Something pretty big happened in our lives this week. Having tons of surveys filled out by students on campus? Yes, that happened, but that’s not it. Connecting with new freshmen and getting to share the Gospel with them? Yes, that also happened, but that’s not it. Surviving in above-record heat here in NYC? Yes, again, that happened, and we survived, but that’s not it. So, then, what could it be?
We signed a new lease on a HOUSE!! For probably 6 months or longer, Ed and I have been praying and thinking about moving. We love our apartment and complex and neighborhood, so our list of what the new place had to have was quite extensive: we wanted to be closer to the girl’s school (we found out last spring that Kinsley, now in 3rd grade, doesn’t qualify for bus service anymore and we would be walking the kids to and from school every day, about 3.5 miles round trip), we wanted to be in the girl’s school zone (so when Blake goes to pre-school and kindergarten, we wouldn’t have to worry about him being on a waitlist or not getting a spot), we wanted to potentially be on the bottom floor of a place so we didn’t have to worry about kids running and jumping and making too much noise for people below us, we wanted to still be close to Forest Hills shopping and the subway. If we could find a place where we could park a car without a hefty monthly price tag (our parking garage in our neighborhood was $300 a month and street parking is almost non-existent) and a place where we could host our weekly small group and groups of students and guests better, that would be the icing on the cake. But again, because we loved our apartment, it would have to be the perfect place. We also knew the timeline would have to work out as we had signed a lease on our place until October 25 and couldn’t pay for two places for long.
We have asked family, friends, and ministry partners for wisdom for us as we looked and decided, and when we returned from our summer travels, we loosely started looking. Then, this past week, we amped up our looking. Houses in the girl’s school zone are pretty expensive so finding something in our price range was pretty challenging but we looked at 3 great options. One was a townhome with a little too much space with a bigger price tag, one was a townhome with a little smaller than we have now with a lower price tag, and one was a house that was in between on everything. It also came with a finished basement, a garage, a driveway, a closer walk to the girls’ school, and a tiny yard. It is still pretty small like NYC places and compared to houses in the South, but it has the garage for storage, which is nice. After putting in an offer and the owner originally saying no (there was some confusion about our income because we have minister’s housing allowance which makes the income on our tax return look lower than it is and she didn’t think we could afford it), she changed her mind and said yes! We meet her a few days ago to sign the lease, get to know her, and to get instructions and such. We found out through talking that her daughter is a Christian but her daughter says her mother is Hindu/tolerant of all things, so we are even praying that God allows us chances to minister and share the Gospel with her. We are seriously so thankful to the Lord as she had so many people interested and we were not the most attractive on paper (others had way higher incomes and could move in sooner), but she changed her mind and leased it to us. Even after she accepted our offer, she had diplomats look at it and love it so much they wanted it. We are praying this house gives life to our family in so many ways and allows us to minister more effectively here. It also looks like we will be able to get a car soon too!
I am a little apprehensive about the next few months – in the midst of the beginning of the school craziness (our campuses started last week with the exception of St. Johns which begins this week), Ed taking a seminary class in October that requires a lot of reading, the girls starting school, and us focusing on growing our team of ministry partners, moving is just something else to add to the list and make life more crazy. Would you pray that we don’t get overwhelmed and that God provides all we need to make it through? He provided this place so I am trusting He will provide everything else.
For the icing on the cake, my cousin and his wife from SC came up to stay with us to go to the US Open and to spend time with us. We had a GREAT time with them and even in the midst of crazy schedules, looking for a place, signing on a place, etc, it was easy and very life-giving. We took Sunday to travel to Governors Island with them….to get there, we had to travel to lower Manhattan and take a ferry, but it was so beautiful there and we loved getting to walk the island, eat lunch by the water staring at the Statue of Liberty, see the unicycle festival, and let the kids slide on the longest slide in NYC.
Thank you for your prayers for wisdom – we definitely felt them and feel that God led us to just the right place. Continue praying as we continue the beginning of the school year craziness and as the girls start school this Wednesday.