How one phone call brought hope and encouragement

Mar 29, 2022

One afternoon, during a particularly stressful time in her life, Valerie received a phone call. “I am calling from Focus on the Family and calling to see if you have any prayer requests," a woman said on the other end of the call.

“This actually took me by surprise,” Valerie recalls. “I give a lot of money to Christian charities, but no one ever called to say, ‘I want to pray for you.’”

She was especially moved because of the timing of this unexpected call. “My family has struggled with a job loss suffered by my husband last year,” she explains. With one son in university and another finishing high school, along with a mortgage and regular bills, Valerie and her husband had been feeling the pressure. “Living with so much uncertainty for so long can be very stressful.”

Valerie and her husband were living in Italy at the start of the pandemic. “So many people were dying every day,” she recalls. “It was a nightmare.” She was able to continue working remotely from Canada for an international organization based in Italy. However, her contract expired at the end of 2021, so the uncertainty about both her and her husband’s income sources made the pressure grow.

“Having said that, God has been faithful so far this year,” she adds. “I have to remind myself that the Lord is our provider, and the Lord is our help, a very present help in times of trouble. I have to remind myself of Scripture that speaks to this situation, because if you think about the situation, when you remind yourself of the Scriptures and God’s promises, you remember that even when we don’t see, God is still working.”

When Valerie was pregnant with her now 19-year-old son, someone gave her a book by Dr. Dobson. She then discovered Adventures in Odyssey, which helped put her three children to bed every evening, and her 14-year-old daughter now reads Brio magazine.

All of this led to her relationship with Focus on the Family Canada. She and her husband have donated regularly to Focus over the years because of the support and encouragement they have received – and she views giving as a way of letting others experience this same encouragement.

“To give [is to] be a blessing to others because you never know when you will be blessed,” Valerie explains. “Being a blessing to others doesn’t always mean you give money; you can give time if you have no money. We give because it is the right thing to do, because Jesus said, ‘Whoever gives a little cup of water to this person gives to me.’ When I got that call, what that lady did for me that day was to say, ‘We know that you are there, and we care about you.’ That was very, very encouraging because you never know what people are going through, and they may not tell it to anybody, but when you pray for people, you encourage them. To bless families like that, to support people who are going through things, it can make a difference between someone feeling hopeful and feeling hopeless.”

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