Nickolas & Shilicia McFowland know that money can be stressful for a lot of couples. They have always been careful about their personal finances. Unlike many college students, they each paid for their tuition with scholarships, grants, and cash from jobs. “I got out of college debt free. By God's grace, I definitely did,” Shilicia exclaimed.
While they were dating, they got in sync about their top financial priority: tithing and giving. “I remember when she said, she tithed off the gross. In my mind, I thought to myself like, 'this girl is tripping.' This idea was just in me and then it got in my heart, and it was almost like God was just saying, 'okay, so now you know some different information, which you knew prior. What are you gonna do with that?'" Nickolas recalled.
Following the conversation, Nickolas starting tithing off his gross earnings too. He said, “This is me just saying, 'hey, I trust You. I know that You're going to take care of me. I trust the words that You say in Your word.'”
Nickolas and Shilicia were both advancing in their careers as an engineer and a registered nurse. Once married, they bought a home and started making payments. Then, Nickolas quickly noticed the percentage that was going towards the house. He explained, “The principal was $90 and interest was almost everything else. I was like, this doesn't add up.”
Nikolas talked his findings over with Shilicia and proposed they pay off their $150,000 mortgage in three years. “My response was kind of in shock. I thought it was normal to have a house payment. That was a normal part of life,” she said.
He put together a spread sheet and with the numbers now on paper, Shilicia became convinced. He recalled, “That's when we became on the same page and I really do feel like God was working in that moment.”
They continued to advance in their careers and financial stability. Nickolas saw annual increases of between $30-$45,000. “As we're going through this, other things were happening to where we didn't have to spend money on normal things and we could utilize that money to then go towards the mortgage. It was so many blessings that were happening and the Lord really took care of us,” Nickolas exclaimed.
In 19 months, their three-year plan was complete. “He did what He said He was going to do and He has supplied every need,” Shilicia said.
They then decided to live off one salary, just in case they ever had to. This decision was providential. In 2018, Shilicia became suddenly ill, and was out of work for three years diagnosed with Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia. “I started having heart palpitations really bad. I was having a hard time just physically, even standing for long periods to talk. It was a rough time. But, every moment during the weakest parts of that journey, God was there,” she recalled.
With their mortgage payment fully paid off, they had no debt and were able to easily handle medical bills and added expenses, all the while continuing to tithe and give offerings. “There was no way we weren't going to give God what was owed to Him. God was number one and was the number one priority in this. We never failed to give Him that glory and that in our obedience,” she exclaimed.
Nickolas explained, “Not having hope is not what God says. Even in bad situations, we can still have hope even when the circumstances are right. We always know there's Jesus Christ who's there with us.”
Today, Shilicia is healed and now back to work part time as a nurse and consultant, and earning more than she did when previously working full time. Nickolas received his MBA and is now a project manager. In the past ten years, his income has gone up by nearly 400%.
“Being obedient to God, that will never fail you. He'll never go back on His word," Shilicia said.
Cheng always wanted to play soccer with his friends. However, he was sick a lot and could barely walk sometimes. His sister recalled, “He said he felt a tingle in his heart, like someone stabbed him.”
Cheng was born with a hole in his heart. It caused a lot of health complications as he got older, and his mother left.
“He said, ‘If I didn't have this heart disease, maybe Mom would have stayed.’ She didn’t have energy to take care of my sick brother,” recalled Cheng's sister.
Cheng’s father did his best as a single dad. He worked in the city to provide for his family and save for heart surgery.
“I often called my dad, ‘Father have you earned enough money to operate on brother?’ Cheng’s sister says. “But he was always silent on the phone.”
As weak as Cheng got, he never forgot his dream of playing soccer. “Once, he borrowed a soccer ball from a classmate,” his sister explained. “He kicked it, but it had only gone a few feet when he fell to the ground. He said to me, ‘I am afraid I will have to stay in bed forever. Will you and Grandma leave me one day just like Mom?’ I hugged him and told him we would never do that.”
Then one night, Cheng fell into a coma. His Grandmother remembered, “The doctor said the hole in the middle of his heart had spread far and wide. If not operated on in time, he wouldn’t be able to breathe and could die.”
A teacher suggested the family contact CBN, and we helped make it possible for Cheng to get heart surgery.
His sister exclaimed, “He eats more than I do and grew taller, too. Now he’s powerful. When I arm-wrestle with him, he always beats me. And he has strength in his legs. He can run and play soccer with his friends.”
“I’m very grateful to CBN for your unconditional love,” added Cheng’s Grandma. "You saved my grandson.”
“Thank you for paying for my brother's surgery,” concluded Cheng’s sister. “I'm so happy for him.”
Tracy Phllips has always loved children, so she got a job as a childcare assistant and eventually became a daycare teacher, with her own classroom.
“To me, I had the sweetest room,” she said. “Because I had the little babies, and people would come in and say to me, ‘You have such a wonderful, warm, quiet, peaceful room.’”
She was shocked, when after 19 years, she was told they’d have to let her go because enrollment was down.
“It was really traumatizing to me because they were my babies,” Tracy admitted. “Who else is going to take care of my kids?”
Tracy also wondered how she’d pay her bills. Her unemployment check was only $194 a month, far from enough to cover rent, truck payments, credit card bills, and her outstanding personal loan.
She recalled, “I'm getting phone calls from creditors, ‘If you don't make a payment, we are going to have to take drastic measures. We're going to have to legal cancel things.’ I just felt, ‘What is it? What have I done wrong?’”
