We’ve been promising you the story of our getting a house for a while now, so here it finally is. There’s a lot of detail, but it turns out, contrary to the proverb, that’s not where the devil is at all. It’s rather where the hand of God is subtly but seriously at work.
The background, for those of you who don’t know, is this: Christina and I have been living in a lovely church-owned house for the last eleven years. While that’s been convenient and more than suitable for our needs, it also allowed us a degree of blissful ignorance about the rising cost of housing in this country. The last house we rented was $800/month, so the sticker shock was enormous, and it quickly became evident that we couldn’t afford to buy. But believing that all things are possible with God, we began to pray for a house.
Prayer doesn’t mean we don’t do anything. We searched the web almost daily. We drove the streets of Palmerston. We talked with a real estate agent. We asked others to help. We were not in a rush, and we were more concerned with finishing well at the church, so we held loosely to our desire and hoped that God would make a way. And he did.
There are only two of us, so many of the houses we saw seemed poorly laid out for our personal needs. One day we looked at new house plans, and we found we really liked the small two-bed, two-bath bungalows with unfinished basements they were building. But we didn’t really want to be in a brand-new subdivision, so we were conflicted. As we pondered our dilemma one Sunday afternoon, we started getting picture texts from Christina’s Mom of an unlisted house they’d seen that afternoon. By a series of curiously intertwined circumstances, they’d gotten wind that this house was becoming available, so they went to see. It was a two-bed, two-bath bungalow with an unfinished basement.
When we first had the idea to plant a church, we wanted to “resurrect” a church that the RCA had closed many years ago in the nearby town of Harriston. For various reasons, we decided it wasn’t a good fit, but we still loved the theme. As it turns out, the house we were looking at belonged to a man who had once been a member at that Harriston church.
Trying not to get ahead of ourselves, but excited at the opportunity, we decided we ought to go to the bank to talk turkeys. Our lack of turkeys didn’t impress them. But there was a glorious gospel illustration there that day: we realized that we came to the table bringing nothing but liabilities, but that there was another in the room whose assets were more than sufficient to make up for them and could grant us more than we could ask or imagine. I mean, of course, that we had a cosigner. But the grace mirrored in the bank that day was not lost on us, and our hearts were filled with joy by the generous love of our Dad.
A few weeks later, we heard that the family was ready to sell. So we determined a number in our hearts to offer, which happened to be the same number they had determined to ask, and which we learned a couple of days later also happened to be exactly the number the bank was willing to lend us. We hadn’t even been to the house yet, but we were settled on it. 359 Bell St. would be our new address in Palmerston. (Please note, this is not a mailing address.)
We saw the house for the first time on Easter Monday after I finished the first day at my new job, and made an official offer on it the next morning. With the incredibly generous help of friends and family, we met the down payment requirement, got the mortgage, paid the fees, and we’re set to take possession by June first. Thank God for going ahead of us and preparing a house for us; we pray it will be a suitable place for doing ordinary ministry for many years to come.