Well, there's happy news and sad news. The sad news is, Shawn and I won't be going to India this summer. The happy news is twofold. First, two other people will go in our stead, and I will keep up the donation link to help them get there. Second, the reason we aren't going is because Shawn is being transferred to Huntsville, AL, and his start date at the new locale is in the middle of the trip. This is a very good thing for us, and an answer to prayer!
For the past two years Shawn has worked in Washington, DC. He has had to commute 4 1/2 hours every day he goes to the office. Fortunately he has been able to work from home some, but the last two years have been very difficult for him. It's hard for me and the kids, too, when he is away that much. It's also been very challenging for us financially. The cost of living is pretty high in the DC area, and haven't been able to live closer to shorten Shawn's commute. We've been blessed to have a place to live provided for us, but the situation has not been ideal, and not what we envisioned. We are very grateful for what we've had the past couple of years and for what we've learned. We have gotten closer to each other in unexpected ways and God has revealed areas where He wants to work in us. Our time here has been hard and good, but we are ready for a change, the kids included.
God has done so much work on our behalf in the past 6 months, and we've been amazed as we have watched His hand at work. Shawn has received amazing favor at work. Essentially a position was created for him. That simply does not happen with his employer. Normally they have to open the position to the entire company and put everyone through an application process, even if they have someone in mind for the position. This time they didn't follow the normal protocol.
Shawn's ability to take the position was dependent on our house in North Carolina selling. When we first moved to Virginia we attempted to sell the house, but we didn't get a single bite for three months. We could have left it on the market longer, but we simply couldn't afford to maintain an empty house while we lived in Virginia, so we rented the house out. The renters vacated the property this past December. The total cost of repairs to get the house ready to sell was less than $2500! We put the house on the market toward the end of January and had an offer in less than two weeks! The market is still pretty slow in our area of NC, and there was another house for sell on our cul-de-sac that was listed for less than ours, so for us to have an offer in less than two weeks was nothing less than God's hand at work. Well, the offer was a low-ball offer, so I really didn't believe those were the right buyers for us. I thought God was going to work something else out. One day Shawn and I were praying and he prayed that if these were the right buyers that God would work it out. Well, of course I "knew" that these weren't the right buyers, so I prayed that God would bring the right offer and that He would work everything out for the best of everyone involved. A couple of days later we got word that the buyers brought their offer up almost $15,000! I was overjoyed and humbled and thankful that God answered Shawn's prayer. Well, we closed on the sale last Monday and a couple of days later Shawn's transfer was made official and we were given his transfer date.
I'm astounded by the miracles we've seen in our lives the last few months, but I know that miracle season isn't over for us yet. The cost of living in Alabama is much lower than here in VA. We're praying for a property with a few acres attached so we can start a small farm (more on that in a later post). We've found some properties in the area with a few acres for less than $100,000. We could rent for awhile to make sure of where in the area we want to live, but I just feel that God has a place all picked out for us. Not to give too much away yet, but the farming thing is something God has been growing in my heart the last few years and it's time to start acting on the vision. I'm so excited about how He is going to use this to build His Kingdom! Since this is His work, I know He will provide what is needed so we can fulfill it.
It's been nice having Shawn's family nearby, and we hate that we'll be so far from them. We will also miss our church here and the relationships we've made. We've been privileged to sit under some of the best pastors we've encountered. Their hearts for their people is so refreshing and our time in the church has been a time of rest for us. We've made some great friendships here, too, and we'll miss them as well. I know that God will transplant us into another wonderful church family and he will bring people alongside that we can be friends with and that we can partner with to build His Kingdom. My sister also lives about 90 minutes from Huntsville and it will be good to be closer to her. Plus it will be easier for my parents to have us both in the same area. And, of course, there's always Facebook, and email, and cellphones, and Skype, so we can keep in touch with those that we're leaving behind.
I'd love it if you will join with us in prayer as we prepare to move and start our new venture. Pray for provision, safety, and that I will develop more self-discipline! Also, pray for the India team that God will provide for their needs and that He will do an amazing work through them. And please donate if you feel God's leading. There are 11 team members and the basic cost of the trip is $2700 each, which does not include additional expenses like shots, spending money, etc. I'm praying Shawn and I can make the trip next year. In fact, I'm going to go ahead and get my passport so that I'll be ready for the next opportunity that comes my way. I'm so thankful for what God is doing for and through us. Praise God for miracle season!