Tuesday, April 17, 2012

We almost quit Billings... almost

Our Pastor Levi Lusko constantly reminds us to set up stones of remembrance to remind us of what God has done in our lives. Monica and I had recently fallen under the worse of times in our lives, but God showed up. I wrote an email to an old friend back home in California, updating her on everything that has been going on, and I had decided to post it on the blog because I felt it was important to share our story with others. We almost quit the responsibilities in Billings over and over again in order to figure out how to put our lives back together, but we didn't quit, and we didn't end up putting our lives back together, but God did, He worked tons of miracles. Don't lose hope in hopeless situations, Jesus is there, I pray that you'll trust Him, and never give up on what He had called you to go through. Hope this blesses you:

Hey Vivian,

Just wanted to say hi and update you on what's been going on with Monica and I lately.

From the time that we returned to Billings from California back in November, our situation was ok for about a month but then things got worse. From the time that we had showed up in Montana I had been the only one working since it was hard for us both have jobs and share one car. If you remember, we were hit by a drunk driver last year in June which caused us to lose our car. We went to the hospital that day and we were treated for injuries, I was about 2 weeks away from gaining our health insurance so medical wouldn't cover our bills. The hospital billed us for our treatment, nearly $2000 worth of expenses. We took the driver to court and were granted restitution fees for the medical bills, but the judge only ordered him to pay $25 a month. The hospital wanted the money from us in full and we didn't have it, so they sent us to collections. So far the driver has only been paying $12.50 a month (half of what the judge ordered him to pay), and were still left with only one car.

It has been putting a strain on us, we eventually fell behind on more than half of our finances. Our phones were cut off because we couldn't pay for them, we couldn't pay our bills, we only had enough for rent and I could barely afford gas. We had a few days where our fridge was empty and did not eat that day, it's been hard and we've been seeking God through it all but it really looked like He wasn't around. We kept trusting that God would show up and provide but the longer we waited, the harder it got for us to accept what we were going through as God's will or God's plan for our lives.

Last Tuesday I was looking over everything we owed and 'gave up'. My gas tank was empty and I was scheduled to work that night, I had no idea how I was going to get to work. I told Monica that I could not figure out a way to get us out of our mess and that I don't know what to do. We were both broken and scared, but with the little hope we had left we had decided to bring our situation to God. He spoke to my heart and basically said to me, 'Am I not enough for you?' And I realized that one major lesson Jesus had been trying to teach us both is that if we were to lose all we had, He would have to be enough to satisfy us, He would have to be all we need and nothing more. We needed to be able to say like Job, 'Naked I came into this world, Naked I go out, Blessed be the name of the Lord.' And so we were blessed with that and accepted our circumstances, trusting Jesus.

Later that night, we heard a knock on the door, and nobody was there. We opened our door and found an envelope with gift cards to gas stations and food places. It had to have been $300 worth of stuff. We were blessed and thanking God for it. About an hour later, some new friends in town asked if they could stop by our place. They came over and had told us that they were fasting and praying about a month ago and that

God had told them to give us money. They didn't know our situation or understand why, but after praying for confirmation for a month, they came to understand that God was asking them to do this. They gave us a check for $4000 on the spot. It blew both Monica and I away. We were able to catch up on our finances with that money and cover the medical bills that we owed the Hospital. We were praising God for it but it didn't stop there.

Over the weekend a friend of ours let us know that he really wanted to meet with Monica and I and talk to us about something important. We met for coffee and the moment he sat down he basically said, 'I don't know how to tell you guys this, so I'm just going to come out and say it. I'm giving you my car.' So yeah, God also gave us a car, replacing the one we lost in the car accident last year.

So right now, we are pretty much just living in awe of God and excited about what He has done.

Monica and I are doing fine, blessed, and I just felt that I wanted to share this story with you. If you feel like anyone else ought to read this feel free to pass it along. We were so blessed by what God has done and we pray that what God has done in our lives could be an encouragement to others. God never forgets His kids.

Anyway, sorry for the lengthy email, but I just wanted to update you. Let me know how you're doing too!

God Bless!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012


It was about a week ago that I got the call at 6am. My dad had let me know that my grandpa had passed away earlier in the morning. I thanked my dad for letting me know and hung up the phone.

For the next 24 hours I pushed the news out of my head, avoiding grief and avoiding over thinking it all. I avoided talking to my family because I had fears.

As I was driving to work a day after hearing the news, I had some quiet time. I drove pass a Burger King and that did it for me. It reminded me of the last moments I spent with my Grandpa. My brother and I had driven from Downey, CA to Juarez, Mexico (across the boarder from El Paso, TX) to pick up my Grandpa from the airport and get him a visa.

When we picked him up, he walked out of the plane wearing the beige sobrero he loved to wear with his jeans and tucked in button up long sleeve shirt. He welcome us with open arms, he called me mijo.. i know he saw the look on our faces, he knew we were happy to see him, i could tell because he smiled back.

We asked him if he would like lunch, he said yes. We asked what he wanted to eat, he said he wanted a 'torta Americano', we had no idea what he was talking about. We took him to a Mexican restaurant and ordered him a torta (Mexican sandwich). We asked if that's what he wanted, he just shrugged. The next day as we were driving around town, we drive pass a Burger King, he pointed at the sign and yelled 'torta Americano!' Turns out he was talking about a hamburger the whole time. We ate at BK, and he practically inhaled the burger. I had a lot of fun with my Grandpa the next few weeks, but that memory always stood out in my mind and would be a story I would share constantly about him...

So as I drove passed the Burger King the day after getting the news of his passing, it stunned me, and I could no longer hide the feelings I had over the loss. I gripped the wheel tight and I was overwhelmed with anger. I wasn't mad at God, I wasn't mad at anyone, I was just mad.. and I sobbed.

I really loved my Grandpa, and in my mind for whatever reason I believed that he would always be around because he always was. I loved that he was interested in everything I was doing in church, I loved that he would hear me when I told him about Jesus and what it takes to get to heaven, I loved that he was always available to talk to even though I didn't make myself as available. I loved his grace and loved that his love was unconditional not only for me but for all of his kids and grand kids.

Anger overwhelmed me because I kept thinking about how wrong death is. And as a believer of God and the bible I couldn't help but think that it is not supposed to be this way. When God created this earth and everything in it, His vision and desire was for it to be eternal. What interfered with that plan was Genesis 3, when the devil tricked Eve into eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and Eve gave to Adam to eat. God told Adam not to eat of this tree, and so after God confronted Adam and Eve, God presented them with the consequences of their actions. Some of those are pain, suffering, and death. I couldn't help but think, if they had just listened to God, my grandpa would still be here, and not just here, but healthy and well.

I believe though that Jesus grieves with us. When His good friend Lazarus died, He wept with Lazarus sisters who had said to Jesus, 'If you were only here, He would still be alive'.

I love so much though, that Jesus recognizing that everyone will die because of sin, that He died for our sins so that we get another chance at eternal life, and this time in heaven. I pray that God brought everything I told my grandpa back to remembrance before he passed, so that he would have responded to what Jesus did for him, repented in his heart and gave his heart fully to Jesus. It's all it takes to get to heaven.

I believe and know that even though my heart is hurting over the loss, my mom, aunts, uncles, and Grandma are dealing with it a lot harder. I would like to ask all of you to pray for my family. And a huge thank you to everyone who has been there, especially my awesome church who never ceases to amaze me in the ways of 'being there' for me when life gets hard. You guys are such a blessing.