Why I Give – Carl and Jan Peterson
The Petersons have come a long way from saving pennies for postage stamps. Through years of humble living, saving, paying off debt, tithing and listening to God’s direction as they transitioned between jobs, Carl and Jan Peterson are now in a position to give extravagantly.
“We basically started with nothing and saw how God blessed us,” Carl says. “We understand that God owns it all. Out of the abundance we have now, we cheerfully give to support the work of proclaiming the Gospel.”
At multiple points in his career, Carl found himself without a job: “The first time I lost my job was probably the first time our faith was tested … we had a sick baby, no jobs and no health care,” Carl says. At another time, both Carl and Jan were laid off on the same day. “We both got unemployment checks and tithed from those,” Carl says. Soon, however, God provided jobs, and the Petersons were able to increase their giving again. “God was always faithful,” Jan says.
Over the past few years, the Petersons’ income has outpaced their needs. So, they decided to give more to Kingdom work. The Petersons have used a donor advised fund and IRA charitable rollovers through WatersEdge to give to ministries including their local church, Mission:Dignity, Pre-Born!, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children and The Spring (formerly known as Dayspring Villa).
In 2019, the Petersons were inspired by a book about generational giving and decided to start meeting with their children annually to determine which ministries their family will support. When Jan’s brother passed earlier this year, the Petersons inherited $200,000 — $200,000 they are excited to use to create an endowment through WatersEdge.
Endowment is attractive to the Petersons because they know what it’s like to watch something grow. Every year, Carl puts hours of work into his vegetable garden, and Jan preserves what God grows throughout the summer. Endowment invests gifts for long-term growth while making annual payments to charitable causes. With wise management, an endowment’s market value grows over time, multiplying distributions. What’s more, the Petersons’ children and grandchildren can continue giving to the endowment and watch it grow generation after generation.
“God has given to us over and over again,” Jan says. Carl adds, “We want other people to give because of the joy we’ve experienced from giving. That’s what we’re doing with our family; we hope that future generations will continue to give back.”