Sunday, January 22, 2017

The worst part about having this blog... that I don't post enough. I can't believe it's already 2017 and I haven't written in this in almost a year. I even started this blog post in September and never finished it!! If it makes you feel any better, every time I write a blog for work (which is OFTEN) I think about THIS blog and how I've slowly let it die!

Last you heard from me, we had just returned from over a month in the States waiting for our new visas. Since then, it's been a pretty crazy couple of months.

Clay started doing more for the Baptist Church - visiting home groups, working with the students, preaching more. I really think he's built for a ministry profession. He's convinced that PhD is still in the future, but for now, ministry is where we are content.

Clay at YoungLife camp
Part of the stipulations of his visa is that Clay can only get a part-time job outside of his work with the Baptist Church, AND it has to be in the same field of work (ministry). Luckily, he got connected with YoungLife, which is a Christian organization whose goal is to build relationships with teenagers. And lemme tell you this - teenagers LOVE Clay for some reason. I think it's because he's terrifying and they think that if they can befriend the giant, he won't destroy them. No... I'm kidding. But seriously. Teenagers are drawn to Clay, and YoungLife is an absolute answer to prayer. We were worried about what kind of churchy part-time work would be available for Clay and this is just perfect for him.

Clay and YoungLife Staff
Now, here's the part where my blog gets real. For many of us, money is a struggle in St Andrews. Many students choose to take out massive, unrealistic student loans to ensure that they could live comfortably on a lower/non-existent income, but Clay and I decided against that when we got here. We were doing ok last year in terms of finances. My job paid the bills and gave us a little extra. But since Clay stopped being a student in November, that meant our St Andrews student loan went into repayment, AND because we were no longer students, we had to pay council tax. I sat down at the beginning of the year with all of our money and said, "Ok. Without another income, we can pay all of our bills on my salary and savings through the month of June, and then the 1st of July, we'll start overdrafting everything."

Now, remember last time I blogged when I said that Clay thinks that God is only using this as an opportunity to strengthen my faith? I think he's partially right. The other reason I think God is orchestrating everything this way is to show us and EVERYONE ELSE how he is miraculously and hilariously providing for us.

60 Euros and a weird Chinese Mickey Mouse?
Back in June, I was sweating bullets, and considering getting a extra part-time job to try to support us since I don't have any restrictions with how much I can work. We prayed and prayed that God would support us, and just had to wait around and trust that God would do it. We did a bit of dumpster diving (classy, right?) once the students all left and not only did we find lots of random treasures, like an unopened 5kg bag of sugar, the entire box set of Harry Potter movies and a whole new CASHMERE wardrobe that magically fits Clay's muscles, but we found cash. Someone literally threw away money, and not just a little bit. £62 in change. A bunch of Chinese money. 60 Euros. All sliding around at the bottom of a box with opened mail, a hair straightener and some giant speakers. I just sat in the floor and laughed with Melody while she was here. We prayed that God would provide for us and he sent us TRASH.

Since then, it's been one of those stories that so many Christians have heard. Someone felt moved to give us a money, and it just HAPPENED to be the right amount to pay our bills for July, for August, for September. We got 3 months past the point where we should have run out of money, and we were still scraping the bottom of the barrel and making it work. GOD IS SO GOOD.

That being said, Clay is now being paid and WE'RE FIIIIIINE. This has been a rollercoaster of a time in Scotland, and while it has been terrible and frustrating and has made me cry more than any other place we've ever lived, we love it here. And God is taking care of us.