This is the text of an email Teresa wrote to a friend discussing our search for a place to live in Vidin.
Thanks for spending so much time thinking about this for us. I just got an email from Vik (my husband!) entitled: “Five signs that you’re living beyond your means”! And one of the signs is if you’re spending more than 28% of your income on mortgage! Oh well!
Anyway, to answer your question about God speaking….yes, he has. Now, it hasn’t been the kind of speaking I’d like to hear, “Yes, this is the house and here is the money,” but then that rarely ever happens. He usually asks us to ‘do something’ and after we do it in faith the means to continue on doing it is always supplied. We’ve seen that even in our move from our previous, smaller apartment to this larger one.
Some background: One, Vidin is a small town and housing is harder to find. Little did we know that for that very reason, an apartment, like what we have now in Sofia, is more expensive. This got us praying about buying….though it’s been on the back of my mind for a while now…not Vik’s – he’d be happy with always renting. Two, we’re moving into a deeper relationship with the church out in Wales and more of them will be coming out on short-term missions and even to spend their gap-year (between college and university) serving us in our mission work. We wanted a place that could be used for more guests and events. This also made owning a home more appealing. I won’t add the bit about the boys wanting a yard to run free and wild in….
This time is probably the worse to buy….the dollar is half of what it was when we came out from the US…and prices are out-of-control here. Yet, at this time in our lives it makes the most sense – go figure that one out! The need feels greater now…
From God: He has definitely told us to move to Vidin (He’s been speaking about this for the past year)…which from a worldly perspective seems like the stupidest thing one could ever do! Only if you’ve failed at all else would you move there! He has spoken to me out of Isaiah 54:2-3 (to enlarge the place of our tent, stretch out the curtains, do not spare, lengthen our cords, and strengthen our stakes. That we will expand to the left and to the right AND our descendents will inherit the nations AND make the desolate cities inhabited.) Vidin is a desolate city, slowly dying out. Our desire to work with youth is God’s vision to bring life back to the town. He has spoken also out of Is. 55:5 (it’s about calling the youth forth and them running to us because of the Lord God and what he is doing for us). To me, these versus have led me to believe that He is leading us to a larger dwelling place, which here can only mean a house.
God has also spoken to me of hidden treasure and how he will provide 5/6 of what we need for this move to Vidin and only 1/6 will come from us. He has also spoken of placing things in the correct order: His forgiveness is first in importance; then his healing; his redemption; his loving kindness and tender mercies; and his provision of our daily needs. This has led me to believe that though we will participate in the expansion of our tent, we need not worry. He takes care of the harder things that cannot be seen and we cannot do ourselves, surely he will take care of our daily needs (like housing).
I’ve gotten prayer responses also from three individuals that buying a house seems more of what God is wanting us to do now.
I guess, though, we have been overwhelmed with the idea of finances: should we spend so much? Isn’t renting wiser financially? Where can we find the funds? Etc.
Wow, I’m feeling convicted as I write this email! We definitely prayed to be led to the right house and for a good connection with the owner. I looked through hundreds of homes and only this one felt right to me. We also connected great with the owner and felt peace in the home. I feel they were open doors. I guess the financial hurdle is hardest for us to get over.
I am feeling as I write to you that it would be easier to try here for a loan than in the US. I agree that it would be a big undertaking for you – and one that would tie you up for years. I think we should at least take it to the next level with the bank in Vidin that had better lending rules and see if we pass “go” and can collect 200 hundred dollars! The next level is speaking to the outside expert who will agree or disagree to give us a house quote…the bank is usually hesitant to loan for homes in the country. If she agrees, then we will see what price she’ll pin on the property. It is usually less than the asking price – and the bank can loan only up to 70% of that value. We would then need to find the other 30%. Why don’t we try that and I’ll keep you posted….