Friday, May 22, 2009

Wow, What a day!

Last night before we went to sleep we spent some time praying together and specifically asking God to provide a way for us to buy the hostel from Christ Baptist Church in South Africa (see previous post). We told God that we would dedicate this home to Him to use as He wanted and for the purpose He wants to. We felt He had brought this opportunity to us and we were trying to wait patiently on His timing. I will tell you though we were constantly thinking and talking about it, trying to figure out how and asking God to show us etc. This morning we were getting ready to walk out the door to take the kids to school and we had a Skype call on our computer from the guy who is in charge of selling the hostel. Even though we needed to go to we knew we needed to take the call. So I called the school and told them we would be late and Mark answered the call. I was in our closet as Mark began the conversation. I was praying that the Lord would give us more time. I knew that if he asked Mark if we had the funds yet, Mark would have to say no and that if they needed to put the house on the market we completely understood. Well, he didn't ask Mark that question. Instead he told us about an opportunity that was brought to their church on Wednesday and it would allow for us to put a down payment and make monthly payments to purchase the house! We will be able to have it the day we arrive. They will start the repairs on the kitchen around the 1st of June and then we will have the carpet replaced and the walls painted. We are so excited!

Later this afternoon we came home to find a Fed Ex package at our door. It was our VISAs. Keep in mind the South African Consulate received them on Tuesday and we now have them and it is only Friday. It was supposed to be a 10 day turn around. I have been asking the Lord to allow us to have favor on our VISAs, that they would be approved quickly and that no new paper work would be required. Not only did we get them back today but they are approved for 24 months, instead of 12. They will then be renewable.

We are almost finished packing and we needed boxes and something to protect our furniture. We stopped by Gallery Furniture and they gave us several boxes, lots of thick plastic and a roll of tape. We were also able to get more boxes from another friend at the church.

We are totally overwhelmed with God's grace today! He is our Provider and His timing is PERFECT! We fly out in exactly 1 month.

Thank you for your prayers! If you want to see pictures of the house scroll down to the middle of the previous post and you will see the slide show.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Life, His Purpose, Our Journey

Let me just start by saying I have been working on this post for well over a week. This is such a busy time for us. Finishing up the school year, the kids are in a Shakespeare play at Ambleside on the 28th, finishing up soccer and baseball, as well as packing our house. Time is flying by.

We have been busy the last few weeks. We spent most of it packing the garage and shed. The good thing now is the garage is pretty much packed, the attic is empty, the shed only has the things we are leaving for the new owners and the stuff we are selling in our last garage sale on May 30th. We also got everything in the bathrooms organized and packed in totes so all we have to do is put them in a box closer to time. We feel like we are making HUGE progress where packing is concerned. Our kitchen is almost completely packed, all but what we need to use the next 2 weeks. We have now started on the closets and are trying to determine which clothes to ship and which ones to pack in our suitcase. Not an easy task. We will need to live out of suitcases for 3 weeks here and then when we get to South Africa we will only have our suitcase until our shipping container arrives sometime in August. The other issue with our clothes is the fact that when we get to South Africa we will be in the winter season again.

The movers will pick up our household items on June 3. Our goal is to pack as much as we can each day while the kids are at school so our nights are freed up to do church, soccer and baseball with the kids. It is also the last 2 weeks of school and we are busy volunteering up there as well.

Speaking at Edmund Baptist Church
In the last post I told you we were blessed to speak at Edmund Baptist Church Sunday, May 3rd. Well on Wednesday night we went back and the kids spoke to the elementary kids about Africa. They did a great job. Here are a few pictures from that ...

Our daughter made a video that we are using to show when we speak about our journey to Africa. Check back next week for the video. (Having trouble getting it uploaded)

T-Shirt Fundraiser
Several months ago Mark started talking about designing a t-shirt for us to wear when we fly out and also talked about the possibility of selling them to help raise money for our move. With the help of our friend at PABC we got the shirts made and they are in. It has been a great fundraiser so far, we have already sold over 150 shirts and are looking at a possibility of placing a second order. Here is a picture of the shirt.

If you would like to order one, leave a comment at the bottom of this post with the sizes you want to order. We can mail them to you if needed. We would like to place out last order by Tuesday, May 26th.

Housing in South Africa
We told you in our post on March 23rd of a possible house we were looking into buying. Well that fell through as there was someone in South Africa that purchased it. All along we were at peace either way - we knew if it didn't work out then God had something better in mind for us. Well we had asked our friends (also the director of the mission) to keep an eye out for a house for us. We received a call from him earlier in the last week telling us about some house options. This is kind of a long story so bare with me, I want to make sure that all the details of our journey our recorded for us.

In 2006 we took our kids with to Mozambique. That year we arrived in South Africa a day earlier than Samaria was expecting us and then the 1st few days of the trip we spent in Polokwane (the town we will live in) due to mechanical problems with the vehicles. We spent Saturday night in the Christ Baptist Church Seminary Hostel across the street from the church. We were able to get up on Sunday morning and walk across the street to attend church at Christ Baptist Church. Later that day we walked to the mall and had lunch and went to the grocery store. Here are a few pictures of our night at the hostel.

