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Family prays for a living

April 12, 1997


Staff Writer

SCOTLAND, Pa. - Many middle class families get by week-to-week, paycheck-to-paycheck. The Ozment family gets by prayer-to-prayer.

David Ozment, 34, lost his job with a local company last year. His jobless benefits have long since run out yet the family manages to pay its $520-a-month mortgage and nearly $1,500 in other monthly bills.

Their money comes from unsolicited donations from members of their church and out of the blue from strangers, wife Kathy Ozment said. Sometimes it just shows up in the mail, she said.

"God provides for us," she said. "He is our employer. When we need money we put our bills on the table and he provides for us," said Ozment, 35, mother to twin girls Adria and Tiffany, and 2-year-old Nathan.


The Rev. Galen Lehman, pastor of the Living Faith Church in northern Franklin County, where the Ozments worship, supports their story. Lehman said he married the couple.

"I consider them to be level-headed, transparent, spiritual and truthful," Lehman said of the couple. "They are living what we call a walk of faith. Theirs is a supernatural faith. They trust in God and he provides for them," he said.

"They don't ask for money," Lehman said. "There are people in the church who know they are unemployed and have helped them. Others have helped them with money too. God has singled them out for supernatural faith. He provides for them," he said.

Kathy Ozment said her family qualifies for welfare, but won't accept it. The family also will not take Medicaid or food stamps. "We have no health insurance, but we trust in God and pray for his provision.," she said. "God will take care of us."

Lehman said the couple has testified in church that their lifestyle is not for everyone, but that it works for them.

"Churches used to help the needy then they gave up that responsibility to the state," Kathy Ozment said. "We're pioneers. We're not depending on the government. We're depending on God."

The Ozments own a neatly kept, well-furnished home on Main Street in Scotland. Their radio is tuned to a religious station. They don't have a television. The family's aging, cream-colored Oldsmobile sedan sits in the driveway.

Kathy teaches her girls at home. David said the family was given a computer that needed very little work that he uses every day in his volunteer work for the church.

Whenever the family needs anything - money for food or groceries, to pay the mortgage or other family expenses - they pray.

She speaks of the time last fall when the cupboard was bare and the mortgage was due. "A woman we know sent us $400 because she learned of our need through God," she said.

On Easter, the couple wanted to go to Florida for two weeks to attend a ministry training school. Their church, the Living Faith Chapel, gave them $500. The other $1,500 they needed came from individual donations from church members. "That was the amount we prayed for," she said.

"Sometimes when there was no food I'd get a job cleaning someone's house," she said.

Earlier this year an elderly woman asked her to clean her house. "I'd usually charge $20, but I cleaned her house for nothing even though I needed the money," Kathy Ozment said. "I felt I needed to bless her with my gift. My own need was bigger than that. I needed $400 or $500 to pay my bills. When I came home that afternoon a friend came by and said I want to bless you with some groceries. She brought $400 in cash," she said.

Another time she found $500 in cash in a purple envelope mailed to her address. She said she still doesn't know who sent it. "But it was the amount we needed, the amount we prayed for," she said.

Kathy Ozment said she grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the oldest child. She helped to care for her siblings until she left home at 16 to live with her grandmother in Florida. She said there were problems at home.

Not long after she said she turned wild and stayed that way until she "found God" at age 23. During those years in between she turned to alcohol, drugs, men, even stealing. She hitchhiked her way around. She married when she was 20 but divorced a year later. "I couldn't commit to anything in those days so I left him," she said. Several live-in boyfriends followed, she said.

She said she did a lot of "things" to stay alive.

She was dropped off at a restaurant in Randolph, Vt., by a trucker. By then she said she was tired of running.

"I went inside the restaurant to see if anyone knew if there was a priest anywhere around," she said. She was introduced to an Assembly of God pastor and his wife who took her in. They referred her to Teen Challenge, a Christian-based rehabilitation program for young people in trouble. She moved into a group home in Massachusetts.

David Ozment grew up in rural Virginia. He went to the same military school where his father taught. He later worked as a technician.

Deeply religious, David started working in ministries and traveled where he felt he was needed. He went to New York City and discovered Kathy working in the kitchen of the New York School of Urban Ministry in Queens. That was June 30, 1986. They were engaged three days later and married a year later in August 1987 in Shippensburg, Pa. They moved to Scotland, "because God wanted us to," Kathy said.

Their future could be a business of their own or their own ministry, "whatever God wants us to do," Kathy said.

But first, it looks like more praying could be in order.

"It looks like another time is coming when we have to put our bills on the table and pray," Kathy said. "We paid the mortgage on April 1. I don't know about the May payment yet, but I'm not worried," she said.

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