I have the great opportunity of being able to write for the Seminary Wives month eNewsletter. I am choosing to write on the faithfulness of God through his financial provision to us here at Seminary. So I thought I would post it on the blog as well.

Blessed Beyond Measure

Our California Coates journey began in the summer of 2007. It is hard to believe that our California days may be coming to an end already. I hope our story of the Lord’s financial provision to us can be a blessing both to existing TMS students as well as prospective students.

When we made the decision to come to TMS we knew that our finances were going to be a challenge for us. Early on James and I decided we were going to commit our finances to the Lord and made the commitment not to incur a large amount of debt. We were convinced that the Lord would not want us to incur hundreds of dollars of debt each month to be at TMS and even considered the possibility of heading home at the half way point. We were still living on our saved resources leading up to that time, but by Spring semester of second year those resources were going to be depleted. We prayed for the Lord’s provision and expressed our desire to stay in order to complete the training, but also acknowledged to Him that we didn’t believe He wanted us to go into large amounts of debt to do so. Little did we know we would see the Lord honor that decision in ways we never dreamed possible.

From the human perspective our financial situation made it impossible for us to stay here and not incur debt. Being an international student, James has the limitation of only being able to work for 20 hours each week and it must be on campus. Our monthly income is well under our monthly expenses, yet the Lord faithfully provides all that we need in ways we could never have anticipated. Even when we have incurred some debt over the course of a couple of months, the Lord has provided the means to pay it off. We haven’t missed a meal and the Lord has not only been faithful to provide for our essential needs, but even things that aren’t of necessity; just little blessings from Him.

Early upon arriving at TMS the Lord brought a very special family into our lives whom He has used as the primary means of helping us on a month to month basis. We are so grateful for His generosity through the means of this family and their love for Christ. We have seen money and gifts come through so many different sources and people. We have seen the Lord provide for the birth of our baby. We have had clothing provided for our boys as well as for us. We have had 2 cars given to us, food dropped at our door, books and tuition paid by different sources, scholarships, and even a marriage retreat! There are so many more ways the Lord has provided for us but it would probably take up the whole newsletter. We have never been in need here at TMS. There are times when things are extremely tight, but God has been so faithful to answer our prayers and to meet our needs. We have so much more than we deserve and we praise Him for honoring our desire not to go any further into debt. We have definitely had the opportunity to see God’s sovereignty, meticulous awareness of every factor in our lives, and all this in a way that we may never have had if we hadn’t come to TMS.

I have learned so much in caring for our home that will prepare us for the ministry. I hope that you maybe able to benefit from some of the ways the Lord has shown me in being frugal to keep our costs down and to honor Him in being careful with the money provided for us. Here are some of those things:

Prayer, you won’t get anywhere with out it!
Have a meal plan, when shopping stick to the list, impulse buying will get expensive.
Buy meat in bulk and shop monthly if you can.
Buy seasonal veggies and fruits
When your hubby is a work or class eat sandwiches with the kiddies!
Cut out juices and pop (soda) drink lots of water!
Cut down on eating out Target has pizza’s for $2:99 for a little family fun!
Cook with grains, they are great fillers
Make baked goods from scratch
look in the discounted sections for meat and then freeze them
Make large enough meals so that your hubby can have them for school or work the next day
We make lots of pasta, it’s very frugal
Take advantage of the 99 Cent Store…they have great produce
Around the house and others:
cloth diapers and wipes for baby
use dish rags and reusable napkins instead of paper towel
use Soap nuts for laundry and soap
hang dry clothes
use natural cleaning products like vinegar and baking soda
have one car
always be checking the opportunity sheets for things you need
For family entertainment
cut the TV cable!
Take trips to the library, beach, and look for free days at California’s attractions
family walks
date nights: coffee and your spouse is the best! I love it!

Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’
For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ~Matthew 6:31-33~