Monday, February 27, 2012

The Story of Two Houses and a New TV

Sometimes the best way to receive a gift is to give it away.
Because the only things we really have — are the things we hand over.

~ Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience.
In October of last year, our furnace broke. We replaced it. The installer informed us of government rebates which we applied for. We filed the paperwork... and promptly forgot about the money that was to come back to us.

Fast forward to this past Friday. My boy went to get our mail and came back with an "important looking envelope." I tore open the envelope and inside was the rebate cheque... a sizable amount, I might add! I was excited. You see, hubby and I have been eyeing a new big-screen TV for our bedroom. When I saw the cheque, I immediately thought, "Costco, here we come!" :-)

Simultaneously, as the let's-go-to-Costco thought formed in my head, I very *distinctly* heard the still small voice of the Holy Spirit say to me, "I have another purpose for that money." 

My ears perked up! 
What could this other purpose be...? 

There is currently no pressing need that our family is aware of... so I quietly asked God to show us specifically to what, to whom or to where this money should be going towards.

That same night, friends of ours visited us. They have just recently been to the Philippines {over the Christmas break} and witnessed first-hand the devastation that was caused by Typhoon Sendong (Tropical Storm Washi). Their planned vacation became a mission trip providing humanitarian relief instead!

Homes destroyed by the flood.

Devastation everywhere...

Our friends appealed to people here in the Toronto area for cash donations. People responded and they were able bring with them $4,000.00 to go towards relief efforts, particularly in the city of Cagayan De Oro.

They provided 96 families with food, kitchen wares...

... school supplies, clothing, bedding items and other necessities.

They were also able to donate $1,000 to Shelter Box providing 60 families
with temporary housing in a Tent City in Cagayan De Oro.

They shared with us that they chose to channel their relief efforts through a local church and that the majority of the 96 families who received help are unchurched. As a result of this relief effort, this local church is now experiencing increased attendance... many are even being discipled! They have even ran out of seating during church services on Sundays!

Our friends further shared with us that this local church has embarked on a home rebuilding project for the families who have totally lost their homes during the flood. Each house costs $360.00 to rebuild and that they are, once again, appealing to the faith community here in the Toronto area to help.

A light bulb went on in my head!
This is where that money is supposed to go... 
The giving away, the thanks-living!

The frame of one of the first houses to be rebuilt.


A girl awaiting funds for her house to be rebuilt.

I love how God showed us the answer on the same night of the very day we received our rebate cheque! Isn't it just amazing how He works? 
Christian hands never clasp and He doesn’t give gifts for gain because a gift can never stop being a gift — a gift is always meant to be given….
~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts.
As for that new big-screen TV, it can wait! :-)

Our trusty old TV! :-)

You see, we will be perfectly fine without it... no, we will be more-than-perfectly-fine without it! We are more than happy to go without the luxury of a new big-screen TV and in exchange see two families have enough shelter to remain safe and dry.

You see, that rebate cheque... it is almost exactly the amount of that TV we are eyeing... it is also almost exactly the amount to rebuild two houses! God's accounting is just so top-notch, I tell ya! ;-) I love how He makes it so easy for us to choose and to compare... :-)

Will you join our family?
... in the rebuilding of one or more of these houses?
Your donation will receive a Canadian charitable tax receipt through a local church here in the Toronto area that is working directly with the local church in Cagayan De Oro.

The counting of grace-gifts... it has truly helped me in my desire to fully live out my thanksgiving! As I continue on this hunt for grace-gifts, these are the things I am thankful for this week... #1274 - #1278:

:: This opportunity to give thanks away, thanksgiving becoming thanks-living!
:: His sustaining grace on a not-so-typical week.
:: My sister and her boys visiting us.
:: Our new Lead Pastor.
:: A Saturday to catch-up on many things...

Happy Monday, friends!
May you be looking forward, as I am... to another week full of God's blessings and His goodness... another week of living out thanks and giving thanks away!
Thanksgiving for God’s love always seeks to become thanks-living – a living and giving of His love.
Soaring into this new week with you, friends... acting justly, loving mercy, walking humbly with God!

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Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing! Wow how awesome! God is faithful, what a wonderful thing for Him to show you exactly what He planned!


    Much love,

    1. He is, indeed, faithful! Thanks, Teena, for dropping by today. It's wonderful to be doing thanks-living with my online community of friends. God is always good!

  2. This is a beautiful post on what God can do through us!

  3. Just what I needed. You see we have sold our home, given everything we own away and are moving to the Philippines to build schools, all trusting in God to provide for us as we've provided for others....but then today a hitch. Our home sale was to close tomorrow, tickets are bought, now the closing is delayed two weeks. It has made me wonder, questions, what are we doing! are we crazy? then I read this and know we are on track and it will be okay.

    1. Wow, Gretchen! What an amazing thing you're doing!!! Philippines is a beautiful country with beautiful people... just so much poverty, so much brokenness... it's heart-breaking! I so admire your obedience, to walk by faith, to step out of your comfort zone. God bless you!!!

  4. God loves his kids! Way to be a vessel for Him!

    1. Yes, God sure does love... that's why we love! Thankful everyday for His grace! Thanks for dropping by, Vanessa!

  5. Growing in our faith is just being obedient in each step along the way. I want to honour you for your obedience. Its always a joy to sacrifice when we know God has spoken to us, but its always our choice to say yes.

    I have a few of these stories myself and I love how God knows, down the very dollar, what is needed and where it comes from or goes to. Its always an adventure with Him! :)

    I pray that the example of your life and giving can impact and challenge many to do the same!

    Peace & Grace to you & yours
    ~ natalie :)

    1. Thanks for your note and for the encouragement, Natalie! Keep walking with Jesus... He is worth it!!! :-)

  6. What a wonderful post!! You always encourage me through your words and actions!


    1. Thanks, Deborah...

      Your comment reminded of these verses... "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." (Hebrews 10:23-24)

      Blessings, friend! :-)

  7. Thanks so much for this post. I have been working on a Bible study lecture to present on wealth/money in Proverbs and the Bible. Wow....the more I look the more I see that God gives us wealth to be generous with, to care for the poor, the widows, those in need. To give, to give, to give. Thank you for being obedient and giving me an example to use in my talk...with your permission.

    1. Hello Darnly.

      Thank you for dropping by today! I just visited your blog and am so blessed by your and Larry's story! God is truly faithful and He is truly always good.

      And, yes... please use my story as you see fit... for the talk that you are giving. I am humbled... and thankful for His grace!

      ~ Aimee.

  8. Wow... what a wonderful post. i admire and appreciate your effort in extending your deep love and concern for us. you have really lifted our souls. we thank the Lord that you have used by God as hands in extending His help to us. God bless and be praying for you. to God be all the glory.

    Pastor Paul J. Celmar
    Ikthus Cagayan De Oro

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Paul. It's truly only because of God's grace... by our own might, we are unable... but by His grace, we are empowered! All is grace!