My wife will no longer be working after April 15. She has been working about 20 hours a week part time but was recently informed that her position will be eliminated.
My wife has worked her entire adult life except for a brief period after our son Danny was born. Even then, she worked until the very day of his delivery. This wasn’t our intention. Our plan was for her to work up until 2 weeks before the delivery date. But her labor started 2 weeks early, on her last day at work. So she ended up working until the day he was born.
This is not a good time for her to stop working. Our church is in the middle of building project and we made a commitment to contribute to the building fund for 24 months. That commitment was made under the assumption that she would continue to work. There would be less strain on our budget if she were to work until the end of next year.
But I don’t resent Kelsey-Seybold’s decision to abolish her position. I’m actually grateful that they allowed her to work part time for so long. She was the only employee in the pharmacy department working part time. I am particularly grateful because they gave her the same health insurance coverage as they did for full time employees. She has had various health problems, but thankfully most of her medical expenses were covered.
Our biggest concern in regards to her unemployment wasn’t the reduced income; it was medical expenses. As you know, she received cancer treatment several years ago. About two years ago, a colonoscopy revealed cancerous tissue in the colon, which turned out to be the same kind she had before. Since then she has been taking four pills a day to control its growth. These pills are expensive but have been covered by her health insurance. Without coverage, we would have to pay for her drugs out of pocket and it would overload our budget.
When our board of deacons became aware of our situation, they decided to get insurance for my wife which provides the same level of coverage that she receives now. This insurance is offered to former Kelsey-Seybold employees for two years, although at a much higher premium.
I am grateful to my wife for working so hard and for so long. Because of her income I was able to quit my job as an engineer and enroll in seminary. Because of her income it was possible for me to temporarily maintain two households, one for myself in Houston and the other for the rest of my family in California, when I was first called to Seoul Baptist. Because of her income, it has been possible for me to offer to the church all the honorariums that come from my speaking engagements and to give to the Brenda Ro Memorial Mission Fund all my book royalties. Because of her income, it was possible for me to divert my yearly salary raise to other staff members for seven years until all our staff members’ salaries became equal.
I have been able to be generous in my giving and money has not become a snare for my ministry because my wife worked. I owe my ministry to her and am deeply grateful.
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