I preach quite regularly in Grand Rapids Free Reformed Church, and have come to know and love many of God’s dear people there. Among them are Dave and Heidi Pronk, who have a child with special needs. Heidi shared a moving story with me this week, and I asked her to write it up for this blog post.  

Our eight year old son was born with a genetic disease causing various physical and cognitive impairments; this diagnosis was followed by a stroke in infancy.  God has been very gracious over the years and he has been able to enjoy the benefits of a regular classroom at a small Christian school albeit with some extra assistance. Our son’s class has just 18 children in it but it is a remarkable group. There is a bright little girl who was born deaf, a quiet boy born severely prematurely with global delays, a tender boy adopted from a Chinese orphanage with a cleft lip and palate, and a girl who was born with all of her intestines outside of her body (gastroschisis). Several of the children have speech and language challenges, several have learning disabilities, and a couple of them struggle with physical problems but each of them are living testimonies to an extraordinary Providence. This is a very special, compassionate group of kids. They’ve had an instructional aide in their classroom since they started together in Kindergarten and several of them also use special education services to accommodate learning challenges.    

The school, desiring to be good stewards and faced with extreme financial shortages (due largely to the number of families hit by unemployment or underemployment in the last couple years), was faced with very difficult decisions. Two days before the school year ended the administration terminated the position of both the classroom aide and the special education teacher. This was devastating. These two ladies have worked so hard and spent so much time sacrificially meeting the needs of these children; the gains the children have made are amazing. They have flourished under the encouragement and instruction given them. When we learned of the decision, we called some of the other parents and started to pray – fervently. We also started investigating what it would take financially to re-hire the special education teacher part time for the next year so that some services would be available. We were told it would take about $15,000.

Two days later, on the last day of school after nearly everyone had left, I was standing in the hallway talking to their current teacher, the teacher for next year, and the special education teacher (who’s position was eliminated). We were discussing the needs of the school and the needs of the children. I said “This is a really difficult situation but I am not afraid because I know that we serve a God of limitless power and creativity. If He can part the Red Sea, feed the 5,000, and raise the dead then He can make provision for these little ones.” 

No sooner were the words out of my mouth than another mother came running through the doors and cried out “Someone just approached my car in the parking lot and said they were going to write a check for $5,000 for special education at Freedom Christian today!” We all stood there stunned for a moment (and then I started to cry.)   Faith as a grain of mustard seed blessed with a mountain of mercy! We still have $10,000 to raise but it doesn’t seem so hard now. God has already started to make provision. We know that He doesn’t just give us trials to test our faith but to increase it, so that in the end, He may receive all the glory.     

2  Cor. 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

  • Meagan

    What a wonderful story of God’s provision!

  • Robert Turner

    My family and I are going through a really challenging financial time, and this testimony gives me great encouragement that our God will meet all of our needs according to the riches in Christ Jesus. Thank you for sharing.

  • Aileen

    I love this story! As God takes care of the lilies of the feild and the birds of the air, won’t He take care of our little ones? (“O, you (or us), of little faith?”)

  • Sonia

    I love this story and we love the Pronk family! We definitely have seen God’s hand in their life.