I thought it was the worst thing that could happen when the international company my husband worked for closed down their office in North Africa, terminating his job. We lost his salary. We lost our residency visa. The only way we could stay in the country was to start travelling in and out every few months to renew our tourist visas. With a family of six, that was a huge expense. Without my husband’s salary padding our support, already impacted by currency devaluation in his home country in the Global South, I thought we would have to leave.
As I prayed about the situation, however, I felt God tell me that He had crossed us over this bridge. He had something better for us, but I couldn’t see it.
Around the same time my husband’s former company closed, OM asked him to take on additional leadership responsibilities for our field. With the work required by his previous job, there was no way he could have handled the new role. Instead, freed from the long hours at the company, he could step into the next season of ministry.
Of course, that didn’t help our financial situation. By taking away my husband’s salary, God was challenging us, but He was also providing so much more.
Two years later, my family is still in North Africa, and God has provided for us—provided enough that we’re living in a big house, all four kids are attending an international school and I was recently able to travel to the US for a former teammate’s wedding. In this last year, God has blown me away with amazing provision.
A big house
Moving to our current house was initially a struggle for me. It’s so big! It was an amazing deal that my husband was ready to jump on, but I worried about what people were going to think. I’d heard comments from other workers, but they didn’t know the story of how God answered so many specific prayers for this house. We’d been looking for six months before signing the rental contract, and we were very particular about what we were praying for: space to host home church gatherings and kids’ events, a guest room for our many out-of-country visitors, a basement. Our kids were praying for a house with stairs in it. This house has all of that, so many specific answer to prayers. It’s been a huge blessing for our family, and it came at the right time. We moved in just before my husband took on his new leadership role, which has allowed us to host multiple guests from leadership teams and others across OM.
As my kids were getting older, I was also increasingly worried about their education. My husband and I had chatted with other workers about forming a small co-op, and I was even willing to help teach. But God had already given some of these other families a real vision for an international school. I worried that if it turned into a big international school, we wouldn’t be able to afford it. Even when we were sitting there with the other parents, talking through things, I think my husband and I were in a bit of a panic. In my head, I was just thinking dollar signs. We don’t have that. Where is that money going to come from?
At that time, I was meeting together with a group of ladies every week for prayer. One woman’s prayer was that God would cause the international school to happen, and my prayer was that we would have a solution for school for our kids. As details came together for the school, the price kept going up and up and up. We had enough money to survive but not for all this extra stuff. International school would be something extra.
During that time, one of my friends was praying for us. She told me, “I was praying for you and this whole situation, and I feel like God corrected me; we should not be praying for this school to be a little co-op but pray and believe that God can provide for your kids to go to international school.” God corrected her, and her sharing that with me was a correction for me and the way I was thinking. When the international school opened, we enrolled all four of our kids, paying for them through the end of the first semester.
An overseas wedding
About the time we paid for the first term of international school, one of our former teammates, who had served with our family for four years in North Africa, invited me to her wedding in the USA. I wanted to go because she was a part of our team, she was a part of our life and we loved her. I also wanted her to have a representation of her life in North Africa on her special day. But wrestling inside of me, I thought, if we have the money for this trip, shouldn’t we be using that for international school? The Holy Spirit inside of me countered my fear, saying if I didn’t believe for something more, there would never be enough for more.
I was really praying, asking God that there would be a good flight ticket at a good price, that I could get a car and accommodation. I was prepared to pay for all of that. But God surprised me. The bride’s parents—who had visited their daughter twice in North Africa—invited me to stay with the family in the house they were renting for the wedding. Another OMer, who had just visited us, lived in the same state as the wedding and offered me her car. God blessed me with His provision. It was a step of faith to use our money for the trip, instead of international school, but I believed God would provide.
I have realised over the years that there were different beliefs I had that I thought were godly that were not necessarily biblical. The Bible does say godly contentment is great gain. Paul talks about if I have more or if I have less, I’ve learnt the skill of living contently with whatever God has given me (Philippians 4:12). We don’t take expensive vacations, we shop at second-hand stores and we buy inexpensive food at the local market.
We always prayed for enough, but I can also remember that constant feeling of unsettlement because it was just enough. I was thinking that by praying for just enough that I was living simply and that was a godly thing, not realising I was putting God in a box by doing that. I was, in that way, living according to the law, not according to the spirit of grace. I thought if I needed to get more from God, I wasn’t living simply. So I wasn’t believing for anything extra; I wasn’t believing for something great like international school.
Something happened a year ago: It was like this floodgate of heaven opened, and it was really a new season. There has been so much provision for so many extras. It’s really challenged me to believe for more, not that I want to go and buy diamond jewellery or the latest Range Rover, but God’s not only providing for our needs, but also more.
It makes me think of the story of the prodigal son. The older son tells his father, “I’ve been here all along, and you’ve never given me a sheep or a cow or a party with my friends.” I think it’s that kind of thing. God’s telling me, “It’s always been available to you, you just needed to change the way you were thinking.” I just didn’t give Him credit.
He’s so much bigger than I give Him credit for. He can do so much more. In this season, for us and for the country we live in, I’ve been challenged to pray the big prayers and to believe for more.
Amy is a long-term worker in North Africa, along with her husband and four children. She’s involved in church planting and discipleship and counts Arabs as some of her very best friends.