Trent and Melanie Blair
In 2006, Trent and Melanie Blair were preparing to relocate to Hawaii. After 20 years in the U.S. Navy, Trent was excited to accept this location as his last duty station. Unfortunately, just weeks after the Blairs moved there, Trent was redirected to a base in Virginia for six months. Because it was such a short-lived station, they decided Melanie would stay in Hawaii to build seniority with her employer.
Melanie met some great people during her stay in Hawaii. She started going to church with them. They became her “Ohana,” Hawaiian for “family.” Looking back, she realized God had put them in her path with perfect timing! Melanie didn’t understand what it meant to have a personal relationship with God, but she felt loved at her new found church. She was at peace with her new family and felt she could make it through her time separated from her husband.
However, Trent experienced different circumstances. His work environment became increasingly depressing. Trent was surrounded by conditions that led to his shipmates attempting suicide while others intentionally did things to get dismissed from the Navy. During that time, Trent felt that he had nowhere to turn. What was supposed to be a six month duty station turned into a long two years. This eventually took it’s toll on Trent and Melanie’s relationship.
In 2008, Trent retired from the U.S. Navy, he’d had enough. He no longer wanted to move back to Hawaii. He accepted a job where he would make less than what he made in the Navy. Despite the decrease in pay, Trent was allowed to choose his place of residence, on the U.S. mainland, as long as he was close to an international airport. Melanie put in her resignation and made arrangements to meet Trent in Virginia. She worried that they wouldn’t be able to make ends meet without her income, but she knew the best thing was to trust in the Lord.
God always had a plan to supply all of their needs. A few days before Melanie was scheduled to leave Hawaii, her boss asked her to take her computer and give telecommuting a try. This was direct opposition to company policy. Melanie says, “God worked it out, I was able to keep the job I love and we weren’t going to lose my salary! I would also get to take an annual visit to Hawaii and be able to see my Hawaiian family!”
The Blair’s chose RDU as the international airport they’d be moving near. They joked about the arbitrary choice to move here, likening it to a blindfolded dart toss. Unbeknown to her, Melanie’s sister, whom she had not spoken with in a number of years, had just moved to Wake Forest. Melanie’s sister graciously allowed them to stay with her until they found a place. “God knew exactly what he was doing.” Melanie says. “He helped me so much by healing the relationship with my sister since moving to the area.”
They attended their first Living Word service on January 4, 2009. The same day that Trent accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of his life, also the day before starting his new job.
A few months after the Blairs began attending Living Word, the church began the new year of the Upgrade Campaign. Although Melanie and Trent were still trying to make their budget work with Trent’s decrease in salary, they felt strongly about the Upgrade. They remembered when they had been one of “those people” that did not know the Living Word building housed a church. So Melanie and Trent emptied out their checking account and set that amount as their monthly commitment.
In January 2010, Melanie was informed that her work contract was being renewed but she wasn’t eligible for a pay increase. Trent was not eligible for a pay increase either since he had only been with his company for a year. Despite neither of them being eligible for a pay increase, they were thankful they both had jobs that they really enjoyed!
When the Living Word Upgrade Campaign started for 2010, Pastor Steve used an illustration of a rubber band pulled across the stage, signifying the congregation stretching themselves. It made such an impression on the Blairs that they prayed for the Holy Spirit to help them stretch further this year. Neither Melanie or Trent heard from the Holy Spirit the amount to commit. The time was drawing nearer for them to submit their pledge card. So the Blairs decided to increase their giving to the next level from what they had given the previous year.
The night before the congregation was supposed to submit their pledge cards, the Blairs prayed again and completed their pledge card. Melanie remembers, “The Holy Spirit told us that WE could do our pledged amount so we weren’t stretching ourselves but the number He gave us was beyond any stretch we could imagine. It was more than triple the amount we had planned to give. Determined to be obedient, we wrote out the new pledge card, knowing that God was the only one who could make that amount happen”.
The week after Melanie and Trent turned in their pledge, Melanie’s boss called to tell her that he changed her job title which meant she would be receiving a pay raise and a cash bonus! Trent also received a pay raise! Together, the Blairs received a combined increase that is almost equal to their pledge! Melanie states, “God has more than provided for us to build His house!”