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When Jackie met her future husband, Joe, she thought he was a rich cowboy. Turns out, he was a broke single dad on food stamps. He was barely making ends meet.
But God had big plans for this Billings, Montana, couple.
After they were married, Joe and Jackie had their first child together, Breckyn. She lived just 65 days.
"Through the entire pregnancy, we knew there was something wrong," says Jackie. "Her bones were small—they weren’t normal. We were very open with our story, just to get prayers, support and encouragement. You need all that when you’re going through a tough time. We were very hopeful and very joyful."
During this short but precious time with their baby girl, a couple from Joe and Jackie’s church blessed them with a generous gift. It was a check to cover all their expenses while they spent time with Breckyn in the NICU.
They were beyond touched to have this "paid" time off to love on their baby. But they were baffled at how their friends could afford such generosity. So Joe and Jackie asked them.
Their answer was Financial Peace University. This generous couple was debt-free and able to help in whatever way they wanted. They felt called to give, and so they did.
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Later, when the couple coordinated an FPU class, they invited Joe and Jackie to join. During the class, Joe received a copy of Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money.
"I’m 45 years old now and I’ve never read a book [until] Complete Guide to Money," he says. "I took it to work and I read it. And it took me a few days, but I read it. It was the first book I finished. So I came home and I said, 'We’re going to do this.'"
And they did. They paid off more than $70,000 total and have since had another child—a little boy named Isaac.
"Since we’ve become debt-free, I’ve been able to stay home and be with Isaac and take care of him," says Jackie. "No one else has to raise him—we are."
Now that they’re completely debt-free, Joe and Jackie are also passionate about helping other families with babies in the NICU. Their hope is to provide others with the same kind of comfort and generosity they received in their time of need. And they can’t wait to see where this new road leads them.
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