Many of you are aware of the forced removal of Dr. Sheri Klouda as professor of Hebrew from Southwestern Seminary because she is 'a woman in a position reserved for men.' It is my desire in this post to encourage those of you who read my blog to consider making a contribution to help Sheri and her family get through the summer months financially. A few of you were able to help a few months ago and we assisted the Kloudas in getting through the financial crises of having two house payments for six months, but the 2007 summer months have brought a new set of challenges for the Klouda family and this post is an appeal to help our sister in Christ. Our deacons at Emmanuel have officially established a benevolence fund to help the Klouda family, and any contribution to our church to assist the Kluodas will be collected, forwarded to them immediately and will be tax deductible. Details on where to send the support are at the end of this post.
As you know, the Kloudas moved to Dallas when she become Hebrew professor at Southwestern Theological Seminary to be near the hospital where Pinky requires repeated treatment for a severe heart condition. Sheri's job at Southwestern Seminary was her dream job, and her forced removal, and subsequent move to Upland, Indiana and Taylor University has brought a great deal of hardship on the Klouda family that we as Southern Baptists can help alleviate.
The Kloudas have several needs, some which are more urgent than others. While they were able to sell their home in Dallas in April, they were not able not recover any of the money they had put down on the house ($20,000). The Kloudas were forced to sell at a lower price in order to get out of the payment, and though they never intended to make a profit, they were hoping to recover some of the original down payment money to help supplement their income during this summer and to pay off some of the obligations left over from the winter months, including utility bills for January through March of about $900. The Kloudas are renting a home in Upland, Indiana, since buying another home is out of the question. In fact, Sheri borrowed additional money from her retirement during the first six months in Upland to make the house payments in Dallas.
The Kloudas biggest need is to recover financially to help them get by for at least these three summer months (June, July and August), particularly since it is possible Sheri's husband, Pinky, may have to have bypass surgery.
Pinky continues to work when there is work available, despite the need for further tests to determine the extent of his heart problems. His doctor recommended that he get a stress test as soon as possible because the doctor is extremely concerned he will have a heart attack, but this requires he take a day out of work, and possibly, lose his run to Shelbyville each day (Pinky is a truck driver).
In addition, the blood work from January and March alone left the Kloudas with a bill of $600 (after hospitalization), and they need to meet that obligation before incurring further debts to the hospital. The stress test will be covered in part by hospitalization, but the Kluodas will still have to pay a portion of the bill. Though the Kloudas have been grateful for somewhat steady work these last two months, the auto industry typically shuts down for two weeks during the summer and there will be no income during those two weeks, which is rapidly approaching. However, it is during this time that Pinky will be able to have the heart tests he needs if the money is available.
Pinky's current truck load to Shelbyville relies heavily on the schedules of GM, Chrysler, and Honda, which means the work will become sporadic throughout the summer, not including the two weeks stoppage. In addition, some of the auto makers are talking about a strike this coming September. Pinky is exhausted when he is home. He is also losing more feeling in his left hand and arm, and the neuropathy as a result of his diabetes continues to work up his legs. In years past, Dr. Klouda taught in the summer at Southwestern to supplement the Kloudas income, however, secondary hours are rare at Taylor University, where she now teaches. And of course, the salary is significantly lower.
Sheri told me she continues to look for a summer job to help out, but it seems a Hebrew professor is too qualified to work at McDonalds in Upland! In addition, there are many out of work people in Indiana due to factory closures who need those jobs.
Sheri continues to do a little editing and working on a prototype for an exegetical commentary on Isaiah, but that is long range work for which she will see no compensation for a year or so, and Abbey, the Kloudas 15 year old daughter, has been mowing lawns and babysitting so that she can go to summer camp. The Kloudas are involved in their church in Indiana, and Abbey is involved in the youth group at their church and helps Sheri in the church's ministry to unwed mothers in Marion, Indiana. I have spoken with the staff of the Kloudas church and they desire to assist as well, but their benevolence funds are limited.
Sheri has given me permission to share this information with others who have expressed concern, and I am using this blog to reach as many as possible. The Kloudas continue to trust God to provide as He so faithfully does, and they are very grateful for those Southern Baptists who helped them several months ago when they were facing a similar financial crises. Sheri misses communicating with her old colleagues and friends during this time, but she realizes they are being constrained by the institution from communicating with Sheri.
The Kloudas covet the prayers of everyone, asking specifically that we pray that Pinky might be made healthy once again, and second, that they might be able to meet the rest of their financial obligations in a timely way. A prayer for additional work for Sheri (maybe more editing, writing, and teaching?) has also been requested.
Sheri closed our conversation by saying to me, 'We have all heard about "pay it forward" and we hope some day to be in the position to help someone else who faces challenges.' Blessings, Sheri Klouda.
How You Can Help
If you would like to contribute to the Klouda Family Benevolence Fund, please send your gifts, large or small to . . .
The Klouda Benevolence Fund
c/o Emmanuel Baptist Church
2505 W. Garriott
Enid, Oklahoma, 73703
Please include your full address if you would like a tax contribution statement mailed to you at the end of the quarter. For those of you pastors who were taught by Sheri, a benelovence contribution from your church or from you personally would be especially appreciated and meaningful.
I will report to you on a regular basis what we have raised through September of this year. We Southern Baptists have generous, compassionate hearts for the needy around the world.
Now it's time to show we know how to take care of one of our own.
In His Grace,