by Grace Cartera
In 1999, Nonoy and Grace Cartera pledged to the Every Nation Building Phase 1, expecting to give comfortably out of gratitude for God’s provision. What they didn’t expect was a season of uncertainty that challenged the Carteras’ commitment to their building pledge and each other. Be encouraged as Grace Cartera recounts how God miraculously sustained and provided for their family.
The year was 1999. My husband, Nonoy, had a stable job at a multinational company, with good pay and substantial bonuses and commissions. I was content being a homemaker, homeschooling our four children: Kathryn, Joel, Paula, and Bianca. Life was good; the future was bright.
We had more than what we needed, and we believe this was so because we were faithful tithers. Nonoy and I have always been faithful in giving our tithes and more. We firmly believe God’s promise in Malachi 3:10: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”
Tithing and giving was such a part of our Christian walk that when our local Victory church announced a building fund program for a Fort Bonifacio church, we did not hesitate to sign up. We prayed and decided to give an amount, an amount that was quite substantial for us, enough to almost cover a college educational plan for one of our children.
We had our finances planned out for the succeeding years. We thought we had it covered. But change was about to come, not exactly to our favor.
In 2001, my husband’s employer had to drastically cut back on expenses. The expected salary increases did not materialize, the bonuses and commissions were gradually removed. Inflation caught up. The children were growing and so were our family’s expenses. To make things worse, in 2005, my husband was asked to resign.
Nonoy started a business with his separation pay as seed money. While the first two years went very well, the business took a big hit in its third year, and profits dropped significantly thereafter, putting us in financial red. Yet, despite our lack, we continued to hold on to God’s promises, and our tithes were never compromised.
In January 2009, during Victory’s annual Prayer and Fasting activity, our family prayed for a full scholarship for Kathryn. I remember during one of those prayer times, a thought came into my mind saying, “You should have invested on your children’s college insurance instead of that church building fund. Then you would have enough money for Kathryn’s college.” I knew that wasn’t really me speaking; it was the enemy, so I rebuked it and I confessed the goodness and faithfulness of God in the past and in the future. I knew God would take care of my daughter’s education with or without the scholarship.
True enough, Kathryn topped her entrance exams and she was granted a full scholarship at one of the top universities in the Philippines. God came through as He promised, and just in time.
From then on, our faith started growing, and as it grew, God’s faithfulness started showing all the more. Although the business never recovered, we learned to rely on God and His promises in spite of the circumstances.
God is a faithful and promise-keeping God. He started pouring out His blessings on us in the most pleasant, unexpected ways. In 2010, our youngest, Bianca, was granted a full five-year scholarship at a prestigious international school. In 2011, Joel was granted a full scholarship at one of the more expensive colleges. This year, Paula was granted not one, but in God’s humor, three full scholarships at prestigious institutions!
To my husband and me, the hand of God moved undeniably in the magnitude, timing, and number of these scholarships. It was like the Red Sea parting right before our eyes!
God, Who is able to give more than what we ask or imagine, was indeed doing just that. My husband also got a full scholarship to study in Australia, all expenses paid, and with working privileges! I have wonderful things coming in my way as well: some parents have asked me to tutor their children. Tutoring has since become a thriving source of income for me. In just a few years, God has so radically changed our family’s situation!
Galatians 6:7 says, “…God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” Instead of investing in college insurance, we invested in God’s kingdom, and we are now reaping kingdom dividends. We believe there is more to come, and in all these, we are ready and privileged to bring all glory back to God.