In April 2020, Circulate featured a Latino family, the Garcias*, serving in Israel. Though the pandemic was still new at that time, Simeon and Celia had already seen a significant decrease in their support, and only had enough left to remain in Israel for three more months. In addition, there was an urgent, large visa expense they needed to pay. The family trusted God to provide for their needs, even while watching the payment deadline steadily approach.
Then, a miracle happened.
A couple in South Africa, Petrus and Maria, read their story. They had specifically been praying about serving in Israel alongside their two teenage daughters and had sold their house and were living off its small profit. Maria did counselling for her local church while Petrus had stepped away from the company he’d partially owned as a partner so that other employees could continue to receive a paycheck in the pandemic. They were trying to figure out if they could move their family to Israel when they saw Simeon and Celia’s story.
“We asked our contact how much a family would need a month to live in Israel, which also answered our question as to how much the Garcia family would need,” Maria remembered. “We were a bit shocked because the conversion from rand to shekel meant it was a larger amount than we expected. How could we raise those kinds of funds without an income of our own, in a pandemic?
“Then Petrus said to me: ‘Now that we know what it costs for a family of four to live in Israel, we know what to bless them with.’ It was almost all of our savings, but we chose to trust God as our provider.”
Petrus and Maria ended up giving more than the amount the Garcias needed for one month’s expenses and later discovered that the 'extra’ they gave was the exact amount needed to cover the costly visa expenses as well—just hours before they were due.
From half a world away, through people they’d never met, God had provided exactly what the Garcias needed.
“It’s all glory to God,” Petrus said. “Our family was blessed to be the vehicle for how God chose to provide for the Garcia family. It had nothing to do with us. Before we ever heard of the Garcias’ need, our family had been praying about moving to Israel. But then we sat in our house for nine months in the pandemic and didn’t go anywhere. God said to me: ‘Yes, I am sending you to Israel—from South Africa.' There is a family there now who we were able to partner with for a short time. So, we are there. That seed is there. And now, I have a brother I cannot wait to meet in person, who I love deeper than any earthly friendship can account for.”
This experience has also opened Petrus and Maria’s eyes to the challenges of believers serving overseas. They spoke with Jesus followers from different organisations and found struggles with support raising to be a common denominator. Maria commented: “They were so emotionally tired from doing things like writing newsletters, reporting to justify financial support, emails, etc. We didn’t have that insight before that.”
“If there’s one thing I’ve learnt through this,” Petrus added, “It’s that God sees me and He will provide. That's my message to men. There’s a belief that men are the providers for their families, but it isn’t true. Yes, we must work, but for nine months I had to sit at home and not work because God said: ‘Sit. But while you are sitting, I will provide more than you can do for yourself.’ He will be my supply. I cannot and do not have the ability to provide how He wants to.”
From March through December of 2020, their family waited and watched as God continued to provide, even though Petrus was out of work. There were mornings when they gathered as a family and prayed for food to eat that evening, and then by the afternoon, they received God’s provision. Each time it was a different way, ranging from a voucher stuck to their gate to someone dropping off exactly what they had prayed for. In fact, Petrus and Maria’s family found themselves so blessed that they were able to help others with what they had been given. “God has been so faithful. We received our daily bread, but the abundance was the growth in our faith and trust in the Lord because we now truly understand that God is our provider,” Petrus said. “The same will be true if God moves our family to Israel. God has shown me that we will not move if He does not provide or supply. If I can say anything to Jesus followers serving around the world, it is not to move until God provides. It’s not about you or how much you need; it’s about God’s mission and His purposes in His time.”
While Petrus and Maria wait to see if God will move their family to the Holy Land, they are sharing God’s love in South Africa. Petrus has started a new company and has a ministry for local businessmen, focusing on living out his faith while also hosting weekly discipleship meetings with other business owners. Maria started to volunteer at a pro-life counselling centre. Their teen daughters give radically as well. “They understand that their earthly father is not their provider. The other day, I stopped at a petrol station with my youngest daughter and sent her to get a drink. There was maybe 250 Rand in my wallet (about 15 Euro), and she bought a drink that cost maybe 10 Rand (about 60 Euro cents). But when she came out, there was no cash in my wallet. When I asked her where the change was, she told me she felt God prompting her to give the change to the cashier. When the woman protested that my daughter had given her too much, she said: ‘No, you’re worth so much more, but that’s all my dad has, so that’s all you get.’ Praise God, they don't just understand it; they live it. There’s a difference.”