I don’t blog much about our finances, but since Jake and I blogged this and this over the summer, perhaps you are wondering what has happened since!
First off, our board of directors raised close to $30,000 in a little over a week (!) to cover the costs for our scholarship player’s travel and tournaments through the rest of the month of July.
We (unfortunately) had to cut our amount of full-time staff members.
Then, come August Jake sat down with his board of directors, which includes two members who do financial advising as well as one member who is an accountant, and they worked through numbers and budgets for the upcoming 2011-2012 year. The goal was to examine the fee structure of the Kingdom Hoops program in order to come out on top of the books instead of losing money - what a concept, right?!. As with any business, we do have real bills such as facility expenses, tournament entry fees, travel expenses, staff, uniform fees, etc. Added to that we also have the financial assistance budget in which we give out scholarships to allow families who do not have the finances to be able to participate and take advantage of the program. Each year, we need to raise roughly $200,000 to cover those fees for athletes that are part of our financial assistance program, and each year we fall drastically short. So, numbers were tried, crunched, rejected and accepted until it all worked on paper. The board of directors has also been key in setting out to raise the money needed to cover the financial assistance budget for the upcoming year. Numerous donations have come our way in the past few months, all due to the relationships that our board members have with giving people. We also have gotten the players involved in raising money which was the basis for the Kingdom Hoops Kick-Off & Fundraising event that I blogged about earlier this week.
At the same time that all this financial restructuring was going on it also was placed on Jake’s heart that his program had gotten too big, too fast. He felt that the size of the program was spreading him too thin. He was ultimately losing the intimate relationships that he desired to create with every player and parent within the program. It was not an easy decision, but he felt that in the long-term best interest of the program he needed to reduce the size of his organization. In doing this, he felt that he would be able to do a better job of maximizing opportunities for the kids that were in the program. Jake also wanted to become more ‘Kingdom’ minded. At the end of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John Jesus clearly calls us to go into the world and make disciples. Moving forward Jake desired that his program become more about creating disciples who know Jesus and that would use the platform of basketball to glorify Him!
We’ve been under this new system of a smaller program size (literally cut in half) for about 2 months now, and it is SO MUCH BETTER!!! Like loads better. Jake can spend more time on relationships and discipling and less time on office work and organizing. There are a ton of other youth basketball programs popping up in Iowa right now, so many of the kids cut from Jake’s program still have viable options to continue their pursuit of their goals on and off the basketball court.
On a personal note…..
We had been trying to sell our house for the past year because too much of our income is going to our mortgage payment. A few years ago we were ok with how much our house costs us. But as God has opened up our eyes to the needs around us, we really desired that more of our income could be spent on helping PEOPLE! Then on top of that, over the past year it got really hard to make our mortgage payment every month! In September, after a little over one year of our house being on the market, we finally got an offer on our house. But the banks who do our mortgages would not agree to the sell because the buyer was offering below what we had paid for our house. Obviously we are not going to get the purchase price on our home in this economy right now. So, we’ve decided to take our house off the market. We still would desire that less of our income would go towards our house, but we know that if God would have that happen then He would make a sale possible….it just doesn’t feel like His hand is in the sale right now.
Jake has also turned his individual trainings that he started this summer into a side-business (kind of like having your own personal trainer but regarding basketball). These trainings have absolutely taken off in popularity, and Jake is bringing in a lot of extra income for our family. This has been one of the top ways in which God has helped us to personally recover financially from the hardships this summer. We are now able to crack into paying off bills that piled up, make our mortgage payment and car payments on time without tremendous stress, and keep up with our outrageous grocery bills! And I can’t even believe I am able to write this next part, but we are actually to the point where we can now start saving again!!!! And……we are saving……for something really exciting (to our family anyways) that I will be sharing with you all probably next week. I am so thankful that Jake works so hard to provide for our family. He’s always been the hardest, most dedicated worker I have ever known. He’s making so many sacrifices with his time and energy to provide for us. I know that he values me getting to stay at home with our kids while they are young, and I am thankful that he sees this as important. I feel so blessed that I get to be a part of our kid’s everyday moments. I will never regret this time that I have with them.
And lastly, we finally got our adoption tax credit back. WHEW!!!!!!!!!!!! We will be able to use about half of it to pay off bills, and the other half we are saving for something else……hmmmm….wonder what it is?!?!
So, our finances are recovering. God is providing, and showing us that for now this is where He is asking us to be.
As hard as it was to go through all that, Jake and I both know that we are better for it. Once again God taught us to depend and rely on Him in ways that we never had before. We were literally at the point where everything could have gone right down the drain (house, basketball program, etc) but through God’s grace He showed up when things were looking pretty bleak. I read a blog post over the summer that talked about how God always seems to show up at the exact moment when His glory can be revealed the most. Jake and I found much encouragement from the author's words....the blog post is a MUST READ! You can find it here: Ripe for Glory.
I know that Jake, as the sole provider for our family, was once again ‘refined through the fire’ in the area of our finances. This matured him, deepened his trust in God, and was a teaching point for both of us on God’s incredible power. I can’t even being to tell you how many times God just showed up when we were at the end of our rope….through a grocery gift card in the mail, a shake of a hand with a $100 bill slipped to us, or cards of encouragement from friends who themselves had been in this position before. Not to mention the support from the parents in the Kingdom Hoops program who stuck with us through the valley and encouraged us that God was using this program for great things, and He would sustain it. And the way God provided our board of directors who have been the key piece in helping us come up with a plan to get the program on track financially, set up meetings with giving people to gain donations, and just supporting Jake and I personally and lovingly.
As the page turns to a new chapter we fully realize that at any point God could choose to take everything we have worked so hard for. If He does we will continue to trust in His sovereignty!
God is God. Because He is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to. ~Elisabeth Elliot~