deep peace set in... I became very calm and joy began to spread... And I remembered the 2.500 € - what a buffer, what a care! I was calm, agreed and filled with gratitude.
From that moment I had no more stress with the employment office and I looked with joy at the uncertainty, which was actually none, because I had the certainty that I was on the right path and God cares for me!
There was another elderly lady, Anna, whom I also knew from the Arche (= Ark, the health center), who had asked me to be with her for a while and support her. So I went to see her and we talked all sorts of things... among other things, I also told her about Wycliffe, a young man from Kenya whom I had met a few weeks ago in a very amusing way... I had invited him, thinking he was a woman (I had interpreted his last name as a first name and feminine...), to join our sisters' group. He replied that he was happy about the invitation and would gladly accept it, but he was male... Oops... But the ways of our Lord are unfathomable, as we all know, and so a very hearty relationship developed between us - he calls me Mum, since I don't have any children of my own... In the meantime, I even became Granny to a sweet little Hananiah...
So I told Anna about my new tiny family, their joys and their needs... A few weeks ago Wycliffe had asked me to pray for him, he had a few acres of bush land and wanted to farm there for sustainability - he lives in a very poor part of Kenya and their water supply is 17 km away... What he needed most at this moment wa’s a water supply... I immediately thought of the 2.500 € that I had received as a gift and in the hope of being able to help him I asked what such a thing would cost - 200.000 KSH was the answer... Oh, that sounded a lot... So I checked the exchange rate on the internet and found out that 200.000 KSH is about 160.000 € - ouch... That was disappointing, I could not help him... But, I could pray for him, and take him and his request also into our prayer group - my church...
Anna asked me if it might be my calling to raise the money for Wycliffe... Hmm, that was a nice idea, but before I could vouch for such a large sum, I would have to have been there at least once - I had always wanted to go to Africa... With that bee in my bonnet, I once again scoured the internet for costs of a Kenya trip, and stumbled upon the price of a ‘meal for two’ in a mid-range restaurant – 2.200 KSH... ?? What? Something wasn't quite right here... I looked at several currency calculators this time, and lo and behold, all but one said that 200.000 KSH was not 160.000 €, but 1.600 €! My heartbeat increased and I inquired with Wycliffe what he thought the rate was... And, he confirmed the 1.600 € - Hallelujah!
Our Father is great!
Now I could help Wycliffe! I decided to give him my 2nd tithe, which was just under 1.200 €... In the end the sum of what I transferred turned out to be a bit more because of difficulties in the transfer – 1.255 €.
Only later the full meaning of this amount came to my mind... Our Father had already sent me the double 2nd tithe in advance as a gift! Not to mention the immeasurable joy that came out of it - for me, for Wycliffe and all the people who benefit from this gift, and perhaps recognize in it the work and goodness of our Father, for Wolfram, to whom I of course reported about it, and without whose gift, I would have been without any buffer, and also my 2nd tithe could not have provided this amount, my brethren, who by the way also donated funds, so that even more money, than the needed 200.000 KSH, was collected, and of course for all the people, including you, who are listening to this story!
I thank our Father for His complex and creative approach in answering our prayers and the tremendous increase of wealth, joy and blessings! May our Father also cause your life and resources to overflow, that His will be done! - Amen.
*While writing this testimony, I looked up again where the idea of the second tithe actually came from, and I found the following:
The Divine Pattern of Sabbath and the Tithe
Behold you God, Sanctuary, Tithe, Time, and the Church