If I was a gambling man I would bet that the majority of Christian homes have Joshua 24:15 mounted on the wall somewhere. I know the majority of Christian homes that I have been in have that verse on display. As cliche as it may be, that is a superb vision for anyone's home. We want to serve the Lord in our home in the way we love each other and treat each other. We want to serve the Lord with what we do for entertainment and in our free time. Every aspect of our home we want to honor and serve our Lord. Obviously we fail in this area every day. Each member of my household. Yet, by the Lord's grace we press on to do just that. And by the Lord's grace we will be doing that in a whole new way and literally in our own home. Let me explain.
When we got confirmation to head to Valdivia to pioneer a new church plant we were once again stepping into the unknown. Logistically we didn't know how things would line up. There are still many factors that we aren't sure of but we are just waiting to see how the Lord directs and what doors He opens. It has been so encouraging already to see the connections made and opportunities opened. When we took our visionary trip last year to Valdivia, we couldn't have been more excited to get down there and start the work. Some hiccups have come on the way, but that is to be expected. But during that trip I remember my dad saying with a little joking in his voice (I think), "Even if you don't come down here, I am." You have to understand something about my dad. He is a beach bum. He loves coastal living. There is something about the salt water that is in the air and the sand that gets stuck everywhere and in all places. Being there on that visionary trip drew him in!
Allow me fast forward. I can't remember the exact timeframe, but my parents told me they purchased a piece of property outside the city of Valdivia. I was so overwhelmed with joy for them. Especially after they told me they could walk to the beach in five minutes! This is what they deserved. Both of them worked very hard to provide and take care of their family. My dad worked in heavy construction for what seems like forever. They to me are such an example of finishing strong. Here is my dad at the time of retirement. The normal "American dream" is to work hard and then retire to some nice place. No one would have ever blinked an eye if they took off to some remote island in the South Pacific to live out their days. But they packed it up and headed to the mission field. They came to Cajamarca. Yes, Cajamarca is a wonderful place, but it isn't retirement material. Not only that, we are like in the back end of space from the coast. We are 9000' up in the Andes Mountains. The only coast you will see is when your surfing the web which will just get you grumpy. So when they shared that they bought a coastal property I couldn't have been more happy for them. But the news didn't stop there. I could talk about all the open doors that have come by them doing this and the people they have meet and opportunities we have learned because they purchased this land. Hopefully in future posts I will share some of those things. Let me just say, we are way ahead in the game in understanding options in Valdivia and the culture through this process. It was a crash course on Valdivia. But that isn't all either.
During a Skype conversation my dad told us that they would like to give us some of the property if we wanted to build our own home. Nicole and I were completely shocked and beyond grateful. We didn't know how this would all work out, but we knew the Lord had some type of plan. During our visionary trip we looked at the cost of renting. Valdivia is a very expensive city. So the opportunity to build a house could in the long run be a benefit for us. Still, there were many factors. We both just couldn't believe that my parents were willing to give us a section of their property that they had worked so hard for and so deserved. I wrote them after the Skype and asked are you sure? To our great delight they said yes. We want to help you guys out. So Nicole and I with grateful hearts said yes we would love to build our own home, even though we didn't know how we would afford it.
Through some contacts, my parents recently told me that the city of Valdivia is planning on incorporating the area where the property is into the city. According to the Valdivia zoning laws, the size of the property can't hold two homes. They have permits to build two homes, but if and when the city incorporates our area, they wouldn't allow it. These contacts told them you need to get a second house built on the property so it can be "grandfathered" in. So next month I will be heading down there to put in the foundation and the sub floors and hopefully to roll up the exterior walls. But we didn't know how we were going to pay for that. So here comes the next part.
Nicole Skyped her parents and told them all that was happening. Once again to our surprise, Nicole's parents joyfully said they would help us out with the costs of the house. Without their help we really had no idea how this would even be possible. We are beyond grateful for their willingness and hearts to help in all the ways they do. Without hesitation when they heard about this, they said what an amazing opportunity, whatever it takes we will get it done. Much like my parents, they have worked hard and provided and continue to provide for so many. They are getting towards the retirement age, I think, yet they keep on so they can support the ministry here and many others. We couldn't do it without their help.
Are we going to be in Valdivia for ever? Only the Lord knows. There is plenty of ministry to do. Plenty of zones to reach there. What if the Lord moves us on like he is doing here in Cajamarca? Well, we would have a house that we could rent out to help cover our ministry expenses if we leave. Or even a house to sell if needed to cover a move to another location. Or when we get to retirement age, we can have a place to live out our last days on this earth. Who knows what the Lord is going to do, but there are many options.
Nicole and I have been blessed with incredible families. We are beyond thankful to our God for the families He placed us in. We are beyond grateful for what both sides are doing for us. We know that it is the Lord who has given us all this and we are thankful first and foremost to Him. I know for a fact, that neither of our families want any credit or glory or praise or thanks, but I wanted to share and to share this, I need to paint the whole picture and give thanks and credit where it is do. Our families are incredible even if none of this transpired. Our love for them and gratitude for them would be no different.
I am also thankful for ReGeneration and CCC and CCS and CCHMB for your love and support and to be so willing to help out in any way possible with this. We are overwhelmed by all you do for us and by expressing such joy and excitement about this and what we are doing.
In a few weeks I will post some pics of Valdivia and the property and the work we get done. If anyone is wondering at this point about the ministry here in Cajamarca, yes it will be continuing and the Lord is doing some really cool things right now. Our goal here is to see this church have it's own property as well, which we are praying for. I will be sending out a newsletter next week or so. If you are not on our mailing list, shoot me your email and I will add you.
Soli Deo gloria