Wait for the Story, by Beth Guckenberger

Last Saturday, when the final week of summer short-term groups arrived, someone handed me a bank envelope of $800 and said it was a gift to the ministry to be used however it was needed.

I immediately pressed, “Would you like this spent on a teen in our program? At one of the Rio squatters’ villages?  For a children’s home?  A medical need?”

The donor responded, “I know it was to be this amount and there are no strings attached.”

When I hear that, I know there is a story coming.  There are instantly a dozen ways I could spend $800 well.  Needs abound in our organization; it’s the nature of what we do and who we serve.  But, I decided to wait on the Lord on this one, so I put the money in our safe, and just prayed for wisdom on how to use it.  Days passed and on Wednesday, I prayed, “God, I know you don’t work this way, but how cool if the donor could see this week where their money was spent.  Just tell me what need you raised this money for.”


Later that evening, I was talking to Meme, who serves here with us in one of the squatter’s villages.  She was an orphan as a child and last year became a widow.  She ministers to the families of her community with a grace and resolve that is widely admired.  I finish our conversation and walk away.

“Beth! Come quick!” she yelled.  I turned around to her and gasped.  Her front two teeth had fallen out completely.  She sat there, devastated.

I learn that evening that she hasn’t ever received regular dental care and it had been years since she had her teeth professionally cleaned.  The next morning, I took her to a local dentist office and told them to temporarily fix the problem and then to call me with the estimate of how much it would cost to fix them permanently.  I knew that we would have to raise those funds for her.  An hour later I got a call from the dentist, who reviews with me the lengthy process and multiple other outstanding dental needs.

I responded, “She is a giver of good news to highly unreceptive people.  She needs to be able to open her mouth and speak the truth to them.  Tell me the damages… how much will all of that cost?”

The dentist paused, knowing I would have sticker shock.  “Eight-hundred dollars,” he said.

“No problem. Get started,” I answered with a smile. “Our Lord owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and He sold some for her benefit last week…”

I knew the dentist didn’t understand my reference, but Meme sure did, as did the donor when we shared the story with him later that night. Respond to the prompting; pray when unsure; and then wait for the story.

Meme with her new teeth

Meme, after receiving dental care

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7 Responses to “Wait for the Story, by Beth Guckenberger”

  1. kathy sturdivant Says:

    I am praising God with you and with Meme. Even though I have not met her, she is has become a regular on my prayer list from reading blogs and FB entries. Please keep sharing your praises and I will keep forwarding to others! Blessings to you, Beth!

  2. Lanette Rajski Says:

    That is BEAUTIFUL Beth – Meme has made such an impact on my heart – I am so happy that God provided for her and that you waited and listened! May I share this story on my blog? Thanks – Lanette Rajski

    • Back2Back Says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story! It’s exciting to see how God is working in her life. Feel free to share this story on your blog. We just ask that you please also put a link back to the original post on our site. Thank you!

  3. alice daniel Says:

    I love Meme so much and am praising God right now for how He provided care for not only her, but for the work God does through her! Praise God! I am smiling ear to ear right now and my heart is so happy it is about to jump through my chest at how amazing God is!! Thank you for sharing this story Beth…my day has been abundantly blessed through it!

  4. Diane Frye Says:

    I love it!!! Once again, God showed off!!!! Beth, thanks for sharing this story. These stories continue to remind us all of how God shelters us in all things and at all times. It will be another faith story that I can share with some believers that are just learning how to walk with God. Not to mention the lesson He reminded me of……”to wait patiently.”

  5. Christy Lohner LPV Says:

    Just another example of the awesome power of God. And so timely. Since before I met the Guckenbergers I have had an unwavering desire to provide for “the least of these”. This has culminated in a desire to provide physical and spiritual shelter, to adopt, those children that have been left for whatever reason. While I am just beginning to embark on this great experience that He has in store for me, my mind swirls with all the questions and directions that this may take. But this reminds me that He has promted this and I will “Respond to the prompting; pray when unsure; and then wait for the story.” Thanks Beth for sharing this wonderful account of His grace and provision!

  6. Lauren Bennett Says:

    Wow truly another amazing story from Beth! Every time I hear one it brings tears to my eyes. Meme and Beth both are amazing women! God Bless you both.

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