I have been amazingly blessed to be a part of a financial literacy program at Monroe Circle Community Center in downtown South Bend. This program is partnered with First Federal Savings Bank. I was approached and asked if I would facilitate the beginner’s class using the Dave Ramsey financial material.
Each week I began by asking the group if they had any victory stories. The first time I asked, the response was small, which was expected since we were all new to the class. One student in particular shared from the beginning. She is a young girl, I would say in her early 20s. From the very first class she was bubbly, friendly, and smiling from ear to ear. Without hesitation she raised her hand and shared that she had saved $50 on her own the past week and made plans to save $10 a day during the weekdays by not wasting money on things she didn’t need to buy.
Each week, she always had something positive to say and I noticed that she had begun to make friends with a couple at a neighboring table. This couple has been amazing. You could tell they loved God and all of the people in the room. Knowing that I couldn’t “preach” during my class each week, I prayed that God would find a way into this class. Every time Dave Ramsey would mention scripture or God I would smile and pray that someone would be touched by it. God was truly working throughout this class.
On the night of the final class I started 3 minutes late and jokingly told everyone that since I started 3 minutes late, I needed 3 extra victory stories. A hand from a gentleman at the back table flew up and he shared that he had gotten a part time job. We all cheered. Then without fail, the bubbly young lady raised her hand to share. She then stood up and her face immediately grew serious. For just a moment I was nervous. What was she going to share?
I must back up a little to say that each week, in preparation for the week’s class, I would sit down on Tuesday night and make an outline of what I would share and teach. For some reason, this particular week I had failed to do this. I couldn’t explain what happened since I am normally very responsible and make sure I do this. During the day on Thursday I had planned to take my lunch hour at work to create my outline. I ended up working through my lunch (lots of things popping up that had to be done). Knowing I wasn’t going to have the time to prepare that I had desired I kept praying throughout the day and talking to God saying, “God, you know this is totally unlike me. I know there has to be a reason for it. Please help me to trust you.”
Getting back to the moment this young lady stood up and her face grew serious…she said that she herself had 3 victories to share this week. She said that one of them she wasn’t going to share but she just had to share and tell everyone. She shared that her first victory story was that she was able to end an abusive relationship with her boyfriend. Each week she had been coming to class looking happy but she was really hurting from being beaten so badly. Her second victory story was that she had learned through this FPU class how to save her money and spend her money more wisely. She learned she didn’t need to stay in this relationship and that she could do this on her own. She was going to be able to do better and so she could end her abusive relationship. Her third victory was that in ending one relationship, she was able to begin another. She turned to the couple at the next table over and said they were her family now. They had adopted her over the weeks and even invited her to their church. She (and her young son) had been going to their church and loved it. Her son even calls the couple grandma and grandpa. She was truly happy with all of God’s blessings in her life.
No, the story isn’t over yet. She sat down and the lady sitting next to her raised her hand to share. She said that she had known this young lady through her GED class but realized she didn’t really know her until she had gotten to know her through this class. She was able to help her through this rough time in her life and also through talking to the young lady, she heard how much she loved going to church. Eventually she began going to this church too and now they all go and just love what God is doing in their lives.
When she finished sharing, the woman from the couple said she wanted to tell everyone that she loved them with the love of the Lord and that she wanted them to know that God had a purpose for each of them being in this class. She said that they did nothing special, that it was all with God’s glory that this had happened. There were many amens and cheers as she finished sharing.
I had to hold back tears of joy. There was a reason I hadn’t prepared that Tuesday night. There was a reason I hadn’t had time at lunch to prepare. It was because God had something much better planned.
It truly has been a blessing to work with these special people. I have come to love each of them. I miss them already. They all plan to come back for the advanced class in a few weeks.