The guys are enjoying a cup of tea after the church service Sunday morning

William and Sharyn went to look at 3 or 4 houses that are for sale and he also wanted to tell us about another opportunity for us. The Seminary at the church is building a few new hostels on the church property and they have offered us a chance to purchase the hostel across the street from the church. We are excited about the possibility of this becoming our home for several reasons. 1.) It is located in the neighborhood we would want to live in 2.) It is directly across the street from the church 3.) It is only a few blocks from the grocery store 4.) It will have plenty of room in it that we would be able host summer interns, etc.

We are praying about this house. We have seen it and even stayed in it and we are willing to make it our home. The only thing is we have to purchase it with cash as we are not able to get a loan from a bank in South Africa. We will be able to use a lot of the money we make off of our house here in the states to go towards it but it will not be enough. We would like to own a home instead of rent because we feel that it would be a better way to spend our support money instead of using around $1,000 per month towards rent. We are asking for you to join us in praying for the funds for this house. We know that if it is His will for us to own this home then He will make it happen. This is bigger than anything we can do on our own. Either way we know God is in control and we are waiting to see all that He does.

This is a 4 bedroom house with 2 1/2 baths. It has a kitchen, dining room, study and a lounge (living room). It also has double car garage but they have turned one side into a room. It also has an outdoor covered area in the backyard. They have told us they would sell it to us for 800,000R if we take it as is or 900,000R if we have a little work done to it. (currently the exchange rate has been around 8.6 to 1) The work they are willing to do is paint all the inside, replace carpet in the bedrooms and lounge, update the kitchen, return the garage to a double car garage again and redo the bathroom to the original specs. We have decided that we would want them to leave the bathroom as is. You will see in the pictures that one bathroom they have taken out the tub and put in 3 shower stalls. We decided that 3 shower stalls may come in handy if we are able to host summer interns etc. We would also like to keep the garage with the room as is. Here are a few pictures of the house. Again, please pray for us and the possible funds to purchase it if it is God's will.

World Connex
We are also excited to tell you that we have been approved for a grant to receive $1,000 per month for a year starting in July. It could possibly be renewable each year. This is a huge blessing. With this gift and the supporters that have committed to give monthly we are now a little over 1/3 funded. We are praying for 100 more people to commit to becoming a monthly supporter of $25 per month and then we will be fully funded. If you are interested in becoming a monthly supporter please click on "home page" on the right side of the blog and then go to the "support" page.

PaulAnn Baptist Church
April 26th was my last day on staff and they surprised us with Vonage and a sweet video from the staff and kids at PaulAnn.

More Praises
1.) We needed to purchase a program on DVD to take with us to help our son with reading. It is a very expensive DVD set but it would be very helpful in our son's education. We received a call the other day and we were informed that the place that created this DVD program is going to loan us the 2nd year of DVD's for free they just ask that we ship them back when finished. (This saves us $1,200!) All we have to do is purchase the workbooks that go with it. The people we meet with a few ago about this possible program were so nice, helpful and encouraging. They were very interested in our journey to Africa and they even said they want to keep up with our family and pray for us! Amazing, this place sees over 1500 children a year and they have been so kind and helpful for us.

2.) We switched our electric company in December to a different company that was cheaper and had a 6 month contract. Well we found out that they didn't start in December like we thought they would so our contract ends in July. We contacted the company and just received an email stating that since we are moving out of the country that they will not charge us an early disconnect fee. Huge praise!

3.) We were told to bring a lawn mower that it would be cheaper than buying one there. Well ours is over 15 years old so we started looking at buying another one to take. We were able to return a few things we bought for this house and never used as well as use a gift card and we got a lawn mower for $160. Then a few hours later we were handed $100. Then at a restaurant yesterday we were given $50 to help with our move. God is amazing!

4.) Our shipping company was able to get the fuel surcharge waved and get $5,000 in free insurance.

5.) Our medical insurance has been paid for the 1st year. We will begin budgeting monthly to be able to pay for the next year down the road.

6.) Praise the Lord for our health!!!

We are excited about our journey and we are very ready to get there and get to work. Please continue to pray for our family. We would love to here from you. You can click on comment below and leave us a message if you want.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Edmund Baptist Church

We were very blessed to be invited by our friend Donald Moon to speak at his church today about our call to full time missions. We felt very welcomed and loved. Mark shared about our call to Africa and little about what we have experienced there. Then we showed a video that Brit put together. (I will post the video here as soon as figure out how) After the video Donald preached a message titled "Go". He was preaching from Matthew 28:18-20. He talked about the importance of God being our Lord and fully surrendering to Him as Lord of our lives. He also talked about the importance of "going" rather to Africa or across the street, it is important to Go and tell others the good news!

We are excited that Edmund Baptist Church is going to support us in our call to Africa. We look forward to partnering with them as we share the Gospel with the people of Africa.