“Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonour the name of my God.” Proverbs 30:8-9
A Story in Numbers
As we approach the move to the new building it feels like we are finishing one chapter in our story and getting ready to start another. Looking back on the six years since we first started we can see so much evidence of God at work in our midst. A prime example is our financial story. When we started out in January 2012 we had exactly R8572 in the bank – less than half our monthly budget at the time.
Since then our budget has grown steadily to about R150 000 per month in 2017 as we have added children, teachers, resources and services every year. This year we have 75 learners from preschool to Grade 3 – the half way point to our long term aim of having 150 learners from preschool to Grade 7. We try not to think too much about what the monthly budget will be when we get there!
What you’ll notice in the graph – thanks to our committed and growing network of sponsors – is that our income has followed almost exactly the same path. We’ve never missed a salary payment or any other obligation, but we’ve also never had much to spare. In 2015 and 2017, where you see the biggest differences between income and budget, is where we have raised additional funds for buildings and renovations (which don’t form part of our normal operating budget).
Another way of understanding this is presented in the second graph. The orange area is our level of cash in hand – usually no more than a month or two’s worth. The blue area shows our non-cash assets – mainly our investment in the campus to accommodate the growing school. If the totals surprise you it may be helpful to consider the cost per child. Starting at about R1400 per month in 2012, we now spend about R2000 per child per month. The increase, as you can see in the graph, is mainly due to normal inflation. For comparison, that’s less than the school fees at a typical suburban public school, even though we do not receive government funding like public schools do.
Looking at the last six years, two lessons stand out. First, the Lord’s provision has been nothing short of miraculous. We’ve known since the very beginning that unless God provided, we would not have the resources to accomplish our vision. But now we are half way, and though there have been some very tight periods, we’ve always had what we needed. Second, God works through generous giving and prudent spending. So we are deeply grateful both for a team that has consistently striven to do as much as we can with what we have and for every sponsor who has contributed to TCC over the years. Every donation – whether regular or spontaneous, large or small – has helped create this place of learning and safety and joy for our learners and for all who will come after them.
In the year ahead our operating budget will increase again as we add Grade 4 and we will tackle a number of capital projects, such as developing a playground, sports field and additional classrooms. Please pray earnestly for ongoing provision as we enter the next chapter of this story!