Pastor who inherited deceased daughter's $200K loan debt overwhelmed by kindness of supporters

A California couple is receiving support to ease the debt they inherited after their daughter's death.

Published 22 August 2014  |  
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Steve and Darnelle Mason have taken in Lisa's three children, Johnny (the oldest), Jasmin and Joey, after she died.

When their 27-year old daughter died of liver failure five years ago, Steve and Darnelle Mason of Redlands, Calif. were quick to take in their daughter's three children.

However, children weren't the only thing the couple inherited.

Steve, senior pastor of Oasis Church, and Darnelle co-signed on their daughter's $100,000 nursing school loans and when Lisa died, the debt rolled over to the couple. 

GoFundMe reports that Steve earns less than $75,000 per year as senior pastor of Oasis Church, and Darnelle even less as the church's director. 

"It's just impossible on a pastor's salary raising three kids to pay $2,000 a month on loans," Steve said. As a result of late penalties and interest rates as high as 12 percent, the Mason's $100,000 debt rose to $200,000 after four years. 

The couple is welcoming support for the looming debt..

Darnelle gave this statement to the ASSIST News Service (ANS):  "We have been literally overwhelmed by the utter kindness of strangers and friends alike, who have taken it upon themselves to assist us in various ways, either by financial donations, donations of professional services, advocacy drives, etc. I can't thank everyone enough. It is difficult to accept such generous gifts, but accept it, I will and I must, as no gift from a sincere heart is complete if the recipient does not accept it fully."

Steve told the ANS that he and Darnelle are grateful "to the many friends and strangers who have reached out to us."

Steve stated: "We have literally heard from thousands of people who share the same financial burdens we do regarding the student loan crisis in America. We have heard from people sharing their own personal stories with us about how student loan debt has financially devastated their families and caused them to lose all hope of ever having the kind of lives they at one time dreamed of having."

Since acquiring the debt, Steve has started a load-debt forgiveness petition through Change.org "for anyone who would like their voice to be heard regarding this issue."

A GoFundMe page was started by the friends and family of the couple to help with their debt. 

More than $31,000 has been raised so far, according to GoFundMe.

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