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Biblical Truth, Lasting Change: Fe y Finanzas

“Antonia, we think of you now when we go in the store and start to buy something. We ask ourselves, ‘Is this a need or a desire?’”

In 2013, Antonia Alzate led a field test of Fe y Finanzas, the Spanish-language version of the Chalmers Center’s Faith & Finances program. “I saw the need in our families who didn’t know how to manage their money,” explains Alzate, who previously worked across Central and South America with missions organizations YWAM and Habitat for Humanity. “I wanted to help teach values and biblical principles in practical ways.”

Alzate has served at LINC-North Texas as a family and education specialist since 2012. As part of LINC’s church planting and community transformation process, Alzate and her husband, Beto, lead Bible studies and parenting classes. Families from the school and apartment complex where they held these classes were invited to participate in Fe y Finanzas.

Because of their existing relationships with Antonia and Beto, the families committed and followed through with the program. Each week, participants gathered to fellowship with one another, study Scripture, and learn money management skills. Alzate’s sensitivity to her friends in the class allowed her to alter the pace for various levels of literacy and provide extra visuals as teaching aids.

The class ended in November, but Alzate has heard a wealth of encouraging reports from the graduates of the program. During the first weeks of 2014, she held a reunion to hear updates from the participants. Many shared that the classes still impacted their daily lives.

One woman with a large shoe collection often could not pay her bills before the class. After the class, she began saving money by taking a different route home so as to avoid her favorite shoe store. She also started waking earlier to prepare lunches rather than paying to eat out. She can now pay her bills in a timely fashion.

Several single women and couples continued monitoring expenses, budgeting, saving their money, and repairing their credit. One family is even pursuing a home purchase. Other families reported that the class completely changed their Christmas spending habits, noting that including their children on conversations about the family’s financial goals and budget had resulted in new behaviors. Rather than demanding things they wanted their parents to buy them, children asked, “Is it possible to get…?”

Alzate continues to lead Fe y Finanzas classes in her community, pointing participants to Christ and empowering them with practical financial skills. In addition to her local students, others around the country can now learn from her. Alzate is a certified Lead Trainer, preparing more church and ministry leaders to walk alongside people in their own communities.

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