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The Miracle They Were Praying For

Sometimes, when the bottom falls out, you barely notice. Because you were nearly there anyway.

That’s pretty close to how homeschool mom Michelle Hanzel felt two months after her husband Steffen lost his job and was unable to find employment. While they were able to secure some emergency food stamps, the family was out of cash, had received shut-off notices from their utility companies, and had been denied any further assistance since Steffen’s former employer didn’t respond to requests to confirm his lack of employment. To top it off, the family was being charged $15 a day for every day that they were late on rent. 

Daily life problems aside, Michelle also had the challenge of homeschooling her two sons. One of her sons struggles with eye-tracking, making reading very difficult unless the text is broken up by images. There was no money to purchase the curricula he needed. Even if her husband got a new job immediately, they’d have to wait on school purchases so they could get caught up on bills.

“I have $20 cash on me that will buy toothpaste and probably gas to get my children to and from regular therapy appointments and maybe get my husband to an interview if he gets one.” Michelle told the Home School Foundation (HSF) Ambassadors at the Arizona Families for Home Education (AFHE) conference. “God has provided for us these past couple of months, and I don't doubt that He still can. It's just very discouraging to be in this situation. We need a miracle.”

The Start of a Miracle
The ambassadors heard the frustration and hopelessness in Michelle’s voice as she shared her experiences. One ambassador noted, “Although being unemployed for two months does not seem like a long time compared to other families who cope with no income for longer periods, this family was already experiencing a great deal of stress from being behind in their bills for months.”

Michelle, Steffen, and their boys had a glimmer of hope after speaking with the caring HSF Ambassadors at the AFHE conference. The ambassadors were ready with funds to help, funds that had already been raised and matched by HSF.

After the AFHE conference, the Arizona Ambassador team interviewed the Hanzels to see how they might help the family. The ambassadors assembled a list of the family’s most pressing financial needs and awarded a generous grant through the HSF Arizona State Ambassador Fund. With the check, the Hanzels were able to cover a month’s rent and nearly all of their other overdue utilities bills, plus money for groceries, gas, and the wished-for homeschool materials. 

More Answered Prayer
The answered prayers didn’t stop with the Ambassador grant, however. Shortly after the family received the grant, Steffen was reemployed, enabling the family to have a fresh start.
Michelle couldn’t help gushing as she answered a follow-up “care call” from her ambassador, asking whether the assistance was helpful.

"Wow, how has the Foundation impacted my family? What can I say? It was the miracle I was praying for! The shut-off notices were just a few days away, and now we’re no longer in danger of losing any services. I can’t possibly thank you enough for the assistance you’ve provided to my family. I praise God for you, for your kindness and compassion! Now my children don’t have to worry about when the water will be shut off, or if we have to move. It broke my heart when they asked me about the utilities because I didn’t realize that they had overheard me talking about it. Thank you for truly blessing my family in our time of need! I’m hopeful that we’ll have the opportunity to give something back in the future.”

Pay It Forward
Michelle wants to pay it forward and you can, too! By joining efforts with the HSF Ambassador Program, your family can serve struggling homeschooling families in your local community. You can also donate to your state’s ambassador fund!

Lastly, please tell others about our up-close and personal way to help families homeschool through hard times. Together, we are strengthening the homeschool community one family at a time.


Helping families homeschool through hard times

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