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On the Road to Responsible Financial Stewardship

September 14, 2015

by Gary and Chelsea Topolewski

Hello to you all. We are the Topolewski family. We have two boys, Carter and Jasper, and our third baby will arrive in February. We’ve been attending Midland Free for nune years. Chelsea is the Early Childhood Coordinator with Children’s Ministries at Midland Free and Gary is an usher. We  have been involved in other ministries as well. We have attended a Small Church, Life Group, and taken several classes offered over the last few years.  Today, we’d like to tell you about the most applicable and significant class we’ve experienced at Midland Free.

A couple of years ago Chelsea saw a bulletin announcement about Financial Peace University. She immediately rolled her eyes and thought, “Oh no. It’s arrived here in Midland.” See, friends of Chelsea’s from college went through the class at their church in Texas and just raved about how life changing it was. They went on and on via Facebook and emails.  “Dave Ramsey is a genius. Dave Ramsey’s plan is easy to implement once you commit.  Jump on the debt-free train  It will be a wild ride!” Various situations over the course of a couple of years before this had led us into deep debt, often spawning some of our most passionate fights…I mean, discussions. Chelsea sort of nudged Gary and pointed. He shrugged his shoulders and continued to listen as the sermon began.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and there we were…sitting at a round table waiting for Financial Peace University to begin. As Linton Phillips facilitated the class and we got to know him and others within the group, it was kind of a relief to know that we weren’t alone. Our passionate discussions became more productive and focused as each week of the class passed. We were able to start on step one, which is to save a small emergency fund of $1000. It was a sacrifice and it was hard. We prayed for wisdom and discernment about where to cut things in our budget in order to save this money. No more Coffee Chaos, a total bummer. No more visits to the gym for a while, another disappointment. We were about halfway through step one and almost all the way through our 9-week class when we experienced firsthand why an emergency fund is necessary.  Seriously?! Our dryer stopped spinning. Not using a credit card and definitely not having enough regularly budgeted cash on hand, we had to use some of our emergency fund to fix the dryer. We grumbled and groaned about taking the money out. I mean, we had LITERALLY scraped the bottom of the barrel to save that money in the first place. But once the deed was done and our dryer was back up and running, it was the first time in a long time we breathed deeply. We were simply able to fix it. No fighting, no juggling bills around or not paying a bill to deal with the emergency. We were caught off guard but were prepared.

This year has brought financial trials for us with Gary making a career chang.e  It isn’t just about money, though. It is a lifestyle change, forcing you to re-think all areas of our life. We don’t have it all figured out and certainly are not debt free…yet. So, we’re trying to work our Sunday schedules out in order to repeat the class  It would be great to see some of you there. Regardless of your financial situation or lifestyle, Financial Peace University is a great way to start or continue on the road to responsible financial stewardship.

>>Link to sign-up for Sunday Financial Peace University Class

>>Link to sign-up for Wednesday Financial Peace University Class

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