Ok, so this is a very hard thing to ask. In the past four years, we have poured our lives and resources into the boat and the ministry to which God has called us. We have just received
the response from the state of California regarding our appeal.
Bottom line up front: we owe California $15,945.15 for something they call “use tax.”
When we started this journey four years ago, we had more than $50,000 in the bank (and a full-time, good-paying job). We had paid off all our debt including cars and turned around our financial world thanks in large part to Financial Peace University and Dave Ramsey. Today, not including our shipyard bill of about $3000, we have a balance in the bank of -$200. We have $4667.45 of ministry expenses on a credit card (Sorry, Dave Ramsey, life happens). The yard bill will go on the card as well.
We are extremely thankful for those of you who have supported us financially. At this point, our financial partners provide $1500 a month ($1100 after this month). This is roughly 25% of our monthly ministry expenses. To this point, the balance has come from our savings and retirement pay. The rule of thumb on boat maintenance expenses is 10% of the boat’s value per year. For us that is about $20,000. That doesn’t include other expenses such as marina fees, fuel, immigration, etc. Our boat payment alone is $1300 a month. These expenses are inherent in getting to missionaries. Once we arrive, there are the expenses of actually coming alongside the missionaries – such as transportation to them from wherever the boat is moored. Having done this for two years, our savings is depleted to $2083.38. (The kids each have about $15,000 in 529 plans thanks to an inheritance from Brandy’s grandfather.) We have nothing additional going into college or retirement savings. My monthly retirement pay is $3665.50. That goes toward food, clothing, shelter and education. We are not getting rich off of this ministry, at least financially. We are living frugally and modestly, seeking to be faithful with that which God has entrusted to us.
. It is basically sales tax for the purchase of our boat. We did due diligence for about a year to find out if we were exempt as non-resident military and had no luck. At the time of purchase, we had set aside the approximate amount, but as we never received a bill or response from the state, we spent that money on maintenance and repairs to the boat.
Additionally, last month we got to the bottom of an indebtedness to the US Department of the Treasury regarding an overpayment by the Navy. When I returned from Iraq, they failed to stop my special pays for Imminent Danger, Family Separation and Hazardous Duty. I knew I was overpaid on these and had put aside the overpayment. Before I retired, we had about $3500 deducted from my paycheck the payday before my retirement ceremony. (Ouch!) Since I no longer had access to my LES (pay stubs), I was unable to verify exactly what it was, but, since it was the same amount as my overpayment, logic said that it was my repayment. What we were finally able to discover was that was the federal tax on my untaxed combat zone pay. We hadn’t considered the federal tax. So, we still had additional indebtedness to the government of about $2000.
We know that God could make this disappear with a mere thought, but it appears that he has other plans. Part of that plan is to invite you to participate in serving missionaries in Mexico and Central America.
Here is what we need:
First, prayer for us. This is frightening, discouraging and challenging
to our faith and sense of calling. I’m sure you all know the weight that a financial burden can have. We do not think this is God’s way of telling us to sell the boat to pay off the debt and quit, but it is a storm and Jesus appears to be sleeping in the stern of the boat.
Second, prayer for our finances. Obviously, we cannot pay these debts in our financial situation. I know everyone has challenges, but we know that our God will meet our needs. We also know that he uses his children as stewards of his wealth. Please pray that those on whom God lays a burden to assist would trust and obey. We are first and foremost asking for a one-time, special gift for this specific time. Of course, we are also looking for regular giving parters. If God puts it on your heart to help, you can donate online at: SUPPORT
Finally, prayer for our ministry. We are planning to visit our missionary contacts in Loreto and La Paz as well as assist a new boating missionary family in La Cruz. Around the first of the year we will partner with missionaries in Guatemala, missionaries in Honduras in the spring and missionaries in Panama in the summer. There are many miles of open water between here and there, so we need your prayers.