Then, the pandemic hit, making childcare jobs scarce, so she started looking for jobs in caregiving. Tracy received no offers. “I felt like the more I tried, it’s like I kept getting hit harder and knocked down all over again,” she shared.
She visited food pantries, sold some jewelry, and got help with her utilities. Ultimately, she had to give up her apartment and move in with her dad.
Tracy confessed, “It was the hardest decision I ever had to make because I’d been on my own for so long. I just felt like I failed. I kept saying to myself, ‘Am I ever going to get back on my feet?’ And I just fell into a really hard depression. I even at one point wanted my life to be over. I didn't want to no more, and I felt like God couldn't use me, that I had failed him.”
She was surfing channels when she came across the 700 Club and watched a story about a woman very much like herself. “She was saying even though she didn’t have much, just giving and trusting God and giving to God and just seeing how her life was changing for the better for her,” Tracy explained. “Tears just start to flow and I realize I'm just still trying to hold on to what little that I have. And I'm saying to myself, ‘Tracy, trust Him.’ I’m just going to step out on faith and give.”
Through the years, she had occasionally given when she thought she could afford it. Now, with bills looming, she took her last $25 and stepped out on faith, giving to her church and to CBN. Not long after, she got a call about a caregiver position.
“And it was like, ‘Yes!” she exclaimed. “I was so excited. I couldn’t believe it. I said, ‘Thank you God, thank you, thank you.’ I was so excited; I couldn’t believe it because it had been months before anybody called me.”
Tracy got the job. Her caseload grew and her salary went up. She received better benefits than ever before, and today, her income is 75% more than when she previously worked in childcare.
“Everything I felt that I had lost, it's like God restored and I feel now so refreshed,” she said. “And every time I would give, I would go to church, I would write on the back of my tithing envelope, ‘Thank you Lord, thank you God,’ and I would put little scriptures on the back.”
Her tithe increased as she made more money and she continued to give to CBN.
She explained, “I see how they help families and children, especially the babies. I love to see the babies in gifts for how they make sure they're getting fed clean water, shelter, reading the word. I said, ‘You know what, that's the organization I want to be a part of.’”
Today, she’s paid off her truck and her personal loan, and her credit card debt will be wiped out within the next couple of years. Tracy said the key to her breakthrough was totally surrendering herself, and especially her money, to God.
“I've learned in my life is to trust God in my finances,” she concluded. “Look at me now. I’m thriving. If He did it for me, He can do it for you. Stand on His word. Give and just watch God move in your life like never before. You will be amazed!”
Every day, Dular walks four miles to get drinking water for her family.
Dular explained, “The water from the stream is dirty, so I dig a little hole and wait for it to fill with water, then I strain it through some cloth into my water pot. It takes about one and half hours to fill the pot. Then I must walk all the way back home with it."
Dular’s family is poor, part of one of the lowest castes in their society. Discrimination against them permeates every aspect of their lives, even having access to water.
Dular said, “I used to go to an open well to fetch water, but people there dumped out my water vessel, and told me never to come back. That’s when I started going to the river. At the time, I was pregnant. Later, I had to carry my baby with one hand and use my other hand to balance the water pot on my head. It was very difficult.”
The desperate family dug their own open pit well. Dular said, “The water was very bad for us, and would get frogs and insects in it. It made our children very sick.”
Dular’s family are faithful Christians, so they turned to prayer. “In the midst of our crisis, we begged God for clean drinking water,” said Dular.
Their prayers were answered through the local church and Operation Blessing’s Clean Water program. When a pastor told us about the family’s dire need for water, we dug a well near their home, and brought hope to Dular’s family and their village.
“We were all filled with joy, especially the children. What a wonderful gift from God,” exclaimed Dular. “The whole village celebrated, and this well became a symbol of unity among us. No one is discriminated against here. All have access to this well.”
The Operation Blessing team also taught people about sanitation and prevention of waterborne diseases.
Dular said, “We work together to keep our homes and the area around the well clean and safe. Now my children and our animals drink pristine water, untouched by illness. And the water is so close to my home I have plenty of time to work around the house. My heartfelt gratitude goes out to all who made this gift possible. May God bless you abundantly.”
CBN’s impact around the world
Daily prayers for people across the country
CBN’s prayer team prayed with over 1.2 million callers in 2022 alone, while also praying with people through email, social media channels, live chat on the website, and written correspondence.
Highlighting testimonies of God’s faithfulness
Vida Dura or “Hard Life” stories are sourced throughout Latin America and produced in Spanish to reach a region with testimonies of people who hit rock bottom and turn to God for change. CBN has a prayer center in Latin America to support people through prayer and faith resources.
Serving in the wake of natural disasters
CBN's Operation Blessing was on the ground quickly in the wake of the devastating earthquakes in Turkey, providing much-needed food, relief supplies, and medical aid. After large-scale natural disasters, Operation Blessing strives to be the first to arrive, and the last to leave, tending to the needs long after the news cameras leave.
Ukraine and Poland
For 30 years, CBN has been serving the people of Ukraine
Through CBN’s Orphan’s Promise and Operation Blessing, we were able to quickly provide valuable resources soon after the conflict began, and we continue to support Ukrainian refugees.
Projected 135 million* watched a CBN program in 2022
CBN partners are reaching children around the world with the Gospel of Jesus through Superbook, a Bible-based animation series. In 2022 alone, children in 139 countries watched at least one episode of Superbook.
Bible Reading for the Day
Read or listen to today's Old and New Testament Bible readings. Each day is portioned to give the entire Bible to you in a year. Start anytime. Scroll forward or backward if you miss any days or want to get ahead.