When we came inside the building, we were assigned a person to be and a family that we would be part of. I was Ben, 42 years old with 3 kids. My 16 year old daughter was 7 months pregnant and I had lost my job as a computer programmer 2 months ago. My wife was working as a receptionist for a hospital for $9 an hour. We had bills. Nothing more than what most people have--car payment, student loans, mortgage, credit card bill, utilities, etc. Oh, and don't forget we needed food, school supplies, new clothes and the gas to get us everywhere!
When I got my role card and read the amount of money we made and the amount we had to pay compared to how much my wife was bringing in, it was clear we weren't going to make everything work. We had to sell some of our belongings. My 16 year old pregnant daughter had to stay out of school to help me go to all the places to make payments since of course internet service was one of the things that had to go! I had to stand in line everywhere and wait to take care of things. There just wasn't enough time for it all to get done. I was rushing from place to place and the people weren't always very friendly. I found it so hard to go from one place to another, that the idea of sparing time and gas to go "get help" wasn't the top priority. In addition to the daily things that had to be taken care of, you would get dealt kind of like "chance" cards in Monopoly. Like the car broke down, or a family member sent you some money.
Anyhow, the reason we did this was to see what it might be like to be down on our luck. I was only in that situation for an hour and it was exhausting. I can only imagine why parents don't come to the parent teacher conferences, or why some students come to school dirty, hungry, without homework done or falling asleep. It was such a moving experience and I'm glad I got to be part of it. You can click here to go to the website for the place that put this activity on for us: Center of Hope. I am so grateful for God's grace on my family and how even when things have been tight, he's brought us through it.