When my husband first left, I had three young toddlers, ages two and one (twins). I found a job as a clerk-typist making $12,000 a year. Each month I would turn in my tithing check for $100 and the bishop would give me two checks in return – one for the rent, the other for the more than $600 daycare bill for the boys. Everything else was my responsibility. I had only been a member of the church for 6 years, and this support has cinched my testimony of tithing ever since. Eventually I was able to work up to a position where I could meet all my family’s need myself, but it was never with much breathing room. Always living on the edge of financial disaster made me very uncertain of my real worth. The biggest challenge was that the twins were not able to take on full-time jobs when they graduated from school, and I never saw them as real resources in providing for the family, although as adults their financial needs had increased. For years I’ve watched my finances with the real fear that a single crisis would push us over the edge.
When we had the opportunity this year to take one of the self-reliance programs, I knew it was something that we should do, but I didn’t have any real faith that it could make a difference in our family’s circumstances. So my niece (who lives with us now) the younger of the twins, and I joined a self-reliance group for the 12-week program. It started out with information and counsel that I already felt familiar with, so I sat back expecting to easily cruise through.
And then we came to budgeting. Although the program stressed the necessity of budgeting to gain control of family expenses, I found I completely lacked any faith in my ability to create and manage a budget. There had been numerous attempts over the years but all had fizzled out. The self-reliance program provided the information, structure, and support I needed to commit to tackling a budget again. This time, with the support of a caring facilitator, genuinely concerned group members, and a commitment to seek the Lord as we proceeded, we, as a family, have come into a new place where the boys are genuinely interested in how the family’s finances are progressing, and have stepped up to the challenge of assisting financially in ways I had never thought possible. In the two or three months since participating in this program I have gained real confidence in the family’s ability to provide for itself – not just me carrying it. The budget gets maintained almost daily by one of the twins, and we’ve set goals and action plans in place to do things that have always felt out of reach.
As usual, the Lord’s challenge to “prove me now herewith” Malachi 3:10 has proven that he blesses each of us as we try His challenges. Each member of my family has gained personal blessings unique to their needs from taking advantage of this program. I encourage everyone to prayerfully consider if there may be areas in your life where the truly personal help of the Lord could bring blessings to you and your family.
More information on Self Reliance, including local resources, can be found here:
rva.mavsr.org; Please sign in using firstname.lastname@example.org with the password RVAStake47
If you or someone you know has a uplifting story or thought to share, please contact us at jenhaines@LDSPublicAffairs.org
Lynn and Sherry Whyte have lived in the greater Richmond area for the past 25 years, but left their home and family in January 2017 for an 18 month mission. They moved to South Africa and, paying their own way, served The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They helped with various legal matters and mission applications during the week and got to know local members by attending local church services on Sundays. Lynn said of their missionary service “It was a great experience. I would highly, highly recommend any kind of a mission for anybody.”
The Whyte family has lived in many places over the years, most notably Ankara, Turkey while Lynn worked with the Air Force, although his work never took them to Africa. As a retired lawyer, he used his knowledge of law to help the Church with legal matters such as contracts associated with drilling wells and other humanitarian projects, papers required for the Church to operate in the countries, and leases for buildings and apartments. They both worked in the Africa Southeast Area office located in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Area covers 34 countries in Africa, and the Church has a presence in 26 of them. Sherry is a retired nurse and, while unable to directly use her nursing skills, found plenty of work do in the Area office. The Africa Southeast Area is the second fastest growing Area of the Church in the world. Sherry helped process 1,100 missionary applications submitted by African members throughout the Area.
The Area office was located near the Johannesburg Temple, and members came from many countries to be sealed together as families. Lynn and Sherry would sometimes help care for children of these families; they would play games with them, feed them snacks, and help prepare them for when it was time to join their parents in the temple. At times this was challenging, because the children rarely spoke English, but as Lynn put it “I don’t speak Zulu, but I do speak Lego”.
For more information about Senior Missionary Service, visit https://seniormissionary.lds.org
If you or someone you know has a uplifting story or thought to share, please contact us at jenhaines@LDSPublicAffairs.org.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
In the Richmond area there are 29 congregations of Latter-day Saints. We strive to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and spread His light in our community.
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