After my husband lost his job, we were afraid of losing everything. Then he got really sick and was sent to Baptist Hospital. When the hospital bill came, we didn’t know what to do,” said Carol Trujillo Ibarra of Rockingham County.
Her husband, Julio, had worked for years at the same company when layoffs hit. They spent their savings to make ends meet and were facing possible financial ruin.
While Julio recovered physically, their mental anguish continued under the unrelenting pressures. They “fell between the cracks” of assistance, having too much to qualify for government help or charity care, but not enough to pay the hospital bill. Caught in a frightening bind, they turned to God in prayer.
“Christ saw their needs and lifted their burden through the compassion of North Carolina Baptists,” said Paul Mullen, director of church and community relations at Baptist Hospital. “I sent them a letter saying, ‘Your hospital bill has been paid by compassionate and mission-minded North Carolina Baptists in the name of Jesus Christ and His love.’”
Carol Ibarra wept tears of relief. “The Mother’s Day Offering made all the difference in the world. I could sleep again. God was looking after us, and we could never say thank you enough. It meant everything,” she said.
Julio reflected on the seeds of faith planted in his heart. “We thank North Carolina Baptists for paying my hospital bill. We had no job or money. My wife had faith but I didn’t. She said with Christ that everything is possible. We prayed about how we could pay this bill. I wasn’t raised a Christian. But now I know that if you trust God, everything is possible. The people who give show lots of us that God is real and not someone of the past.”
Daniel and Nichol Lancaster from Statesville experienced the same reality of God’s love through the generosity of North Carolina Baptists.
“When our three-year-old baby, Joshua, was diagnosed with leukemia, it tore our world apart,” Nichol said.
With their lives shattered, they took Joshua to Baptist Hospital. “The people we met at Baptist were so compassionate.” Nichol said. “Joshua responded well to the chemotherapy. We knew this was God at work and he was being healed.”
While tremendously thankful for Joshua’s recovery, other fears materialized.
Their hours at work were sharply reduced with the slow economy and the need to provide for Joshua’s care. The hospital bill arrived on top of a growing stack of bills, and the pressure was immense.
“Being out of work, not having insurance, with all those bills — that was the second biggest worry next to Joshua’s diagnosis.”
When they learned that the Mother’s Day Offering helped pay the hospital bill, they clearly saw the hand of Christ’s compassion. “I just cried,” Nichol said. “God’s hand has been with us and we are so thankful. This has taken our relationship with Christ to a whole new level. We will be forever grateful to God for Baptist Hospital and the Mother’s Day Offering.”
Mullen added, “I sincerely thank North Carolina Baptists on behalf of these families and hundreds of others just like them.”
The Lancaster’s story can be seen at www.mothersdayoffering.org. Offering materials were mailed to every N.C. Baptist church. They can be obtained by calling (336) 716-3027.