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The 700 Club

Life Was a Dream Until a Shocking Diagnosis and $84,000 Debt. How Will They Survive?

Caleb Wood - 700 Club Producer
Zsa Zsa Palagyi - 700 Club Producer

“I was interviewing for a project and the owner of the business said, ‘You’re like a red Ferrari on the highway. You can write your own ticket, can write your own pass,” recalls Luis Medina.

Luis was a successful, self-taught I.T. contractor. He made six figures and bought everything he, his wife Yvette and two children wanted.

He admits, “It felt really good knowing that I could go anywhere in the industry, and so I began to buy cars, BMW's, every model you can imagine back then I bought. My wife had a Mercedes, an Infinity. I got caught up in my job. At the same time, we were slowly drifting away from the church.”  

Spending got even more out of hand when the couple, on the advice of a bank representative, switched from using cash to credit cards.  

Yvette explains, “The gentleman’s, ‘In order to build credit, you need to have a credit card’, and then we maxed that credit card out, ‘Oh we’ll get another one.’”

Ultimately, the Medinas couldn’t keep up with their monthly bills. 

“And I was always thinking, ‘Geez, why – he makes such good money – why are we always, it seems like we never end up with anything?’” says Yvette.

“We weren’t good stewards of our money,” Luis adds. “It’s like a sewer pipe if you're not careful. It starts to leak, but eventually it's just going to bust. And then it's going to seep into everything, even my health.”   

Luis was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cirrhosis. It shocked him since he worked-out and didn’t drink alcohol. Doctors said all of his organs would likely shut down, and he’d die. The couple drained all of their savings and still ended up with over $84,000 of debt. It was a wake-up call for both Luis and Yvette.

Luis weeps, “I said, ‘I'm about to potentially face a holy God,’ and there was shame. I felt like I hadn’t lived up to who I should have been as a believer.”

Yvette tearfully contributes, “I had my moments where it was just like ‘God! I want my husband.’ I wanted to grow old with him. Luis has always been the provider but God gave me like a peace. It's like He reminded me, ‘Luis isn't your provider, I'm your provider.’" 

So, during this crisis, the couple stopped putting their confidence in paychecks and their possessions and chose to return to God, to church, and to tithing.

“It brought us to a point where it was just, ‘I surrender my pride. I surrender my money. It's not my money to begin with, it's yours,’” says Luis. He continues, “We just began to study His word and stand on His promises. And tithing was just – we just did that out of obedience.” 

“The focus wasn’t on how we were going to make the money,” Yvette shares, “It was just depending on God.”

Luis adds, “Man, we just began to see God's hand move.”

Luis underwent 35 surgeries in 15 months. The Medinas continued giving throughout that time, and Luis eventually recovered from his sickness--allowing him to once again enjoy life with Yvette and their grown kids. Then, within a year and a half, they paid off their $84,000 debt.

Yvette smiles, “I could finally put on that spreadsheet ‘paid in full’ for all of our accounts. We cut up the credit cards.”

The hospital forgave a big portion of their medical bills. And Luis started a family-owned I.T. business with his son that’s been doing well even during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Luis says with confidence, “It feels so liberating. We have our priorities straight now. Number one is God.”

Now instead of buying things for themselves, they prefer to give to others through ministries like CBN.

Yvette explains, “We love donating to orphans and widows. You look at people differently. There’s so much love. It's not about you. It's like, ‘What can I do for somebody else?’”

“Life does not consist of abundance and things you possess,” Luis says. He concludes, “And that peace that I thought I could get with another 740, or a 7 – 5 series, or a Mercedes, you just can't buy it. You just can't buy it. It’s from God.”
 

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