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When Financial Problems Seem Insurmountable

Tom and Sonia are CBN partners. Sonia is a teacher and Tom is the owner of a company called “Fish Houses by Tom” which specializes in building trailers used on frozen lakes for ice fishing. They’re successful now, but when they were first married, they struggled to eke out a living. Tom recalls, “It was pretty tough financially. You know, we didn’t really have careers or anything. There just wasn't really good paying jobs for someone 19-20 years old with no skills.”

Sonia said, “Both of us were backslidden Christians when we got married. Probably four years into the marriage that I recommitted and it was because of our kids. I realized that we really needed Jesus.” Soon after, Sonia started tithing to her church. She continues, “When you tithe 10%, you can do more with 90% than you can with the full 100. Because the Lord delivered me from smoking and drinking and basically I would take what I used, smoking and drinking, and gave it to the Lord.”

Tom grew concerned. He recalls, “We don’t have money to eat. How can you give them money? That ain’t gonna work. We need the money for ourselves.”  Soon after this, Tom started a sheetrock business.  Over the next several years, the couple’s finances improved. Then in 2003, Tom was diagnosed with cancer and couldn’t work anymore. Sonia remembers, “We lost everything. We lost the house, he lost his business, he lost his health. And it was really a struggle. It was really hard.”

To make matters worse, the IRS told the Eizenhoefer’s that they owed over  $40,000 in back taxes and penalties. Sonia remembers, “Even though I knew God was faithful and would help, I just didn’t see a way out of it.”

For years, the IRS garnished their wages.  But even with their limited income, Sonia refused to stop tithing.  She believed God would provide for them. Tom recalls, “She’s still wanting to give money to the church. And I’m like you’ve got to be crazy. We can’t do this. We can’t do this. I don't know how we can do this.”

Then one day in 2010, the couple got another letter from the IRS. Tom remembers, “They were done garnishing, they were done taking money. We were paid up. And it was early.” Even more surprising, the IRS sent them a check. Tom thought there must be some mistake. He recalls, “I actually went to the IRS office and talked to them about it and they’re like, you’re free and clear, you guys paid too much money now and you get this back. And I’m sitting in the IRS office talking to this guy, just tears just rolling.” Sonia also remembers, “And so we just saw miracles come in all the time because we would need them.”

Seeing what God did for the family, Tom rededicated his life as well. By this point, he was well enough to work again.  And so, he prayed for direction. Tom said, “I just bowed my head and I was just crying and just asking what do you want me to do Lord?  And I just felt this feeling, peace or rush or whatever you want to call it. ‘You’re a builder, Tom. I created you to build’.”

And so, Tom decided to combine two of his passions: building things and fishing.

He entered the business of making tailor-made fish houses and “Fish Houses by Tom” was born. He put the first one on “Craigslist” and sold it immediately. Tom recalls, “The first year we started building, it just was nuts. I mean, it was just insane, it just went crazy. Orders just poured in.”

Today, business is thriving, and customers know with Tom, they’re getting top-quality craftsmanship; and Tom is quick to give God all the credit. Tom said, “I mean we had nothing. And for it all just to boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, fall into place like dominoes, it had to be spirit-led. I mean, there’s no other way to explain it.”

Nowadays, Tom and Sonia don’t worry about finances and they’re excited to partner with CBN. Sonia says, “They’re shining light, they’re spreading the Gospel, they’re helping. And so it’s just really neat to see how they reach out to other people that are very desperate.”  Tom and Sonia love to share how God blesses them when they put their trust in Him. Tom believes, “If you're not sure about tithing and you don’t think it’s the right thing to do, all I can say is try. I mean, just test Him.”

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