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Even in a Wheel Chair?

I was first introduced to Above Rubies as a child. I used to read my Mum's magazines and looked forward to being a Mum myself one day. However, as I grew into adulthood, I focused on career and missions. This kept me busy until I met Graham at Bible College, or as it was nicknamed, "Bridal College."

Graham and I desired to have a large family but we did not see how we would be able to finance this. Graham is in a wheelchair as a result of an accident and is on ACC (a government accident insurance scheme which we have in New Zealand). Above Rubies has often included testimonies from families whose husbands received pay rises or were offered better paying jobs as their family increased in size, but there is no scope for this when you're on ACC.

About four years ago Graham began a job doing autoCAD drafting. We thought this was the break we needed. The pay was low but he could work his way into something better paying, just like those Above Rubies testimonies, right? Wrong!

Sitting in front of a computer all day might seem like the ideal job for someone in a wheelchair but it proved to be bad for Graham. He lost a lot of strength and endurance. He experienced severe pain because he could not move about or lie down (important for his circulation). Using the computer mouse gave him repetitive strain injury in his wrist -- serious for anyone, but especially for Graham as he relies on his wrist for wheeling his chair, lifting himself and driving with hand controls. He had to give up this job and go back on ACC. In fact, after he left that job it took two years to get back to his former condition.

Now what? The only solution I could see was for me to return to work on a part-time basis as a nurse. I knew I couldn't manage this and still give of my best to my young family. It takes Graham too long to do most household tasks from his wheel chair. He is also dyslexic, so most of the reading side of home educating naturally falls to me.

However, as time went on we became more and more aware of God's provision for our family in other ways. Graham has so many practical skills and problem-solving abilities that he is able to provide us with many things for practically nothing.

Graham is Mr. DIY Extraordinaire and Mr. Scavenger rolled into one. He salvaged two washing machines from the dump and made up one good one out of two; he has replaced parts that have worn out with parts from the dump. In more than eight years of married life we have only spent $120NZ (about $60US) on washing machines. He manages to salvage all our machines, appliances, tools and furniture and keeps up the general maintenance on all of them, plus our vehicles. Graham also scavenges and sells to the scrap metal dealer. I hate jumping out of the car to pick up some item Graham's sharp eyes have spotted on the side of the road but I sure like having that little bit of extra money!

Another way God provides for us is through friends and family. Graham's father and brother built us a carport. A team of men from our church came and re-roofed our house. My father has helped Graham with numerous things, including pulling down an old morgue.  We will use the weatherboards from this to replace one side of our 1908 villa. A couple of friends have filled our roof with cork insulation from an old cold store.

Recently Graham and a friend brought home huge trailer loads of 4 x 2s from a shop that was being gutted, which they are de-nailing. We will also use these on our sidewall, a new shed, and on our friend's house. God provides many things for Graham to scavenge and makes sure he's at the right place at the right time.

God has also provided a farm where Graham can get firewood with help from friends (who also obtain firewood for themselves in the process) using the log-splitter Graham made himself, with some help from a friend. Our fireplace not only keeps us warm in winter but it also dries our clothing. Graeme made an indoor clothesline using a pulley system to pull it up under our 11-foot high ceiling.

They have been able to give firewood to widows and a disabled lady, and also to sell a little to cover costs. It is great to give our sons the opportunity to be involved in this venture. With Graham's skills we should be able to develop some family businesses when they are older!

God provided a  $1000 water filter for $120NZ, the generous gift of organic fertilizer for our 5.7 acres of land by a Christian brother and his wife. We are grateful for the opportunity to own a little bit of land on which we are slowly building up stock. We hope to get to the point where we will make some money from them. We don't intend to be on ACC all our lives! This land also provides us with goat's milk and beef!

We have seen God's hand of provision in our lives and trust He will continue to provide for us as our family grows. Maybe your husband isn't such a practical guy as mine is but God will use the skills with which your husband is gifted. He is Jehovah Jireh, our provider. Do not limit Him.

LEE ALLEN

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