Home Sweet Home
BIG NEWS! God has provided us with a home! And we get to move in THIS WEEKEND! Woo-hoo!!!
We’ve been praying since early this year for God to provide us with a larger home. The flat in the church has been an AMAZING blessing and we are SO grateful for it, but a full year in one room (also in our place of work) has been long enough. We are ready to be settled into the community so that we can begin to establish proper roots, as a family and ministry. Of course, this introduces a significant increase in our monthly expenses, so your prayers for God’s continued provision are greatly appreciated. We do have a complete peace about this move and know that God will make a way, just as He has from the very beginning of this amazing chapter of our lives and ministry.
And as a quick follow-up from our last blog, Trev did pass his Great Britain (GB) driving test with flying colors! It was VERY difficult, but he practiced and studied very hard and received the reward of doing so! Well done, my love! 🙂
I intended to keep this update short, but we all know that’s nearly impossible for me. So if you’d like to know all of the nitty-gritty details about the house story… read on! In case you choose not to read on, you can at least scroll down to see the picture of it! 😉
THE NITTY-GRITTY. First, some definitions:
- House: Here a ‘house’ refers to a two story home. A house may be a “terrace home” (in a row of connected homes, like row houses or town homes), a semi-detached house (connected to another house on one side) or a detached house (a stand alone building).
- Bungalow: A ‘bungalow’ is a single story, detached home.
- Flat: What we would call an ‘apartment’.
- Garden: What we would call a ‘yard’.
- Let: Like ‘rent’… we are looking for a home to ‘let’.
Since our move to England in June of 2011, we’ve been living in a one-room flat attached to the church. We have an open area that serves as family room, kitchen, dining room and bedroom. There is an enclosed bathroom within the flat. And after a few months here, the church was able to build out the flat by a few more feet (into an adjoining classroom in the building) to give our 3 year old daughter Brooklyn (a.k.a. ‘B’) a separate sleeping area.
As mentioned in a previous blog, we have felt for several months now that it’s time to establish our roots here. So, we’ve been on the hunt for a new home. We’ve looked at several in person and have been watching the local listings like hawks. Early on, we found that any nice home for a decent price is scooped up almost instantly. Adding that to the crazy-high cost of living (even for houses in poor condition with no parking and no garden), we realized that God would have to work a complete miracle. We had a basic “wish list,” of course, so it was easy to become discouraged when it seemed like it would be impossible for us to find, let alone afford, anything close to what we wanted. So, we basically gave up the aggressive hunt and just prayed. And, as usual, God did it all for us and in a way that can only be credited to Him!
Through the dad of one of our friends here, Trevor was recently made aware of a small bungalow just across the way from the church. The owner had passed away last fall and it had been sitting empty ever since, as her son hadn’t had time to properly prepare it for letting. Our friend’s dad thought the family would be VERY interested in finding some trustworthy, long-term renters, so he contacted them for us. Sure enough, they were glad to show it to us and consider us for renting it. It was a small but cozy two bedroom home. It didn’t quite meet all of our “wishes” (not much of a garden, no tub for B, somewhat of an awkward layout) but we felt confident that the Lord had led us to it, so with peace we agreed to let it. They generously offered a less-than-market rental rate and said it would take about 2 months to clear and make the needed repairs. So, with great joy, we’ve been counting down the weeks. Our agreed target move-in was by the end of June. Done deal! Or so we thought…
About 2 weeks back, our future landlord called us up to say that his other, slightly larger bungalow here in Camelford (previously owned by his sister who passed away a year or so back), was coming available unexpectedly. We were pretty much set on the first one, so we graciously declined to consider it, but he insisted we at least take a peek. So we thought on it and prayed on it for a few days and finally decided that, yes, we should at least have a look. So, last Friday, we walked around the corner from the church (about 30 seconds farther away than the first bungalow) and into the front garden of our new home! It’s still a cozy two bedroom, but the layout is much better for us, the garden (especially the back) is huge (for here), there is a tub, all the appliances are included, it’s newer and in good repair, and multiple other “little things” that God knew might not matter much to anyone else, but would mean the world to us. THANK YOU, LORD! Aside from the fact that B seemed instantly at home - running about the garden, picking flowers, exploring the house and so on; the best part is that the current tenant is moving out on the 31st of May… so we can move in this coming weekend!!!
(Pic above: The bungalow we’ll soon be calling ‘home’!)
While the rate is at the very top of our previously established budget, it is still below what the market rate would be. For only £50 less a month, we saw a row house with no parking, the main street just outside the front door, a teeny tiny back garden, light bulbs hanging from wires, carpet scraps fitted together to cover the floors, mismatched patchwork paint touchups on the walls, no appliances included and so on. My point isn’t to be condescending toward that property or its owners, but to simply provide some context for what a blessing we are being given in the way of location, comfort, quality and affordability! If you are interested in the details on what our rental rate will be, I’m glad to share it with you.
We still have loads of things to sort out, since we own very little in the way of furnishings and certainly cannot afford to go out and purchase everything we need. But God is already using people and the church to be generous in various ways and I’m sure it will all come together.
It’s hard to believe that we’ve been here nearly a year. With that anniversary comes the reality that many of our financial supporters committed to 12 months of support for us and our ministry. As such, we will soon be publishing our next official ministry report (the last one was at the midway-point in December) and will be making an official appeal for continued financial support (at any level, no matter how small) and for new supporters. We simply ask that you seek the Lord as to what, if anything, He’d have you do in that regard. We are so deeply grateful to all who have made this first year of our UK ministry such a success… both the physical and spiritual fruit of this year are a great testimony to the Lord’s amazing plan. Thank you so much for being a part of it!
Blessings and more to come soon!
- Connie, Trevor & Brooklyn Smith (UK for Jesus)