Instead of emptying their coffers on commercial advertising, this Texas church decided to spend their money on something much more meaningful.

On Easter Sunday, a pastor at the Covenant Church of Carrollton, Texas announced that they had bought out and forgiven $100,000 worth of medical debt for local families.

The church made the transaction through RIP Medical Debt – an American nonprofit that buys up and abolishes medical debt. Since medical debt can be bought by collection agencies for a fraction of what they’re worth, $100,000 translates to over $10 million in medical debt that has now been lifted off the shoulders of struggling Texas families.

4,229 families and veterans who have been forgiven of the medical debt will be receiving letters in the mail this week notifying them of the donation.

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“I have grandparents who are veterans, too,” one of the congregants told NBC. “So just thinking about the hardship that would cause for someone. It wasn’t their choice. They didn’t go into debt because they ran up the credit card. It’s because something that happened to them. So I just love that we were able to help people where it wasn’t their choice. But we got to choose to help them. I just love that.”

Pastor Stephen Hayes was especially pleased to make the announcement because of his own struggles with medical debt in the past. As a 17-year-old, Hayes had been struck by a car, putting him in the ICU for 12 days. His parents were then swamped with medical bills which they were eventually able to pay off with the help of their own church congregation.

“If you can imagine what those people this week will be feeling when they receive the letter that you sent them saying their debt is paid,” Hayes preached to the congregation. “I pray 100-fold that that [is how] you would feel in reading the letter He wrote to you in the book of John 19:30. ‘Hey, your debt of sin is paid. You are covered.’”

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