The Big Move to the Church House

November 11th, 2014

The timeline of a move I never planned on, or wanted to make. When I moved into my house in Altamont, I planned to never move again. I liked the old house, the town, the neighborhood, and the process of moving has worn off its adventurous nature to me.

Ever since the move, each of the kids have leapfrogged back home after moving out. Some moving back multiple times. Then it grew into families of kids taking up space in the house. It was time for everybody to go, and to put an end to the return trips to the nest.

Pressure was applied, and it looked as if progress was being made in vacating the house, and making a go of it. However, the economy, credit scores, and having a scarcity of houses that were affordable on the market made for tough setbacks. Renting was even a bleaker picture. Robin and I decided to take a peak at our options of buying a place. Nothing around town looked right.

Then we heard of a property that our church association was planning of disposing of, and we both had the same idea to bid on it. Not only the same idea, but the same idea on what to do with it if we should win the bid. Prayers went up, and all indications made it appear that this was the place that God could best use us, as well as having an empty nest, with no kids, privacy, and a return to our independence. Parents would have to rely on their own resources to take care of kids, and grandparents could step out of the line of command as the responsible care givers to kids, maid service, cooks, and bill payers of a household that wasn't ours.

The problem. The place is 50 miles away, in an area where we didn't know anybody, or know the community. It would need repairs, some minor, some very large, and a little reworking to make the building serve as a residence. All this and doing the move on very little budget.

Why even make the move at all? I have a case open with the Veterans Administration to apply for disability compensation. Assuming that award comes through, money won't be an object. We could move anywhere, especially local to Altamont. Delays, denials, appeals, the stress of being overcrowded had all pushed the situation to the limits. The timing seemed to be Gods way of turning my head, and pushing me in the right place, at the right time. He knows that if the award should come through, I won't consider a move that far away. Now that the deal is done, and we're settling in at the new place, will the award come through? I can only hope it does. It would certainly seal the deal on showing Gods hand in the timing of it all.

When God moves a person, it's for a reason. It's not just for my own convenience. As soon as we learned of a church building and property being put on the market, we were concerned with the repairs that would be needed, but even more so, was figuring what it was that God wanted us to do here. I have never intended to do something drastic, like setting up my own congregation to pastor over. No way. We tried to learn a little about the mission church who met here, and why they were disbanding. What were our talents and strengths that God had a use for here? Ideas for ministry with kids were top on the list, but other ideas to serve the community have cycled through our plans as well.

With nothing more than our fixed income, we closed the deal, and walked away with the key to the building. We started the move that weekend, and mostly finished up the next, at least enough to sleep and set up house. Since we had several appointments back around Altamont that strung over the next few weeks, we continued to pick up boxes, bags, and stray furniture that we left behind. Utilities were transferred, and put in our names. The trips and deposits pretty much wiped us out. Since Nate offered to pay our gas to and from, we joined him for his week of vacation down in Tennessee. A nice visit, but we were ready to get back, and keep nestling in. After over a month with no Internet access, except for what I could manage on my cell phone, we set out to get something hooked up. In this rural area, satellite seems to be the way to go. There's still a trickle of things to transport from Altamont, and now comes the time to take a serious look at how we're going to be able to fix this place up.

Before deciding to make the move, we knew that we couldn't afford to lay out the money to do more than some minor repairs and maintenance to the building. The big ticket item is a new roof. A job made particularly expensive due to the steep pitch of the roof. There's also the matter of repairs to old wooden window panes, a slight leaking problem in the basement. A combination of old mortar between bricks, and a high water table. There's the matter of bathing and laundry facility, but we're creative enough to come up with work around solutions. We're perfectly willing to live with any inconvenience that entails, until we can piece together a more permanent solution. We're doing the best we can, and as quickly as we can, given our limited resources.

It would be natural to sit around, and yearn for that disability compensation to be awarded. I can't do that. God brought us here as we were, with minimal income, and not many resources. If I had that money, it would be an easy trap for me to fall into, to think I singlehandedly turned this place around. It would be too easy for pride to take over, and make me think that any ministry we set up was possible because of anything I did. Our plan then, is to do what we can do, to proceed with living and ministry plans based on having only our current income for the indefinite future. OK, I still do yearn for that extra income to come through, and it'll happen in a way for people to know that God has been at work. It'll happen in such a way that all the expensive repairs in the building will be made despite of my own resources, and the timing will be done to best glorify him.

I feel that the time frame to reconstruct our church house is a matter of months. For my own peace of mind, and that of my insurance company, I'd like to think that time frame is more a matter of weeks or less. Come back, revisit this post, and we'll all learn how it all turned out.

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