When Ed Peters* was a young man in his first job, earning $15.00 per week, his wages came in the form of cash in an envelope. He would watch another worker open his envelope and say, as he took out the first bill, “This is for God”, before setting aside other amounts for household expenses and savings.
“Watching that man divide up his pay made more of an impression on me than all the stewardship sermons I’ve heard in the years since,” said Ed.
When they were in their late 80s, Ed and his wife Clara, both of whom have passed away, concluded a transaction that created a large immediate gift to Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR). Using a substantial part of their life savings, they entered into a gift annuity agreement with the help of Lutheran Planned Giving. What remained after the gift to CLWR was used to purchase a joint annuity. That meant that monthly payments continued as long as either one of them was alive, ensuring them sufficient income to cover their expenses.
A life-long legacy of giving
After they married, The Peters’ lived in the small southern Ontario city where Ed was raised. At the time, the Lutheran congregation in town worshipped in a house. When the pastor began collecting money to construct a new church building, they gave him $100, which was about what Ed earned in month. Afterwards the pastor returned $50, recalled Ed, saying to them that “he didn’t feel it was right that one couple carried such a big share of the load.”
Shortly thereafter the Peters’ moved to a larger city and attended church there. That pastor encouraged the congregation to support his “miracle of the month”—through donations to support an overseas project.
“One month we were digging wells in Africa, the next month it was buying uniforms for school children in Japan,” said Ed. “I can remember people lining up after worship to see the pastor and make their donation.”
Long-time support for CLWR
Asked why they chose to support CLWR, Clara said: “Ed always said he was going to give his money to feed hungry children.” The Peters’ visited more than 40 countries over the years and had vivid memories of the deprivation they saw in many parts of the globe. At the end of each year, there was always a special gift for CLWR.
“God has been good to us. We’ve always had enough money. We’ve been so lucky, but it’s not really luck. God has a plan for everyone on this earth,” said Ed. “I can’t take any of the credit for what I’ve done. It’s like the Bible says, ‘give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.’”
Ed and Clara declined to have their picture taken for this story. In fact, they wouldn’t allow their real names to be used. But they did want other people to know how they felt about their decision to make a planned gift to CLWR.
Shared with permission by the Evangelical Lutheran Foundation of Eastern Canada
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*Names have been changed
Photo: In refugee settlements in northern Uganda, your support provides South Sudanese items with much needed items like blankets and jerry cans to gather water. Employment training offers refugees with new skills and opportunities to earn an income.