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Cheryl Wilcox - 700 Club Producer

As owners of two thriving pre-schools, Richard and Melanie Reilly are devoted to educating the next generation.

“It just makes me feel lighthearted,” says Melanie.  “It gives me a lot of joy.” 

“From the first day we opened, we always had a backlog,” Richard remembers.  “We had a waiting list. The school systems even came to evaluate us because the kids were coming into the kindergarten already knowing the lessons.”

But in 2008, the economy crashed and enrollment dropped significantly.

“We went from the first time having waiting lists trying to place children to all of a sudden now we were dropping to 80% capacity, 70% capacity,” explains Richard. And once you pass 70% capacity, now you're in the red. And we went down to 50% capacity.”

To keep the schools going, the Reillys stopped taking a salary.  In order to pay their staff, Richard and Melanie dipped into their savings.

Melanie says, “We didn't believe that someone else should have to go on unemployment and not have a job, not be able to provide fully for their families.”

After a couple of years, their money was running out and they were desperate for solutions.

“When you realize that you don't even know where the next dollar is coming from, you realize that the only thing that matters is that the Lord is going to take care of you,” Richard shares.

While money was tight, the Reillys continued giving to their church and to CBN.  Richard and Melanie have been CBN partners for over 40 years and love the work CBN does.

“You know, to go in a community of people who have basically nothing and build homes for them and give them water, give them a way to make a business work, selling chickens or milk or whatever that's just amazing to me,” says Melanie.

They believe God rewarded their faithfulness because they were able to make payroll and keep their schools open.  Then in 2010, Richard got a surprise job offer from an old friend.  He thrived, and that gave the Reillys the boost they needed to get through the tough times.

Says Richard, “So it's turned into a blessing and we’re all doing well.”

Today, Richard is a senior vice president at his company.  Melanie is still running the schools, which are back to full capacity. Together, they encourage everyone to give.

“Tithing is the gift which will bring and bless you with everything that you’re going to do,” Richard explains.  “You have to show appreciation to the Lord.”

I just know that giving works, adds Melanie. “If you can entrust God with your wealth, then you can entrust Him with anything in your life.” 

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